The CEO and founder of Inside Then Out aims to destigmatize mental health with her guided journals, which are also minimalistic and chic.
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nya jones of inside then out
Credit: Courtesy of Inside Then Out

Have you ever wondered how to turn your dreams of owning your own business into a reality? We can help. Each week, as part of our Self Made series, we showcase female entrepreneurs—as well as their quality, handmade goods—and share their best advice related to starting, maintaining, and growing your own business.

Full-circle moments—when our dreams become reality through hard work—are rare, so when we reach one, we remember it clearly. For Nya Jones, the CEO and founder of Inside Then Out, a journal brand rooted in supporting mental wellness, that milestone came about two years ago, when she launched her business.

Jones has been journaling since she was seven years old—and she's kept those diaries and this wellness activity close to her heart to this day. "I wanted journaling to become more of a practice where I could consistently ask myself important questions, challenge my thoughts, and get closer to myself and what I wanted out of life," says Jones. 

Jones founded her brand with the launch of her Better Every Day Journal in August 2020—and in that defining moment, her favorite self-care technique became her vocation. Dreaming up her first Inside Then Out product proved to be a personal and professional feat, and allowed her to better navigate a transitional period of her life. "I had just graduated college and was about to start my first full-time job at Facebook," she says.

During this period, which fell during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones took more time to herself. "I realized I wanted to be more intentional in my life, so I started reading and journaling a lot," she says. What started out as jotting down questions for herself to answer turned into a journal filled with prompts that she could share with others, so they could do the same. 

inside then out dig deeper journal
Credit: Courtesy of Inside Then Out

First Drafts

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need an abundance of experience to start a new business. Jones, for example, used the tools readily available to her to build her brand. "I heavily relied on YouTube and Google to teach me everything I know today, from marketing to branding to finding suppliers," she says. "I eventually found a supplier that could bring my vision for the journal to life and decided that selling online was going to be my primary sales channel."

Jones' main source of marketing is social media. "I remember creating ad videos with only my phone (and a really small ad budget) and then things continued to pick up from there," she says. "People who bought the journal would tell their friends or come back and buy more as gifts."

During her second year in business, she made her first TikTok. "It was a very simple video about the journal and why I created it, and that video ended up going viral," she says. "I remember being so full of joy because other people were resonating with something that I created." Thanks to the help of the loved ones in her corner, she quickly managed the spikes in orders to keep her business booming.

Looking Inside, Then Out

Both the interior and exterior of each Inside Then Out product serves a purpose. The guided journals, such as the Dig Deeper Journal, and the blank iterations, like the Redefine Lined Journal, offer a minimal, chic space to jot down your thoughts. "One of my goals for this brand is destigmatizing mental health and framing the practices that benefit your health in a way that is appealing, easy, and beautiful," says Jones.

Filling this void for Black and Brown communities is a particular priority: "I come from a Jamaican-American household, and I don't see many Black and Brown women in the center of the wellness industry or people even designing wellness products with them in mind," Jones says. 

Nya Jones
inside then out guided journal and water bottle
Left: Credit: Courtesy of Inside Then Out
Right: Credit: Courtesy of Inside Then Out

Since journaling has benefited Jones' mental health, she hopes that her products will help other people on their own healing journeys. "Ultimately, creating a business will force you to grow; you will be learning new skills, developing your leadership, and putting in a lot of hours, but it is also extremely rewarding when you are able to create something that can solve a real problem or meet someone's needs," she says.

Turning the Page

Over the last two-plus years, Inside Then Out has grown exponentially in sales, but Jones hopes to grow two key parts of the business: She wants to expand her team and increase brand awareness. "I was running so many aspects of my business by myself for the longest time, so it is so amazing to have the opportunity to work with other people that are also super passionate about the brand mission and can bring new, fresh ideas," she says. "I also want to continue to expand my product offerings to create more tools that can really help and empower people in their daily lives and expand to retail partners that are in alignment with the brand."

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