Updated: Jun 2
Our Artist Profile for February features Jana Palmer out of Pulaski County. Jana crafts candles and wax melts in the shape of puzzle pieces for The Blue Umbrella to raise awareness about Autism.
Jana has been making candles for two years and added wax melts last year. Working for herself has given her the opportunity to have a consistent job that she enjoys and has given her a purpose in life. She helps customers by making them smile with dad jokes or giving them encouragement. She has her own nonprofit, 2ScentzWorth, that donates a portion of each sale to Arkansas Autism Foundation. She is proud that her products help educate others on how they see people with Autism. Jana spends her paycheck from selling her crafts by going out to eat with her family and spending quality time with her friends.
When asked what challenges she has had to overcome, she said that because of her Autism, she is a literal thinker, which can lead to a lot of miscommunication with others. In the past, teachers and supervisors believed she was being a smart aleck when she genuinely didn’t understand. However, she doesn’t see her Autism as a challenge. Instead, it allows her to think differently from others in “outside the box” ways, which she sees as a strength. She feels that accepting who she is and learning to be herself is the best way she can make a difference in the lives of others.
Jana’s other strengths are her ability to make connections with people and her compassion towards them. People notice that she is a very friendly and outgoing person who is easy to talk to. They appreciate that she is nonjudgmental and accepts everyone for who they are. She says she has no “secret talent,” but if she did, she wouldn’t tell us because then it wouldn’t be a secret! In her unending compassion towards others, she strives to make at least one person a day laugh.
In her free time, Jana enjoys playing board games and going to the movies. She feels that board games stretch her brain to keep thinking outside of the box, while watching movies help her relieve stress. If she could have any job, she would like to be an astronaut because seeing the world from a different perspective would be an amazing experience. Her favorite candle fragrance she makes is “Cappuccino Brulee” because it smells like a coffee latte. Her favorite place for a treat is Scoop Dog on JFK Boulevard in North Little Rock where she loves to get custard and concretes. Her favorite animal is a cow because she feels calm and connected to them, which is therapeutic to her. She would love to have a pet cow in her house someday!
Under her list of heroes, Jana includes her parents because they are always by her side to help her whenever she needs it. Another hero she looks up to and hopes to meet someday is Temple Grandin, a woman with Autism who proved to everyone else she could do anything by becoming an animal behaviorist and a faculty member at Colorado State University. Jana aspires to be like her someday and make a difference just like she has.
When asked what she would say to someone who thinks that she can’t work, Jana said she would respond, “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!” She believes people should keep trying to achieve their dreams, and that Dhar Mann would say, “I know you’ve got dreams, but remember…everything will happen exactly when it’s supposed to. You can’t rush God’s plan for your life. Have patience, keep the faith, and never stop believing.”