Jason Kimball, head of brand and creative at Enso Rings who is now sharing his knowledge as an adjunct instructor of entrepreneurial marketing in the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the U’s David Eccles School of Business, is always up for a challenge. As a two-time recipient of the CXO of the Year Award from Utah Business, once in 2014 for his work as chief brand officer for Jaybird and again this year, 2019, Kimball has proven time and time again his ability to be flexible, creative and adaptive.
While Kimball touts over a decade of experience and success in the world of branding and marketing, he never planned to end up there.
“Building brands is my forte, but I originally went to school for construction,” Kimball said. “I loved tinkering and building things, starting with nothing and ending with something. At first, it’s a plot of dirt, and six months later you have an amazing structure. I was fascinated by that and all the different pieces it took to make it happen. I got into marketing and branding through some friends who were professional athletes, and I began to see some correlation between the two vastly different industries, which then led to ideas that developed into opportunities.”
Kimball began to build relationships with different brands, eventually getting his start with the Ogio brand in 2000.
“I liked piecing things together,” he said. “I kept meeting more and more people and started working for many different brands independently across the globe. That’s where I began to learn the ins and outs of the industry, from product development and design to sales and marketing. The marketing and brand teams always seemed to disagree with the product and sales crews, but I believe my history gave me a unique opportunity to bridge that gap and build relationships.”
Kimball has worked for brands from Microsoft to Skullcandy and, in 2017, took a position with Enso Rings, a Utah startup.
“When I joined, Enso Rings were growing, but still trying to figure out what was next,” Kimball said. “They were about to go on ‘SharkTank’ and had grown to maybe 25 employees, with most being in customer care. I’ll be honest, when I first heard about it, I couldn’t believe it was a thing. The founders quit their day jobs and were all in. Their passion for Enso Rings was contagious, and I was excited for the challenge and a believer in what they were building. It is most definitely ‘a thing’ and we are having some fun and success while disrupting a relatively boring jewelry industry.”
Kimball has led multiple differentiators for Enso in their market, namely ‘Inked by Enso,’ which is where they partner with select artists and brands for limited edition ring collections and drops. The most recent collaboration was with the iconic Santa Cruz Skateboards brand and sold out in a matter of days.
Now, Kimball is lending his expertise to students at the U.
“What I missed at school was no one was really teaching about current, real life,” Kimball said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to experience a lot, and wanted to teach off of real-world and relevant experiences alongside the curriculum. That’s resonated really well, and it’s been a fun, wild ride. It’s amazing that Brad Williams gave me the opportunity to teach and it’s been great working more and more with him. I love mentoring and look forward to continuing doing what I can to make a positive impact.”
“I have students email and text me to ask for feedback and input on products, business and brand ideas, and I love that. It’s awesome to see their entrepreneurial spirit and drive continue to grow.”