As a maker myself, I appreciate other makers and want to celebrate them and what they do. Every so often, I will post about a maker I admire. A few simple interview questions to get to know them better and images of their work will make up this Maker column. I know you will love them just as much as I do.
Jenna Lou of Jenna Lou Designs is a fellow Minnesotan maker. I can’t even remember anymore how I found her and her fabulous handbags and wallets but it’s doesn’t matter much. I’m just glad I did. I love perusing her shop, the gorgeous variety of fabrics and styles. Quality craftsmanship created by a person who really loves what she does. I want so many of them. :)
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jenna Lou Odegard. I’m the owner/designer/seamstress/creative director at Jenna Lou Designs. We specialize in custom handmade clutches and accessories, but also make an assortment of handbags and wallets as well. Everything is made in my Mankato, MN home studio.
How did you get here?
I started Jenna Lou Designs as a high school student (over 7 years ago). It was just a creative outlet, but I soon found that people wanted to purchase my sewn goods. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had something good going and so I turned my passion into my full time career.
I spent many of my early years trying to find where I fit in and it wasn’t until I discovered the bridal market that I knew where I belonged. I love working with brides to create custom and unique gifts for their loved ones and best of all, when I found my niche not only did it make me a happier maker, but my business also exploded then.
Tell us about your day.
I always start the day by reading and responding to emails, blogs, articles… basically I spend at least 30-60 minutes reading to wake up my brain and get caught up on what I have to do for the day. I feel so much more like tackling my work for the day knowing that my customers have all their questions answered up to date.
The mid-morning through afternoon I spend shipping orders or working with my assistant Heidi on new orders. There is always so much to do… she is a life saver! The majority of our work is custom made-to-order so there is lots of detail to coordinate for each order.
By late afternoon Heidi is usually done for the day so I’m left to wrap things up. I love to check emails again to answer any more questions that come in , and then take a quick trip to the post office to drop off mailed orders.
If there is time before my husband comes home from work I love to end the day by taking my dog for a walk. Exercise is my time to think, decompress, and prepare for what is to come.
What inspires you? How do you stay inspired?
I’m probably most inspired by color. You’ll see it in my work… I’m always looking for new way to combine patterns and colors to create a new interesting look. New fabrics come out several times a year so there is always a refreshing palette to look forward to.
I also enjoy paying attention to color trends through social media and sites like Pinterest.
If you weren’t designing/sewing, you would be a _________.
Photographer or Graphic Designer. I’ve always wanted to sharpen my photography skills, and have a real appreciation for good photography. I always think if only I had more time I would love to pursue this. Graphic Design somehow feels like it goes hand in hand with my job already because I do almost all of my design work… and honestly I just love it! In my free time I’ve taken classes or followed tutorials to further my Photoshop and Illustrator skills. I could really see myself designing textiles, stationary, home décor, ect.
Aren’t they beautiful? Makes the desire to start a crazy handbag obsession really flair up, right? :)
For more Jenna Lou Designs:
Facebook: Jenna Lou Designs
Pinterest: Jenna Lou Designs
This is not a sponsored post. I have hand-chosen the makers because I like their work. To keep the style and look of this blog, I did photograph their work myself. The pieces were then returned to their makers.