Saturday, October 10, 2015

Customize Your Bag

Have you seen my Instagram feed lately?  Custom orders have become a huge part of my daily process.  And I have NO complaints, as they're so much fun to make!

As I found out from the excitement that came out of my booth at Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago, customers want to pick and choose the color of the their leather, thread, zippers, hardware and lining, and I'm more than happy to photograph all the coolest custom orders shipping out of my shop!

The most popular upgrade has been the luggage sleeve that can be added to the back of the Archive (and other larger bags in the shop).  So convenient for airport aficionados!

Do you want a customized bag?  I've updated my Custom Bag section to include all of the customizations you can add to your bag.  For each bag, you can choose the leather/canvas exterior color, accent color (optional), trim color, hardware color, and lining color.  For most bags, you can add a monogram, upgrade the closure type, and add other upgrades like the luggage sleeve or credit card slip pockets.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, I'm just an email away!  Message me and I'm here to walk you through the process and brainstorm the best combinations that will suit your wardrobe and daily needs.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Makers Co. Lab: Jenny N. x Margot Bianca Batiks

I "met" Margot in December 2008 (just 8 months after I opened shop) when she was a featured seller on Etsy, and we've been working together ever since.  I use a lot of Margot's fabric for my bags, and often keep much of it for my own kitchen use. Wait.  Before I get ahead of myself, let me introduce you to Margot if you're not already a fan of her work.

Margot makes beautiful functional batiks for her Etsy shop.  Operating out of her home in Bellingham, Washington, Margot dips custom-made copper stamps featuring her original art into hot melted wax, stamps the design onto undyed fabric, prepares a dye bath for each piece, dyes the fabric, boils the fabric to remove the wax, washes the fabric, presses the fabric, hems the fabric (for her finished goods), and prepares it for selling.   Like me, she's a one-woman operation.  She hand crafts each piece, from start to finish, by herself.  Also like me, she has a fur-baby who oversees the process (she has cats, I have a fat dog).

When I decided to spend 2015 collaborating with my favorite artists, I knew I had to work with Margot again.  We've been "Etsy friends" for my entire handmade career, and every time we work together, it brings me (and many of our customers) so much joy.  It's rewarding for me to work with fabric that has been hand crafted with so much labor and love.  I get a little nervous cutting into the fabric.  I treat it a little more delicately.  The whole process from hot wax to hot press really adds that special handmade touch (even more so) to my bags.  It's really fulfilling to transform Margot's 2D art into a 3D sculpture that someone will wear on their shoulders!

This spring, we're bringing you colors and prints that will rid your winter blues.  These fabrics are printed on organic linen featuring Margot's lillypad, wheat, and raindrop prints in basil, ecru, and turquoise.  They're neutral, muted, and perfect for spring (and beyond!).  I've incorporated her prints into the Foldover Clutch, newly-redesigned Traveler, and Wristlet!  Her fabric is reinforced with a sturdy upholstery stabilizer, so it's even more durable for daily wear!

In addition to the new bags, I'm also offering some scarves from Margot's collection, exclusively in my shop!  They are light weight for the spring and pair beautifully with many Jenny N. bags.  I've actually paired a couple of scarves with bags for a special promotional offer. :)

I hope you enjoy what we've made for you!  Shop our collection here!


p.s. If you're interested in a Custom bag with Margot's fabric, message me for details!

Behind the scenes images courtesy of MargotBianca --thank you! :) 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Re-Introducing: The Traveler

The Traveler has been redesigned!! (Finally!!)

I've had a variation of this bag since 2008 (then, the "Hip Pocket") when I first opened shop.  It went through a few minor improvements like size increase, the addition of an adjustable belt strap, and then it remained unchanged for some years.  The design was one of my very early ones --it was inspired by a wedding invitation that I took apart and re-worked in canvas, lined it with fabric, and it became known as the Traveler in my shop.  It is a popular seller, especially in the summer months when it's convenient for theme park vacations, or doggy play dates in the park.

But it needed some changes and improvements...

One fun aspect of running a solo business is the ability to play all roles in the business.  The role I value most is my opportunity to interact with every single customer throughout their entire transaction(s). With the Traveler, I've received lots of feedback on adding a zippered closure, how the old button snaps could be difficult to easily get in and out, and how to easily access items, etc.
I don't take feedback for granted.  I have a large spreadsheet with data collected over nearly seven years that contain every request I've received with the email address or username of who made the request.  Like, "Leather Color Requests" for when a potential customer sees a bag of mine on Google images that she likes in a color I no longer offer, she emails me with a request to let her know when I have that color leather (or something similar) in stock.  I do email each of these potential customers may just be a few years from when they made the request.  It's a highly organized and categorized spreadsheet so that when a certain category, for this instance, "Traveler Improvements" reaches critical mass, I implement.

The information was coming in, and my aesthetic was also evolving as I became more and more interested in clothing --specifically mens sports coats. You might know, my husband Shay is a business school grad student, and in business school, you need a suit.  And some casual business clothing.  I love an excuse to go shopping, so of course, I started to become really interested in menswear.  Double welt pockets on dress pants and suits started to intrigue me.  Especially the ones with the flap closure.  Minimal and beautiful in design, looked pretty difficult to construct.  (For the record, they are very tricky as they have very little margin for error.  And when you're making them with leather, you can't use an iron to press where you need perfectly straight edges.  But, I love a challenge, especially a technical one that elevates the design aesthetic.)  I wanted to integrate the double welt pocket with a flap on one of my bags.  The Traveler was the prime candidate.

The Traveler sits right at the lower waist, where this pocket would naturally sit on a sports coat.  It's in the perfect position to place easy-access items like a phone, keys, or cash.  It's covered so it is secure, but it's still very accessible to the user.  That was all I needed to re-design the Traveler and implement all of the improvements.
Want a summary of all the changes?
  • Leather Front - now it coordinates beautifully with the rest of my collection
  • Zippered Closure - I know.  You're welcome. 
  • Double welt pocket with flap on front - for easy access to a phone, keys, cash. (Or dog treats!)
  • Hidden (from front) strap attachment - makes the Clutch configuration even more lovely!

I hope you love the changes!

I have a limited edition Traveler in Sweet Pea, and the classic Travelers in Chestnut or Onyx.  You can also customize your own with your favorite leather color, canvas trim, and even a printed fabric for the flap here!

Happy Travels!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Makers Co. Lab: Jenny N. Bags x Sevilla Smith Shoes

I've been running Jenny N. by myself since the spring of 2008.  Working alone for almost seven years can be pretty lonely.

My business resolution for 2015 was to reach out and collaborate with other makers.  My favorite makers.  The makers whose products have been in my wishlists, in my favorites, and my checkout carts over the years.  As you can see, it's happening!  This year, I'm bringing aboard some "co-workers" from all over the US to brainstorm and create collaborative products that you will love! 

Each season will feature an artist whose work I admire and whose products you'll just adore.

Winter 2015, Philadelphia-based shoemaker Sevilla Smith and I have teamed up to create a collection that is perfect for winter (and really, all year)!

I first "met" Faye of Sevilla Smith on Etsy last month in late December, right in the middle of the craziness of the holidays.  Even as I was elbow deep in order fulfillment, I knew I had to work with her when I stumbled upon her shoes.

When I saw her shop, I immediately fell in love with her shoes (who wouldn't?).  Faye designs and makes each shoe, by hand, in the attic of her home in Philadelphia.  Like me, she sources her leather from vendors in the US.  Her shoe lasts are custom made for her shop in Spain, where she learned the art of shoemaking.  Faye is a veteran costume designer and has worked with actors like Ben Affleck, Ryan Gosling, and Amanda Seyfried to name a few.  Her career takes her around the world 3-6 months of the year.  When I contacted Faye about a collaboration, she actually just spent the last 3 months living out of the Omni in Pittsburgh working on a movie with Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried!

Fortunately for me, it didn't take a lot of persuading on my part for Faye to jump on board this new collaborative adventure with me.  We immediately got to work!

Across the state of Pennsylvania, we sent giddy emails filled with cell phone pictures of sketches drawn in the wee hours of the night, shared information on our favorite leather types, production methods, and snail-mailed packages full of swatches to one another to test.  In the last few weeks, we've brainstormed, designed, cut, sewn, hammered together a collaborative collection that we think you'll just love!

Makers Co. Lab is our collaboration.  We hope you love what we've made for you!

Our collection features The Bucket bag, The Jenny bootie (heehee!), and The Rakia cut-out bootie with corresponding removable leather tassels and kilts!

Now you can get shoes that perfectly match your bag!

(You're very welcome!)


p.s. Because I am obsessed with Faye's shoe collection, I've also included The Karina and The Mussenden shoes, as they are perfect for the winter and beyond.  Swooooon. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ready to Ship

There's now a Ready to Ship section on my shop with bags that are made and ready to ship within 1-3 business days!

How convenient, considering one might want to pamper oneself with a special bag using special money gifted during the holidays for a special something for New Years!

Shop Ready to Ship bags here!

Happy holidays!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Holiday Order Deadlines!

It's that time of year again, my friends!  It's time to stalk the Pinterest boards of your loved ones, or simply click on that link your significant other not-so-subtly sent you of the bag she wants for Christmas.  Don't laugh; I have evidence(s) of this.

Here's a breakdown of when orders need to be placed in time for Christmas delivery.  I highly recommend placing your orders before these deadlines to accommodate any delays that may occur (i.e. crazy weather that may delay USPS shipments).

Orders must be placed by 11:59pm EST on the following dates in order to be guaranteed for delivery by Christmas.

Orders placed after these dates will not be guaranteed for Christmas delivery!  No exceptions!

I do not offer rush processing because rushing my process could lead to mistakes in my construction, which can hinder my ability to fulfill orders on time (especially during a very busy time when I cannot afford to make mistakes).  Don't be the person who ruins Christmas for everyone -- order your bag on time! :) :)


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I have known too many women and families who have been affected by breast cancer.  You probably have, too.  Each October, I'm reminded of the strong women in my life who are fighting the battle against breast cancer every day, and especially reminded of those women who have lost the battle to this disease.

For the month of October, I'm offering a pink coin pouch in my shop to help support breast cancer research.  50% of my sales from these pouches will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

You can find the pink pouches here, or if you'd like to donate to the American Cancer Society, donate here.

I hope you'll join us in the fight against breast cancer!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

New Website, New Features

Backpack in Dark Gray Canvas with Chestnut Brown Trim

This is the most popular canvas Backpack color combination that has sold in my shop to date.  You've never seen this bag offered in my shop.   How is this so?!

My customers love being involved in the design process of a bag.  Over the years, I've experienced the most positive feedback from a customer when she has been through the back and forth of deciding between colors and swatches and then finally making her decision to customize her bag to reflect her personality and mood through custom colors.

Not every customer knew I offered these kinds of customizations, so now I'm making it front and center on my new website!  I spent a few weeks developing my new website and added a Custom Collection where you can see what colors are available for customizing your Jenny N. bag.  Customize the canvas, leather, and hardware color.  And for some bag styles, you'll notice a Monogram option, too!

I know, I know, too much good at once.  

My Classic Collection, my top-selling bags, consists of bags that are in stock and ready to ship within 3-5 business days!  These are discounted compared to the Custom Collection!  Every once in a while, I'll make a bag in a cute color that won't always be a staple in the Classic Collection, but will have that discounted price because its ready to ship. After it sells, it'll be back in the Custom Collection.  So grab those when you catch them --they won't be there for long!

What else, what else? 

Faster turnaround times.  Because I'll be focusing on stocking up on my Classics, you'll be able to procrastinate on the gifting a little bit (unlike the 2-week turnaround you experienced before for these bags).

$10 Flat Rate Shipping for US orders over $100.  Orders under $100 ship for $6, and everything over that is a flat rate of $10.

Ruche, reverted back to her original style with a zippered top! Omg!

She's cray cray, you may be thinking.  I'm too excited about the sunny weather.  Pittsburgh can do that to you.  But I sort of can't help it... what I always say.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Re-Introducing: The Foldover Clutch

I've been getting a lot of requests to bring back the Foldover Clutch.  I take names, you know.  Once I build up enough interest for a particular design, I start sketching!

I wanted to keep my lines simple, in keeping with my "back-to-basics" style I've been adhering to lately  (i.e. ToteWristlet).

I wanted to break down this design to an almost utilitarian piece with one exterior pocket for easy access to a cell phone.  I have been religiously using my Monogram Tote and Apprentice Messenger because the exterior zippered pocket on the back perfectly fits my car key and phone, so when the pocket is facing my body,  I always know when I get a notification or call (I'm like, glued to my phone. It could be good or bad.  Apparently customers love my super-fast response times to emails.  I'll say it's good.).

I definitely wanted to add an easily accessible pocket to the back of this clutch!

Here she is!  The re-designed Foldover Clutch.

This clutch has a super-skinny strap that's perfect for comfortably wearing crossbody without slipping.  The strap can be doubled over to wear like a short shoulder bag.  Or wear it strapless!

This is the only bag that has an adjustable strap that does not have that metal slider you've seen in all of my bags.  I wanted to keep this bag feather-light and super easy to convert from crossbody to shoulder bag.

I can wear this around my waist like a fanny pack.  Bonus points!

This new bag really brings attention to the quality of the materials I'm using.  I've really invested a lot of time and effort (and money) to source the best materials, and that has really inspired my design aesthetic (i.e. I've been keeping the design simple because I just absolutely love the look of the leathers, water resistant canvases, and super-smooth-slide-action YKK zippers!).

If you've been shopping with me for the past 6 years, you've probably seen and felt the difference in the material (and construction) quality over the years.  I'm really proud of myself! :) :)

I hope you love this bag!  I think it's the perfect accessory to add to your spring and summer wardrobe.


p.s. My husband, Shay took these photos, and I have to say, he has become a great photographer for my shop (despite taking quite a while to get the perfect shot)! :)  In the last photo, he decided to zoom out and have evidence of what I do while I'm modeling bags.  In my defense, I'm probably answering a customer question, so I'm clearly multitasking with work!