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!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Introducing: The Monogram Tote

With spring just around the corner (it's been long overdue for Pittsburgh; I realize it's spring everywhere else in the US), I've been in cleaning mode.  While my design aesthetic highly favors simplicity, my every day life has been feeling a bit... abundant. (Excessive, to be exact.)

Over the nearly six years of running my business, I've added on more and more design elements to each silhouette, straying away from my original simple design aesthetic.

My everyday life started to adopt a similar regime.  I'd buy one pair of shoes, then love them so much, I'd go back and buy a couple more pairs in different colors. I did the same thing with beans (I know, weird).  I got on this kick about adding lentils and beans to my cooking;  I started with dried black beans, then all of a sudden I had to make room in our pantry for navy beans, kidney beans, and all sorts of different lentils because of my new found addiction of perusing the bulk food aisle at the grocery store paired with my ever-growing collection of hermetic glass jars. Did you know that our tiny studio apartment doesn't actually have a pantry but I commandeered our coat closet for pantry use? (Who needs a coat closet? Oh wait, we did. Thanks, Polar Vortices of Winter 2014.)

My husband says I need to "reduce my footprint".

Translation: I need to get rid of a bunch of redundancy in my life so that if we have to move somewhere after he graduates from school, he won't have a heart attack (like every move he's experienced with me) because I have so. much. stuff.

Enter: The Monogram Tote.

I am a no-frills designer who makes quality bags lightweight because I omit all the fluffy stuff that makes them heavy (unnecessary hardware, compartments, and nonfunctional elements).  I strayed a bit.  I'm coming back now. This bag is my first step to paring down to the core of Jenny N.  Spring cleaning, you could say.

Actually, this is my second step.  The first was the Wristlet.  I digress.

This Tote encompasses every reason I started my business in 2008:  To bring well-designed, hand made, highly functional bags, with a timeless aesthetic into the market.

No interior pockets (Hi, I'm Jenny, and I never use the pockets I sew inside my own bags.), just a metal bolt snap to clip keys or small pouches (i.e. Wristlet!).  One small zippered pocket on the front to hold a cell phone and lip gloss.  Sturdy bottom to minimize sagging.  Super spacious.

To address the hundreds of hundreds of requests (would that be thousands?) I've received in almost six years, I added a zippered top.

Done, done, and done.

Did I also mention you can monogram this bag?  When you simplify down to an almost purely functional state, there's a fine line between looking generic and branded.  I chose the literal sense of the latter.  :)

I hope you enjoy this lovely piece!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Looking Back 22 Years

I've told you before:  running a business is not all rainbows and ponies.  Remember the recall?  (I can feel a pit in my stomach just thinking about that.)

This time is no different.  

This February, I started to fall into a slump.  I turned into this annoyingly lazy and unmotivated version of myself that's likely due to the months gloomy skies + freezing temperatures (especially this year!) + burn out after a busy holiday season. 

I was starting to enjoy the sound of my bitching and overall excuse-making after a while.  Then I stopped recognizing myself.   Who was this annoying woman playing victim to her circumstances? 

Well, a quick vacation to visit with my parents kicked me back into gear.  No words necessary.  Just a VHS tape of myself from 1992 was enough to remind me of what I needed to do. 

My brother and I were on the swim team as kids.  I remember my dad waking us up before sunrise every day during the summer (note: all of the other kids are sleeping in late at this time) to get changed to practice for swim practice.  Like, practice in the morning, then go to team practice in the evening.  My sleepy eyes would be stinging on the car ride to the pool.  The sky was still dark.  The first dive into the pool was cold.

This is when I learned dedication, diligence, and discipline.

I don't have to chase the person I'll be 10 years from now; I just have to look back almost 22 years at the invincible girl I used to be (wearing the extremely uncomfortable yellow bathing suit for the divisional championship swim meet to qualify for the city championship meet).

When we're kids, we are invincible.  As we age, we learn to grow content with our circumstances, and start to accept our lame excuses.

No more excuses.

More dedication, diligence, and discipline.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


After shoveling the driveway, Hubert and I frolicked through the backyard.   I took pictures.  Of course. :)

That is all! :)