Jenny Joined this treasury team in June of 09. She is a super treasury maker and amazing artist/designer. She makes gorgeous bags - I hope to be able to own one of her bags one day! Jenny has been a real help to our team with her many talents - web-designing, graphic design, blogging, and more.
We really appreciate all you do for us Jenny - Thank you!
What furniture/design/home décor piece do you love most?
I really love my Cardboard Safari Bucky - mainly because it was the first expensive piece of decor that I bought for myself when I graduated college. I was adamant about not living like a college kid anymore.
Not married, but I am with a wonderful boy, Akshay, whom I love a lot. I call him The Boy on my blog. He's also my unpaid male model for man bags.
I have a dog, does that count?
Oh, in that case... I do have a pug named Hubert. He's the sweetest, most goofy little thing I know. Don't be fooled by his expression. He's neither sad nor confused. That's just the way his face is.
Designing and making bags are my full-time job. I graduated The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Biomedical Engineering and very quickly realized in my senior year that I preferred designing bags than medical devices, though I aced my senior design project to design a new device to aspirate bone marrow for things like bone marrow transplants. I am a good engineer, but I think I make a better bag engineer.
Austin, Texas. I love this city. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else.
23, turning 24 in June. Not really looking forward to it, but I'll live.
How many languages do you speak and what are they?
I speak 1.33 languages. I speak English and can understand Vietnamese.
Do you play an instrument?
I dabbled in guitar for some years as a teenager and can still play some songs, but I haven't done much with the skill lately.
Can you sing?
I think so. My brother, The Boy, and Hubert don't seem to complain.
Lets Talk Business…
What’s a good story behind your craft and what got you started?
My mom taught me how to sew when I was 6 years old. The first thing I ever made was a tote bag (you can see where this is going, right?). During one of the stressful times in college, I decided to procrastinate on studying and get a cheap sewing machine and some fabric. I made that same tote and soon it became a hobby. I needed to fund this hobby because in college, you just don't make enough money to make a room of totes, so I started selling on Etsy.
Where do you get inspirations?
Well, after I started selling, I graduated above totes and designed bags inspired by shapes that inspired me - like the Baby Ruche Bag is modeled after the then-popular Bubble Skirt with pleats in the front to add more dimension.
Does your family help with your business/hobby?
Initially, my brother and boyfriend were my drivers to buy shipping supplies and drop off packages at the post office. I learned to drive like a few months ago and got my license (long story) and finally have an old car that will take me where I need, though I do most ordering online and occasionally will make a trip to the post office if I don't use carrier pick-up.
The Boy accompanies me to all my shows, which is always great because it can get lonely sometimes.
My Mom is my accountant. She earned her degree in Business Finance, so she's really money savvy. I don't think any of that passed onto me, unfortunately.
Do you like your craft/hobby?
I love it. I couldn't imagine working in an engineering company with normal work hours.
How do you market?
I sell exclusively on Etsy for now and attend some craft shows. I blog, Facebook, Twitter, and purchase ads occasionally.
What gets neglected when you're tending to your shop or creating?
My life. I recently extended my turnaround time to allow time to play with Hubert, hang out with my boyfriend and our friends. I pry myself away from my studio on the weekends so that I don't burn out. I answer e-mails from my iPhone on the weekends to keep myself away from my computer. It's so hard to stop working because it's my hobby, but I have to set strict rules for myself so that I will continue loving my job for years to come.
What are you future plans for your business?
I hope to find time to launch my new bag design. I have a design that I sketched almost a year ago that I haven't had time to make. We'll see what happens in the next months...
Any bad experiences with etsy…rude customers/bad buy?
0.5% of my customers give me reoccurring nightmares. Which means I've only encountered two in two years of selling, which is not bad at all. I love all my customers, I always learn a lot from the bad experiences.
Are you awesome?
I say this a lot when someone comes to me feeling bad and needing to vent, "You know, when I feel bad, I just stop feeling bad and start feeling awesome." It is an adaptation from one of the many life lessons I've obtained from watching How I Met Your Mother.
Obviously, I am not often someone that my friends go to for a shoulder to cry on. My brother has dubbed me the "Truth Bomber" because I don't have a high tolerance for pity parties and sad stories. Especially when it comes to relationships, I have the same line for it all, "Get over it." Death and sickness are another story, and I am not such a meany for those situations.
Just so you know, I do have a soul.
When was the last time you had a staring contest?
Never. I've worn contacts since I knew about the game and can't keep my eyes open for very long without them drying out.
When was the last time you fell asleep with the TV on?
I rarely watch TV, and when I do, it's at The Boy's place because he has cable. I fall asleep when he watches ESPN, and when I wake up, he's bored of watching and I change it to HGTV and Food Network, and then he falls asleep. It all works out perfectly, really.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
I believe in a high-level of interest at first sight. That's pretty close.
Are vampires real?
No. But clowns are. And I hate clowns. Especially killer clowns. They are the worst. They live in places like the forest and under your bed, which is why my bed has to be ON THE FLOOR so no one can fit under there. I digressed from the question...
Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster?
Button technology doesn't work that way unfortunately. But I feel like inching forward at a red light will make it turn green faster. Right?
Where you named after anyone?
No. My parents named me Jennifer because it sounded good with my brother Christopher. Sounds cute, huh?
What is the first thing you notice about people?
Clothes, eyes, and mouth. In that order.
What is on your mouse pad?
It's a black piece of leather from my scrap box.
If you were another person would you be friends with you?
Of course. I would try to get free bags even though I don't give my friends much of a discount. It's actually the same discount I give everyone else during sales (and I only give them those discount during my sales). Don't tell them though, they think they're getting a deal from me.
But in all honesty, I think I make a pretty good friend. I would go to me for the truth if I were confused about something in life. I think most of my friends go to me for advice for things like relationships, business, and fitness (I am a certified personal trainer and taught Yoga and Pilates for 5 years during college).
I used to like Stargazer lilies, but now I like Peonies more.
This changes according to my mood. Rotates between black, fuchsia, turquoise and gold. Sometimes other colors will make it in there, but they won't stay for very long.
Bakeries and new homes. And gasoline - which is bad, I know, but I know for a fact I'm not alone in this.
Anything Vietnamese, hands down. I grew up eating it, and I default to cooking it. Though The Boy has introduced me to Indian cuisine and his undying love for pizza.
Favorite etsy shop?
I love too many. You can see my favorites if you want names.
I love scheming new projects for building things (big things like beds, work benches, displays, shelves and things). I love my power drill and staple gun.
Otherwise, I love to repurpose clothes, work out, shop, and have philosophical conversations with Chris and The Boy during dinner. We really love contemplating theories from books such as The Black Swan and Blink being the most recent books we've read. It's when I get the most conversation in my day because I spend all day at home working and hanging out with Hubert.
There's a video that my mom took of my brother and me sitting on a bed and putting our feet in our desk chairs (the chair was facing the bed). I was 2, my brother was 4. My brother would knock over my chair and I would have to climb all the way off the bed, place the chair back in its place, climb all the way up and put my feet on the chair. Well, before I could climb all the way up, guess who decides to kick over my chair? Exactly. We continued this routine for six or seven times, and each time I asked him oh-so-patiently and softly to stop (in Vietnamese, I was so cute, I can't speak Vietnamese as well anymore). I think after the last time, I yelled at him - which scared him, and my parents because I was always so soft spoken. My dad warned my brother that if he continued to mess with me like that, I would turn evil.
I haven't been soft-spoken since.