Hi! I’m Jenny Nemlekar, and I’m the one-woman show at Jenny N. Design, where I design, make, photograph, model and live and breathe handbags. I operate out of my in-laws’ basement in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I started making tote bags (something I learned from my mom when I was six) in my college dorm room, and it soon became an addiction. Ironically, earning a bachelors of science in biomedical engineering solidified what I really wanted to do: be my own boss. I figured owning a business would give me the opportunity to do what inspired me, while creating the flexibility to work my own hours and move anywhere around the world. What I didn’t realize at the time was that owning a business is a 24/7 commitment and that industrial sewing machines and leather hides are really heavy to move, but that’s besides the point.
I am an artist by nature and an engineer by discipline, so my business is the fusion of my personal artistic aesthetic and the engineering principles I adopted throughout my education. I design my bags using premium upholstery leathers and durable canvases, and construct each piece in my classic aesthetic while ensuring high quality and utility while minimizing waste and scraps. Simplicity and versatility are defining characteristics of my design aesthetic; my designs are created with no excessive hardware or overt signage, and can be worn in various ways, including cross body.
I design my bags by sketching out the final silhouette, then reverse-engineering the design to create a template. I cut a whole leather hide into a stack of geometric shapes that culminate into a design when sewn, lined, and riveted. Once a bag is ready, I take a brief moment to feel like a proud mom before giving it a final hug goodbye, and then packaging it to be shipped away to a loving new home.
Name: Jenny Nemlekar
Role: Designer, Maker, Photographer, Model, Customer Service Rep, and everything else involved in my small business
I design and hand make every single bag you see here in my shop.
I earned my bachelor of science in Biomedical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.
Clearly, I like bags more than medical devices.
When I'm not working in the studio (which is rare), you can find me in the kitchen cooking up fancy food.
Get the latest shop updates on my Facebook page! :)
Name: Akshay Nemlekar
We call him: Shay
Role: Manager, Model, Analytics Guy
Shay is my tough business decision-maker, source of sanity, data analytics guy and male model (if I nag him enough).
He graduated with a bachelor of science in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.
He is currently attending CMU Tepper School of Business for his MBA.
Shay's hobbies outside of keeping me in check include playing basketball, drumming, and mixology.
Name: Hubert (Pug)
Role: Lazy Studio Loaf (i.e. Mascot)
Hubert is a low-contributing member of Jenny N. Design.
He literally sleeps beside my feet while I work and snores to the steady cadence of my sewing machine.
I guess that's a good enough contribution.
Follow him on Instagram. (Oh yes. I just went there.)