August 6, 2019 - Read my recent interview in Voyage Dallas where I discuss how I started my business and the challenges I've faced over the last 12 years!
I’m Jenny Nemlekar, and I own, operate, live, and breathe Jenny N. full-time, where I design and construct superior quality leather bags in my home studio near Dallas, Texas.
Jenny N. is truly my labor of love. Amidst this mass-produced world, Jenny N. is where I focus on quality over quantity -- I provide exceptional customer-centric service, and thoughtfully designed and meticulously constructed products.
When I first started Jenny N., I envisioned building lasting relationships with my customers as I constructed their bags one-by-one. After 12 years, I'm proud to say I am still a one-woman operation, and I still offer the same individualized attention to each of my customers. Talk about small business!
Bonus: After meticulously constructing thousands of bags over 12 years, you'll find the quality of my bags to be superior to the luxury brands on the market without the 6x markup because I sell exclusively online direct to my customers!
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 as a Biomedical Engineer at The University of Texas at Austin. Simplicity and versatility are defining characteristics of my design aesthetic.
My bags are created with:
- Premium full-grain cowskin leather (not the cardboard-stiffened, glued-on top-grain stuff),
- YKK zippers, manufactured in Georgia,
- Water-resistant canvas lining, manufactured in New Jersey, and
- Bonded nylon thread, manufactured in Washington.
My bags are sewn on my cast iron industrial sewing machine using bonded nylon thread (used for automotive upholstery) and reinforced with metal rivets. No glues, adhesives, or rubber! Most of my bags can be worn in multiple ways, including crossbody or backpack-style, or can be customized as such.
I design my bags by sketching out the final silhouette in a notebook, 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 package it with a hand-written note to be shipped away to a loving new home where it will hopefully be used daily for a lifetime!
I started making tote bags (something I learned from my mom when I was six years old) in my college dorm room while procrastinating on studying for an Engineering Physiology exam. After earning my degree in Biomedical Engineering, I stowed away my diploma and turned Jenny N. from a part-time hobby into a full-time business.
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 beside the point.
My husband, Shay Nemlekar is my pro-bono model (if I nag him enough) and sounding board for all major business decisions (he's got a lot of business know-how!).
I operate out of a spare bedroom in our home while our lazy pug, Hubert keeps me company while I work. Honestly, he sleeps all day and snores very loudly, but it's better than nothing!