Local architect and crafter, Jennifer Rowe is jumping into crafting with the intent to sell and she’s eager to learn along the journey.
It takes a very brave person to turn something from hobby to business venture, a decision filled with plenty of nagging fears.
For local architect and crafting-enthusiast, Jennifer Rowe, the choice to launch her brand, Pieces & Patterns was a leap of faith.
“Selling hand-crafted items has been on my mind for quite some time,” she says. “However I had this checklist of items I was convinced I needed to get through first, such as getting my architectural license, building up a good savings specifically for my business, learning how to build a website, and ‘perfecting’ my craft.”
As anyone who sells things they’ve made knows, the need to make items the best they can be feels paramount over the decision of when and where they will be made available to the public. However, as Rowe has learned, sometimes you have to table perfectionism for the sake of getting honest feedback, and thereby growing.
“Eventually I began to realize that there was no reason I couldn’t work on all of my goals congruently,” she admits. “I realized I was never going to ‘perfect’ my craft. I learn from every item I make and honestly that’s what keeps me crafting. So, I needed to just go ahead and jump. I needed to throw myself out there.”
Rowe is originally from coastal Mississippi, but spent time living in New York City and in Europe before settling in New Orleans. She credits living in various places and cultures for her love of patterns, colors and textiles.
“I’ve been crafting for as long as I can remember, but on a small and personal scale,” she says. “Until recently, most of my crafting was fueled by my love of gift giving, my fascination with Mardi Gras costumes, and the desire to keep my own head and neck warm in the winter.”
Rowe launched her business earlier this year, with a selection of decorative and colorful pillow covers, baby clothes, quilts and decorative sachets, which have become incredibly popular with her clients.
As for how Pieces & Patterns officially launched, Rowe says it was sort of on a whim.
“In August of this year I saw an advertisement for vendors at the Mid City Art Market,” she says. “I applied with pictures of my work and to my delight was accepted.”
Like many start up’s, Rowe has faced her share of challenges and she says the biggest one is the number of hours in the day that she has available to sew.
“I work full time, I have an energetic dog who wants to run and play catch all day every day, and I like to go out and do all things New Orleans,” she says. “My business is new. Factoring in time to craft, to photograph my work, to develop my website, to apply to various art markets, and to relentlessly cut out business cards is not easy. I’m sleeping less and socializing less, but I feel productive and motivated. I am hopeful it will get easier once the newness wears off.”
Jennifer’s creations are launching just in time for the holiday season and she’s looking forward to offering New Orleanians, and others around the country, the opportunity to present their loved ones with a really unique gift this year.
Her website and Etsy page launched last week and she’ll be participating in her next art market on December 6th at the Ocean Springs Art & Antiques Market in Mississippi.
Visit her website to check out her Etsy shop and photos of her work.