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Sew Much More

Welcome to the Sew Much More Podcast!  The interviews here are with creative business owners, mostly in the Custom Window Treatment, Soft Home Furnishings, and Upholstery industry, but also with others that are sewing related or business related.

Thanks for taking the time to listen.  Stop by The Sew Much More Podcast Facebook page and let me know what you think!


Sep 3, 2023

Jenny Ellis is the owner of The Artful Chair.  She spent her childhood in Ohio, then moved to Boca Raton, Florida in 1968, in a hurricane!  After High School, she secured a scholarship at Texas Christian University where she studied Fashion Design, Clothing Construction and Textiles .
Jenny was always a creative maker, even as a child she learned how to make pillows and crafty things, but she was very fond of textures and textiles.  Initially, she thought she'd be in the fashion industry, making beautiful ball gowns and party dresses.  And initially, she did.
When she bought thier first house, Jenny started to look at those windows to be "dressed" know how every homeowner does.  
She decided they must be easy to make, compared to the curvy complicated dresses and gowns she was doing.  She set out to find out and decided to get her window treatment certification (WTCP)  in South Florida at the Master's level. There she started "Designs by Jenny G" ( when Kenny G was popular, it was catchy) she found that window treatments and soft furnishings were way more lucrative and less stressful than dressmaking.
in 2002 Jenny became Macy Furniture Store's window treatment specialist and they included her in their trips to High Point Furniture Market.   Her eyes were opened. The creative ideas were just exploding.  Jenny thought about how she could make high fashion chairs with her arsenal of dressmaking skills.
Fast forward to a move to Asheville, NC in 2004, and she had the opportunity to, as her new husband called it, "reinvent herself". Jenny did try a few different things. Initially, she thought she would just do soft furnishings, and window treatments again, but she was not feeling the same about the market as she was in south Florida.  Her husband then asked her the most memorable question: "What have I always wanted to do, but never had the opportunity to?" She told him her idea of upholstering beautiful artful chairs, like she made dresses, and told him about her vision from High Point Furniture Market.  Her husband gave her the blessing to follow her passion and she enrolled in upholstery classes for 2 years at a local technical school. Then Jenny launched her crazy unique business, The Artful Chair in 2013, at age 57. 
It was definitely a niche; people never saw anything like it. Her creative chairs made everyone smile.  She could have done "regular" upholstery because she understood the rules. She did the learning.  But her vision was so different she thought she could create amazing upholstered furniture and sell it.  Jenny had to push through a lot of barriers, and setbacks, but finally she found her ideal customers. 
This year Jenny is launching online learning classes of her most popular designs, as well as offering beginner basics. She is so excited to open up this wonderful, fun world of upholstery for creative DIYs everywhere.  It's a long way from her dressmaking years, but she could not be any happier about the journey she has traveled. If you ask anyone in the upholstery industry, it is becoming a lost art or trade.  Jenny is here to revive it in a big way.  
Jenny's Motto from Vincent Van Gogh:" Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."
Jenny is on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok
Links and Resources; 

Some of the links I provide, specifically to Amazon and a few others, require me to let you know that if you use those links and make a purchase, I will make some money.  I won't make a million dollars, but I might be able to get a cup of coffee, so thank you!

Life Whimsy: How to Play, and Work More Creatively by Wendy Conklin
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