Jennie Lennick, Owner of Jenny Lemons
Jenny Lemons makes women’s clothing, and textiles for the home, drawing inspiration from traditional domestic craft, and featuring images of the delicious fresh foods and natural beauty of Northern California. All of their products are made by hand and in small batches, using organic and natural fibers.
The company’s owner, Jennie Lennick, studied Fine Arts in College and Grad School. She started out trying to sell her art in galleries- but without substantial success.
Jennie began to make clothing incorporating her illustrations and first introduced them at a gallery show, comprised of her art, drawings, and clothes. The clothes quickly sold out! Jennie took this cue and started to focus on her “wearable art”. Jenny Lemons was born in 2015.
In the first two years, Jennie sold exclusively direct to consumers through retail events like the Renegade Craft Fair.
Today, you can find Jenny Lemons in 30 wholesale accounts throughout the country — and in February, Jennie opened her own retail store / workshop in the Mission district of San Francisco at 3043 24th Street.
A referral success story
Back in August 2017, SFMade reached out to Jennie to discuss her plans. SFMade’s Chief Program Officer and and Apparel expert, Janet Lees, understood that Jennie’s two most pressing issues were a tight cash flow, and a need to expand production.
How SFMade has helped
Thankfully for Jennie, San Francisco still boasts a number of sewing factories that can handle the type of clothing Jenny Lemons works with! SFMade referred Jennie to a few sewing factories, and voila! In October, she started outsourcing some of their sewing locally, while keeping the printing in-house. Jenny can now focus on design and building her retail presence.
Jennie mentions she “would still have been making everything [herself]” without SFMade’s help, and that our “support for how to manufacture in San Francisco has been invaluable”.
San Francisco’s non-profit network
SFMade also helped Jennie to access working capital, especially critical for the opening of her new retail store, referring her to the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center’s financial advisor, Gwendolyn Wright. Gwen referred Jennie to Main Street Launch for a business loan – and even helped her prepare the loan application.
Some words of wisdom from Jennie for other business owners: Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Renaissance, Main Street Launch and SFMade are all part of a local network of technical assistance providers called the San Francisco Economic Development Alliance – or SFEDA, that can answer almost any business-related question – with some also offering loans.
Jenny Lemons’ own store
In November 2017, Jennie was approved for a loan from Main Street Launch. Thanks to the collaboration of local resource providers, she was able to grow and prepare to open her own workshop / store in the Mission, that officially opened on February 1st, 2018.
She never thought she would open a retail store so soon and finds it one of her most unexpected and happy realizations.
The store, called Jenny Lemons, is a place for the company to prototype, print and sell its own line of hand-printed clothing and home accessories, and also to sell the work of many local artists. A big attraction are the DIY workshops, hosted by Jennie and local vendors in the store.
Check out Jenny Lemons’ next workshops here!
Jennie tells us the following are the biggest challenges she’s faced while growing her business in San Francisco in the past 3 years:
- Being patient. The speed of growth is never as fast as you would like or expect.
- Keeping retail employees. This is a hard and competitive market, especially for the smaller brands and companies.
- Copycats. Even a small business like Jenny Lemons can see its designs copied by larger brands!
What’s next on the horizon
Jenny Lemons will soon introduce a line of pants as well as a line of table linens and dinner napkin sets. Also, adding more classes since people love to learn DIY skills.