by

Jenae Michelle

September 16, 2008 in News

Jenae Michelle - Stitchin Women - Range of Emotionswww.rangeofemotion.com

Boat Bag РGroovy Green Sewing is one of the most fun and inspirational ways to express yourself. But sometimes, in the midst of all that creativity, you just might discover a new technique or niche that can be turned into a successful business. One talented woman who has turned her love of sewing into a career is Jenae Michelle, who launched her own line of one-of-a-kind handbags, range of emotion, in 1995. Today, Jenae’s exclusive bags can be found on the arms of senators, lawyers and fashionistas who have standing orders for a new bag each season.

Jenae learned to sew from her grandmother, and spent many summers designing outfits and sewing while on her grandparent’s farm in Indiana. After several of her friends complimented her on a coat she had made for herself, she started making coats for them as well.

‚ÄúMany custom coats later, I had a beautiful box of scraps,‚Äù she explains, ‚ÄúI heard my grandma’s voice in my head ‚Äì “waste not want not” – and that is how the whole thing started.‚Äù

NewWork Hot PinkThe “thing”, of course, is range of emotion, Jenae’s successful line of bags which she showcases at the DC Farmer’s Market every Saturday, rain or shine. She also attends a limited number of American Fine Craft and Art Shows on the East Coast. Her attention to detail and durability sets her bags apart from most garments and accessories on the market today.Jenae Michelle - Stitchin Women - Range of Emotions

Despite several offers from larger companies, Jenae prefers to put her personal touch on each bag. She looked into a variety of options for selling her bags before deciding that the “smaller is better” business model was the best avenue for her.

“It allows me to control quality, make one of a kind pieces and keep the business aspect fairly simple.” She says, “The result is that I earn more money per piece and my customers are able to get high quality work for less than they would pay at a boutique.”

Floral Dot BagThe majority of Jenae’s bags are crafted from wool, which Jenae admits is her “truest love.” Currently, her interests include learning new skills to texture and dye wool. “I feel like I just wanted to learn how to get more and more deeply involved with the process that eventually becomes a bag. Even in the heat of summer, I am excited to get back to making my wool bags.”

Jenae Michelle - Stitchin Women - Range of EmotionsFor those interested in working with wool, Jenae cautions to always check carefully in woolens for moth holes. Here are a few other sewing tips from Jenae:

‚ÄúWhen picking out vintage fabrics, focus on what catches your eye but also consider the quality. The last thing you want to do is put your time and effort into to a piece that won’t hold up.‚Äù

‚ÄúDon’t be fooled that sewing from vintage garments is ‚Äòcheap‚Äô. By the time you clean and take apart the garment, it will probably be more expensive – but I find the fabric quality, prints, and colors outweigh the time and energy spent. You will soon get familiar with the old, good labels, and that can also guide your picking and choosing.‚Äù

‚ÄúTake it easy on yourself! Some of the most expensive designs have uneven hems, seams showing, etc. So what if there’s a mistake? Put on some nice shoes and wear it with pride.‚Äù

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