Woman We Love: Jessica Jensen, Canadian Handbag Designer
With a career-focused mind, stunning Toronto studio and successful luxury handbag line, Canadian designer Jessica Jensen is a true example that women can have it all - on their own terms.(9 Photos)
From the Niagara Peninsula, to Toronto’s prestigious Ryerson School of Fashion, Canadian handbag designer Jessica Jensen knows a thing or two about accessories. Taking her more than 10 years’ experience working with brands like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors, Jensen debuted her eponymous label in 2008. Showcasing unique detailing, European leathers and timeless shapes, Jensen launches Jessica Jensen Signature May 1 on The Shopping Channel.
Bringing accessibility to her investment pieces, the Signature line features 14 styles complete with her custom details – handcraftsmanship, French linen lining, sumptuous leathers and durable nylons.
After meeting Jensen in her Toronto studio, we were fascinated by her inspiring career, successful business and artist husband. Read on for a peak into who she is, and what her new collection is all about:
As a woman have you faced any challenges running your own business?
For the most part, gender has not been an obstacle in running my own business. The one challenge might be in overcoming the feeling of guilt that comes with straying from traditional societal female values. From a very young age, I envisioned myself as a career-centric woman and knew that my primary goal in life was to build an empire, whereby my sisters mostly dreamed of marriage or motherhood. They are both looking forward to being mothers themselves, and I'm still more focused on business than on babies.Paige Portfolio in Coral
What inspired you to start your own line of luxury goods?
My appreciation for detail. I love everything about the 'little things' in all aspects of my life. And it’s all those little things combined that truly create a luxury product, service and customer experience.Hillary Hobo in Purple
What skills does a person need to succeed as an entrepreneur?
Confidence, drive, vision, talent and persistence.Serena Satchel in Blue
Your husband is an artist, how do you manage time when you both work for yourselves?
It is much more difficult in one sense and easier in another. We both have very demanding schedules and work long hours, six to seven days of the week. We also both travel a great deal and usually find ourselves out of the country at different times. On the other hand, if we do both find ourselves with a break in our schedules, it is easy enough to pick up and take off. With international phone and data plans, our offices can easily be mobile for a week or two when needed.Lauren Wallet in Green
When starting a business what's the most important thing to remember?
It’s never easy, glamorous or inexpensive. You need a clear vision and a flexible plan. You also need to be prepared to work long and lonely hours, then to go out and network at night, and still get up in the morning with self-renewed focus, direction and motivation.Kayley Convertible in Black Patent
Who is your mentor?
Jeff Stevenson, the Creative Director at McGregor Industries. He taught me the importance of refinement, parity and cohesiveness in design and branding.Emma Tablet Case in Red
Where do you see the brand in five years?
In five years, I'd like the JESSICA JENSEN brand to own a healthy share of the handbag market, having distribution in three US department stores, in addition to a growing number of boutiques across North America. I also envision at least one brick and mortar store of our own. Perhaps a flagship or concept store in either Toronto or New York. I see the brand as a lifestyle brand, so I'd like to see us begin our growth into other product categories, including footwear, jewelry, home goods, resort and ready-to-wear.Cynthia Shopper in Coral
Where to buy
The Jessica Jensen Signature line is available May 1 on theShoppingChannel.com and available on-air on May 2 at 5 p.m. ET and May 3 at 9 a.m. and noon ET.
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