Jennifer St. Jean of Itty Bitty Bag Company will design exclusive products for VentureMom
On the day her daughter went to kindergarten, she knew she
had to quit her job. Jennifer St. Jean
had a big job on Wall Street but when she thought about all she would miss with her girls, then 5 and 1, she left to be
busy she didn't like to be idle and had a self professed Type A personality. After about a month, she started her own
Always a seamstress, she had learned her skills as a child
from her mom. Jen decided to make
bridesmaids bags for a friend's wedding.
The bags were just big enough to hold a phone and a lip gloss - they
were itty bitty. Posting her creation on
her Facebook page to share, she got requests for the itty bitty bags from
friends, and a business was born.
Jen opened a bank account and an LLC and named her company
after her bag, The Itty Bitty Bag Company.
She used Etsy, the marketplace for handmade products, as her on line
store. That was in April of 2009 and she hasn't looked
back. As per the Etsy mantra that all
products be handmade and nothing manufacture or mass produced, Jen makes all of her bags herself, even hand stitching the monograms.
Now she offers more than just the Bridesmaids' bag, even
though, Jen says, "Custom bridal orders are the biggest component of my
business." Jen will work with
customers to choose the lining, the fabric, and the monogram to suit their
tastes. The Itty Bitty Bag Company
carries totes and bags in all shapes, sizes and colors. One of the most popular bags is what she calls
the "mom bag." "It's perfect for a day planner and I-pad or
Most of her sales come through Etsy although you can find
her bags in specialty stores. "I
like knowing where all of my bags go.
When I place my bags in a boutique, I don't meet the buyer of my creation. I lose the connection when I give my bags to
someone else to sell."
Using social media to promote her business, Jen says
relationships and marketing take up 50% of her time. With an active blog, Facebook page, and
Twitter feed, Jen is out there with her social side. Thinking about the future, Jen may get help
with manufacturing for boutiques, but for now she's happy with the size of her
business and her time commitment. Does
she make what she did on Wall Street, "Not even close, but salary isn't
everything and there are many other
What's the best part?
Jen says, " I haven't given up me and I get to be a big part of my girls'
lives. It's an amazing feeling that ,
what I put into my business, I get out of it. "
Be sure to use the "venturemom" coupon code at
Put your creation on Facebook and see what feedback comes