Jennie Lynn Johanson has taken her background in handbags and fashion design and successfully applied it to the children’s industry to become the founder and president of the Bumble Collection™, a company specializing in fashion-forward diaper-bags and accessories.
Johanson’s history in fashion began at the young age of 12, where she created her first designs from colored pencils and a sewing machine, which made its debut on “picture day” of her fifth grade class. This original creation gave birth to her dream of becoming a fashion designer and one day owning her own company.
To read more about Jennie Lynn, click here.
Q & A with Founder/Designer Jennie Lynn Johanson
Q: What is your design philosophy?
A: My designs are feminine yet bold. I try to create designs that speak to different personalities. My approach towards fashion is to make every article stylish yet functional and to indulge a mom’s need for a distinct sense of style without slavishly following trends.
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration?
A: Inspiration for my designs comes from many "every-day" items. In the past, some of these items have included a piece of ribbon in a unique color, a vintage pair of earrings, and a bouquet of flowers arranged in a particular manner. Whatever the item, it doesn’t become inspiration until it triggers something that forces me to a sketch pad. What’s interesting is that some of my best sketches have occurred on napkins and scratch paper, which I can then translate into fine sketches.
In my design studio, I have an inspirational bookshelf filled with items from different parts of my life. This was something that my first fashion design instructor taught me. At first glance, it probably looks like a messy shelf. However if you take a closer look, you’ll see that it’s filled with inspiring objects, textures, colors and ideas that help create every Bumble Collection product.
Q: How is each print created?
A: Each print is hand created using colored pencils and pastels. My approach is to concentrate on one color and create the rest of the design around it. Each print tells an elaborate story and is viewed as a piece of art that begins with a blank canvas and results in the exclusive prints found on the Bumble Collection’s products.
Q: How long does it take you to design a print?
A: Since I hand design each print in our entire collection, it takes approximately 5-6 months of preparation time to come out with a new print. It begins with sketches, which are then translated to sample swatches and a lot of in between time to come out with the finished product. It is a very intricate and long process; a process that most manufacturers don’t venture into. However I enjoy this aspect of design and feel that it is truly the only way to declare a print your own "exclusive".
Q: How did you become a designer?
A: I have always loved fashion and design, and felt that I always wanted to combine these interests. When I was 12, I began sewing and just never stopped. While in high school, I designed my own clothes and handbags. In college, I graduated with a degree in accessory/fashion design, textile design and history of costume. Soon thereafter, I worked as an apprentice with a well-known Los Angeles handbag designer, where I learned many technical aspects of handbag design and manufacturing that I felt were missing in my education. I owe a lot to this internship, as it taught me the necessary foundation which I could build upon to create my own line of handbags.
Q: Does diaper bag design require special knowledge or training?
A: Absolutely. The design and fabrics used for a diaper bags need to be more durable than those used in handbags. What amazes me are the many other diaper bag manufacturers that set out to create bags without prior knowledge of these design aspects using fabrics that aren’t relevant to the industry. Either they lose their shape over time, are too heavy, or just not durable leading to ultimate disappointment by their customers. This is the reason we developed a fabric that was not only lightweight, yet more durable than those used is handbags, machine washable and a soft feel. I feel the best evidence of this is the number of repeat customers who buy additional items from the Bumble Collection after being more than satisfied with their original purchase.
Q: What’s you’re favorite era of fashion?
A: I adore the 40’s. My favorite fashion icon is Lucille Ball. She had a marvelous sense of style. I remember my favorite fact from the era… after the World War II, women yearned for the frivolous details in a dress and desired feminine clothes that did not look like a military uniform. Fabric was rationed during the war, and it was Dior’s extravagant use of fabric that created his name in fashion history. He used yards and yards of fabric to create his signature look of a nipped jacket with a calf length full skirts.
Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a fashion designer?
A: Learn to sew and start with the basics. It’ll make your life so much easier when you understand the inner workings of a design that you can further build upon. Whether you’re in school or not, you do need to get the basic skills, which, will help you tremendously in the long run… Sketching, pattern making, draping, sewing. Even if you end up doing only one of these things, it’s really important to understand all aspects of design in order to make quality products.
Q: I wish people would take more notice of…
A: Their own personal style and truly wear what they like. Instead of following the latest trends or what their friends are wearing. I have always felt that if you wear what you enjoy and what best suits you, then you will end up with a timeless wardrobe.
To view the original Q & A with Jennie Lynn, click here.