Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new this year. We are interviewing various UMD Alumni about how their experiences at UMD have impacted their professional lives. They will also be giving their advice for being successful out there in the real world.
Name: Jennie Lennick
Major: BFA in Studio Art with Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking Emphasis
Minors: Photography and Art History
Grad Date: 2009
Organization: Jenny Lemons
Title: Owner, Designer, and Maker
Brief synopsis of what you do: I design and sew hand made, block printed, and hand painted women’s clothing and home goods that feature repetitive food motifs. All of my products are made from natural and organic fabrics. I sell my goods online, in stores, and at craft fairs. I also teach fiber art workshops all over the Bay Area [San Francisco, CA].
What were the jobs, opportunities, and/or classes you had that led to your current role?
When I was at UMD, I took a costume construction course through the Theatre department that really honed in my sewing skills. All of my print and painting classes taught me necessary techniques to make high quality images.
My teachers in the fine art department at UMD helped prepare me for graduate school at the San Francisco Art Institute. While at SFA, I was a teacher’s assistant for traditional and fiber-based sculpture classes. I graduated with a master’s degree in painting in 2012. Immediately upon graduation, I accepted a two and a half year residency at Root Division, a non-profit arts education institution which provides a subsidized studio in exchange for teaching art classes to adults and children.
All the while, I continued to show my artwork in galleries in San Francisco and Portland. During one art show I made a women’s top as an art piece and I got such positive feedback that I decided to make a small collection of women’s clothing. I showed my collection under the name Jenny Lemons at Renegade Craft Fair in 2015 and had great success.
In January this year, I took an intensive business-planning course through Renaissance Center for Entrepreneurship in San Francisco to develop Jenny Lemons further. The course helped me write a business plan and figure out my finances. Since then my business has been growing exponentially!
What were some of the lessons you learned while on-campus at UMD you’ve incorporated into your professional life?
When I was at UMD, I worked at KUMD as the music director for college radio and was active in the Art Guild. These two organizations taught me leadership roles and how to work as a team. I also learned the importance of community, networking, and being friendly. People want to work with nice, thoughtful people!
What do you know now that you wish you’d known prior to entering your role/field?
I see myself as a seamstress and an artist, not a fashion designer. I wish I took a few fashion design or business classes in college to speed up my learning curve. My network helps fill in the gap in my industry knowledge.
What career advice do you have for students wishing to enter your field?
Figure out what your vision is and what makes it different than anyone else. If you don’t understand something about your field, take a course or find someone who can help you! Your networks and colleagues will help. Get an internship at a business similar to the one you want to work at.
Anything else you want to add about your time at UMD, or since, that greatly impacted where you are now?
I loved UMD! While I was there, I took advantage of every opportunity I could.
Photo Source: Jennie Lennick