By Jenny Vickers
Welcome to Asbury Park Bazaar's Meet the Maker AP series where we highlight local artists and makers that are part of the Asbury Park Holiday Bazaars being held Saturdays & Sundays, Nov 26-Dec 18th, noon to 5 pm in the Grand Arcade of Convention Hall in Asbury Park.
Eco-friendly inks, 100% vegan leather, and gorgeous designs...now this is something I can get behind. Today's #MeetTheMakerAP series features Jenna Aliyah Designs. Jenna makes accessories and home goods in crisp geometric designs with natural colors and materials to create an edgy bohemian style with inspirations from tribal art. I was awe-inspired by her first show at the Asbury Park Fall Bazaar and couldn't be more excited to welcome her back to the holiday events. Read more about Jenna in our interview and be sure to shop her goods this Saturday, November 26th for #SmallBusinessSaturday!
1) Tell us how you got your start.
My business started with a dream and tons of encouragement from my friends and family. I began my journey on Etsy, and over time I found some amazing small business owners who wanted to sell my collection in their shops. The journey has been so incredible.
2) What motivates you to make everything by hand?
I have always loved creating things for people, whether it is to serve a special purpose, or just to display in their home. I love the idea of my art living on in someone else's life. I am motivated by the customers who see my work and can relate to it, because I believe that art should be shared.
3) Where did you grow up and where do you live and work now. What's your favorite part about living there?
I grew up in Massachusetts, then lived in NYC for a few years, and now I live in Northern New Jersey with my husband and our grumpy little cat. My favorite part about where we live now is the lifestyle of living in a small town. It was a big adjustment after the city, but I love the little community that we are becoming part of.
4) Walk us through a day in the life of your work space.
Since moving to New Jersey, my work space has grown and my days in the studio are filled with coffee and the daily print cut sew production line. When I am not sewing or posting on Instagram, I am taking care of my plants. Having plants in my work space keeps the energy positive.
5) What kinds of products will you be offering at the holiday bazaar?
For the holiday bazaar I have created a new holiday print inspired by the always popular ugly sweater parties. I am also introducing some hand printed greeting cards as well as some banners with positive mantras! In addition to these new items I also will have a selection of my fall collection.
6) What are you most looking forward to at the Holiday Bazaar?
My first Asbury Park Bazaar was this fall and I am so excited to be back! I love meeting all the artists and vendors that are there, as well as the local shoppers. Asbury Park is such a great little shore town, and the people that you meet here are the best.
7) Why should people support events like the Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar and shop local / shop small in general during the holiday season (and year round)?
Shopping small is not only great for your spirit but it is great for the community. I love supporting small shops, not just because I run one but also because the items you find are always unique. You can always tell that the maker/designer put their heart and soul into what you are buying, and that translates to the item and to the recipient of the gift. The Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar is the perfect opportunity to get your holiday shopping done because it's local AND every weekend until Christmas!!
8) What is your favorite holiday tradition?
My favorite holiday tradition is driving around town enjoying all the houses in our neighborhood with their decorations. We would drink hot chocolate and ooh & ahh all around town.
Be sure to stop by and say "hi" to Jenna and shop her fantastic handmade goods for Small Business Saturday at the Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar this Saturday, November 26th! You can also find out more about her and shop on her website: www.jennaaliyah.com