Maker Creator Series: Jana Phipps the TRIM QUEEN
Women Entrepreneurs in the Digital World: Artist Spotlight the Trim Queen
We spent the day with Jana Phipps, Founder and Creator at the "Trim Queen".
MEET JANA PHIPPS,
This designer juggles multiple projects, is a sought-after speaker for the history and current trends of Passementerie designs. On any given day, you will find her at High Point Market offering insider tours on valuable resources and vendors, reporting on furnishings as a High Point Market blogger, or as part of a national team reporting on High Point Market, doing workshops at Country Living Fairs, or reporting and speaking at the IWCE - International Window Coverings Expo and the apparel and decor sourcing trade show TexWorld USA.
Her primary business and studio are located in Westchester County, north of Manhattan in Peekskill, NY where she creates and is evolving her business.
Who is she to me?
Jana is a trimmings expert and founder of the national blog "Trim Queen" where she shares stories about travel, education, and history, and updates from furniture, window covering and craft markets around the world. We are always excited to follow her on her journeys, meet her community of craftspeople and the wonderful inspiration of embellishment that surround us in fashion and decor and the crossover of both.
Jana is an entrepreneur,
a MOM, and has also been a wonderful friend and my support system on many levels. She has clarity and mission that has taken her past the workload. She has gone past working in sales and the office and looking in Pinterest for ideas, she is out and about constantly casting her net beyond through collaborations from online and personal relationships. Add to her list, she is a sought-after speaker for passementerie and trimmings history, to a new product page on her site to purchase embellishments for your clothing. ( constantly selling out, so get yours now)
A few of my favorite items available at the TRIM QUEEN SHOP.
How did your education or past work experience give you the confidence to go out on your own as a small business owner?
Early on in my career, I worked for Time Warner in their creative services department that gave me some incredible experience in video production and graphic design but also proper corporate communications, protocol and company politics! When I moved into the fashion world and started up a home dec division of a trimmings company, I ran it at age 30 for ten years until I went out on my own. What made me make the jump was having my daughter and leaving her at 6 months old, still nursing and pumping, and sometimes coming home to her asleep for the night. No matter how much money I made, it was not worth giving up seeing my daughter grow. There was no flexibility at my job so I started my own business as a consultant.
Tell me a little more about your Italian-American influences?
Graduating from UC Berkeley and spending a year studying in Venice Italy as an Italian-American, my original goal moving to New York was to work for an Italian fashion company for five years then move back to California to start up a related business or job on the west coast. Well that DIDN’T happen, but I have been able to do business in Italy and am planning a Maker Tourism trip with a group of curious creatives March 2019 in Venice.
Custom Pillow by Trim Queen, with Robert Allen
Tell us about the process of launching your business. Best parts? Biggest challenge? What beginning would you like to share?
Before I launched my business, I worked with two business coaches and built a business plan so I was more confident to make the jump. I had also saved seed money to start on my own. The best was feeling in control of my future destiny as an entrepreneur and a mother. The scariest was the money, continuing to be the primary earner, I didn’t have a big safety net, I had to hit the ground running. Also, leaving my company of ten years felt like a divorce, I was heart-sick to leave so much of what I had built. It wasn’t easy but it was impossible to stay with zero flexibility to raise my family how I wanted. I was determined to succeed on every level and eventually, all of my experience and contacts helped me grow. My clients and suppliers were very loyal because we always worked in partnership.
It sounds like a well-planned path. Talk to me about your design process, working in the studio, blogging, and video.
The lion’s share of my work is acting as a designer and agent for Classical Elements based in North Carolina. I work with furniture manufacturers, retailers like Calico, and Interior Design jobbers like Robert Allen and Pindler to create custom trimmings to coordinate with their fabric assortments. I have thousands of samples in my studio, I pack up what is relevant to show a client and assorted yarn color cards and go to meet with them to develop a custom collection. It’s a very collaborative process with their design and merchandising team. Sometimes they come to the table with designs and we color them by specifying yarns or sometimes we modify a design from Classical to their needed specifications. That’s how we build. It’s time consuming and usually take 6 months to a year to launch a full collection which comes to you in gorgeous books. It’s a ton of work in sampling,-mock ups, memo and book making.
“Embellishment is a creative form of self-expression.” – Jana @Trim Queen
I started blogging in 2013 when trim sales were down to show the industry how others were using trimmings creatively to generate more interest. With social media, blogging is just one part of how I share #TrimAlchemy the idea of “turning something ordinary into extraordinary using trimmings”. Now I manage content on all my channels: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube and LinkedIn. Because I am on appointments and in constant communication with mills and clients all day, I usually do my blogging after hours, after I put the kids to bed! Yeah, I work ALOT but I am in a huge growth phase right now.
What is your favorite part of the creative process? What inspires you and why?
My favorite part of the creative process is collaboration. I love when different points of views come together to create something that wouldn’t exist if we’d worked solo. We each bring our forte to the table. For example, I was commissioned to create a peacock for a display and called on an artist friend of mine, Candace Winter, to collaborate. She brought so much sculptural and fabrication know-how to the project and I brought luxury materials and color sense and together we are creating a unique work of art that has an exponential quality of creativity.
What is the best advice you have for other female entrepreneurs?
You’ll be juggling, know which balls in the air are glass, and which are rubber.
I love that quote. Do you have a design / creative philosophy, and if so, what is it?
To quote Elizabeth Gilbert from "Big Magic" -"Perfection is FEAR in high heels. "
I have been paralyzed by perfectionism in the past, her book was very helpful to me. Now when I am overwhelmed, I just clear my work table and START with a playful attitude and without fail, the materials speak to the project and a design evolves.
Imagine your business in five years. How would you like to grow?
What is revealing itself to me is that the opportunities we have had this year are multi-faceted and I’d like to continue to grow that way as a true design studio -- from creating trimmings to finished products, to content as an influencer, to unique art pieces and guiding maker tours, all in collaborations. What’s thrilling is my social channels can give me immediate feedback and even sales. For example, did you see the custom fringe wall I am building for TexWorld USA?
Maker Tourism: Join me for an Authentic Venetian Experience
Embroidery is a bit of a lost art; do you think it’s regaining popularity? How did you first get started?
Studying at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice influenced my career in the decorative arts. I have worked and traveled in Italy for 30 years, speaking the language, and connecting with artisans. My exclusive Trim Queen Maker Tour will have you falling in love with authentic Venice, and MAKING like a true Venetian.
Sign up for tour updates here: (Trim Queen Maker Tour)
Thank you so much for your time, and for sharing with us your path and vision.
I look forward to hearing more about your design traveling and hearing more from you on fashion week in NY , Paris and London.
You have truly inspired us and continue to show us the translation of fashion to the home decor embellishments. I am constantly inspired, and I am so please to share you with my readers.
Trim Queen on Instagram
To learn more about Jana, and the world of passementeries, visit " Trim Queen" to find your tasselicious inspiration today!
If you would like me to create a mood board for your home design, then email me through our INTERIOR DESIGN CONSULTATION package.
To catch up on our recent activities, here are a few links:
Maker Creator Series: Jana Phipps the Trim Queen. Women Entrepreneurs in the Digital World: Artist Spotlight the Trim Queen