Jenny Lemons Opens in San Francisco

Jenny Lemons Opens in San Francisco

Jennie Lennick in front of Jenny Lemons

Artist Jennie Lennick stands in front her new store. "I want my customers to feel inspired and excited to make things and experience art when they enter the shop," she says.

Courtesy of Jennie Lennick

Artist Jennie Lennick, creator of Jenny Lemons clothing, recently opened her own brick-and-mortar shop in San Francisco. The shop features Lennick’s bright, hand-printed, California-inspired designs, as well as work by other local artists. Next week she'll host a pop-up event at the shop with other participants in ACC's emerging artists program before exhibiting her designs at the American Craft Show in San Francisco on August 3 – 5. We caught up with her to learn more.

What motivated you to open a storefront? 
I have always been interested in finding ways to bring people together. I've had a lot of experience putting together art auctions, curating exhibitions, and planning events, so having a storefront felt like a natural next step. I wanted to create a space that I could make and sell my work out of, while also selling the work of other local artists. I was looking for a new studio, and I happened upon a vacant storefront in San Francisco's Mission District. I loved the location and the layout of the shop, so I went for it.

How has ACC's Hip Pop emerging artists program helped you to prepare for it? What are some of the specific skills you learned?
The Hip Pop program is all about working together. In our booth, we sell each other's work and support each other. We collaborate to make it look nice and cooperate to give each other equal room. Working alongside other artists in our Hip Pop booth has helped me organize my shop with a cooperative spirit. 

Have you experienced any fear or anxiety about opening up a physical shop? If so, what has helped to alleviate it? 
Of course! It's terrifying to put yourself out there in a super-public way. The shop has been open for six months, and every day over half the people who stop in have never heard of Jenny Lemons. It makes me so anxious that people still don't know we are there. I am learning to let go of some of the day-to-day aspects of my business by passing on responsibilities to my employees and interns. This way I can focus on marketing my business and getting people in the door. I have received a lot of support from my community of other craftspeople and shop owners, who have been super-generous with advice.

How does your storefront reflect your artistic inspirations?
Jenny Lemons carries my clothing line, the work of local artists, a curated selection of art supplies, and it provides a space for DIY workshops. The shop is full of colorful, playful items made by artists in my community. The shop is meant to feel warm and inviting – not pretentious and stark. I want my customers to feel inspired and excited to make things and experience art when they enter the shop. My clothing line is made locally with natural and organic fibers, so it's easy on our planet. I work with local artists, who help me print the fabrics. It is important that the artists I carry have a similar ethos. 

Jenny Lemons store

Photo: Jennie Lennick

What motivated you to host workshops in your space?
I have been teaching workshops for years as a way to supplement my income. Teaching at night really allowed me the financial stability to invest in my business and connect with new customers. I also really enjoyed bringing people together around the act of making something with their hands. Part of what made my storefront so appealing was its layout; there is an enclosed room in the back of the shop that works perfectly as a workshop space. Having the room allows me to not only host my workshops, but to invite other artists into my space and provide an opportunity to earn income from teaching. 

What advice would you give to emerging artists with a similar dream?
Look for help! In San Francisco, I connected with SFMade, the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, and Main Street Launch. These three programs helped me find consultants to offer free advice, get funding to open my space, and assist me in writing a business plan.

Please RSVP to join ACC for a special pop-up event at Jenny Lemons on August 1 from 6 – 9 p.m. Plus, be sure to check out Jennie's work and the more than 250 incredible makers in person at the American Craft Show in San Francisco on August 3 – 5.