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Lancaster County Designer, Janell Almodovar

A few weeks ago I put a call out looking for names of talented small business owners who are from right here in Lancaster County.  It can be hard to make it as a small business, even if you have real talent and a quality product.   I think buying locally is such a fabulous way of supporting our community.  You can often purchase very creative and original products that no one else has seen before!

Well, I’d like to introduce Janell Almodovar – a very talented designer of beautiful handbags.    And, since it is fun to get to know the person behind the product,  I’ve asked Janell some questions so we can get to know her better.  And, just to give you a heads up, she is graciously giving away a FREE handbag!  You will have to read on for more details!!

handmade handbags in lancaster county


How long have been in business? I started experimenting part-time in 2002, and officially went full-time in 2007.

When you’re not creating and designing bags, where can we find you? With family! I work a lot, so when I’m not working I need that special time with my hubby and 2 boys.

Do you twitter? Facebook? Just Facebook – j.almodovar handmade creative

What is  your:

  • guilty indulgence? Coffee, wine, dark chocolate…donuts….did you want just one??
  • favorite getaway? MIAMI! I love the heat, the beach, the people.
  • favorite family ritual? Any weekend that my husband is off work…. We spend a lot of time with family and love having whole family    sleepovers. This usually includes a big breakfast, grilling in the backyard and lots of noise. Our poor neighbors!
  • favorite thing in your closet? I love layering, so my cardigans are a must and since summer is right around the corner – my sandals.
  • current reading material? Wish I could say something intelligent here, but I’ll be honest – W magazine, Lucky magazine, Nylon, The New  York Lookbook are some of my favorites.

How did you get into this business? I’ve always been in love with fashion, but didn’t do anything serious with my interest until after I had my first son. (That’s right, I didn’t want to go back to work, even though I eventually had to.) From 2002-2007 I experimented part-time with designing handbags. I had a few home shows, pushed them on friends and family, and eventually set up my etsy shop online.  Within this time period a store in Hawaii started stocking my bags. In 2007 I was able to completely supplement my income from working part-time jobs and go full-time with my business.

My handbags are currently in 11 stores across the US and 1 international store with 8 more stores pending contracts. The workload has become a bit much for 1 person so I have fashion design interns who help out in my home studio for 3 month terms. When things are really busy I bribe my husband and friends to cut patterns. I’m also looking forward to having my first employee (yay, my sister!) this summer.

What do you think makes a business successful? Good, fast communication, staying current and creative, customer satisfaction – most of the stores that stock my handbags came about from word of mouth.  Happy customers are the best at marketing!

What inspires you as a designer? # 1 would be people watching. I love seeing how people put their outfits together and express themselves. I’m also inspired by different cultures, traveling, fabrics, my magazine collection and blogs that I follow.

And, here are just a few bags I pulled from her Etsy shop.  I love the creative patterns and colors!

lancaster small business, handmade handbags

And now for the FREE bag giveaway that Janell is graciously giving us!  The bag you can win is the patchwork shoulder bag (similar to the one in the image above).  These are the rules:

1.  You must live in the United States to enter.

2.  To enter,  hit the “share” button on Facebook to tell your friends.  Then come back here and leave a comment telling me you “shared.”

3.  To enter a second time, visit her etsy shop and then come back here and leave a comment stating which of Janell’s bags are your favorite.

4.  I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner.

5.  The deadline to enter is Sunday the 9th at 10pm.  The winner will be announced on Monday, May 10th – a perfect Mother’s Day present to one of you!

Make sure you also “like” my CB Portraits Fan Page so you will find out when we have additional contests and giveaways!

Jennifer - May 8, 2010 - 2:09 am

I Shared this post, as well, Bonnie!! Thanks for the introduction to a great local artist!

Jennifer - May 8, 2010 - 2:11 am

Love the shoulder bag in patchwork and multi.

Janell Almodovar - May 9, 2010 - 12:56 am

Love it! Thank you so much, Bonnie!

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