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Thursday, June 23, 2016

james dry goods

Ok, so you need a bag that's big enough to haul your stuff, machine washable, AND adorable?! That may sound like an impossible find, but we can help - try james dry goods. James dry goods is a design studio owned by the inspiring Jennifer Coonce and we are so thrilled to be partnering with them! Today we have an interview with Jennifer herself - learn everything from how james dry goods got started to how she makes the bags below!

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Oklahoma and after graduate school, I moved to Texas. After a year, I had the opportunity to move to New York City and thought I would stay for a couple of years…that was 15 years ago. 

I had careers in technology, consulting, and fashion. Now, I focus full-time on james dry goods.

What is james dry goods?

james dry goods is a design studio based in Brooklyn, NY…run by me!

If you are jennifer, who is james?

My great-grandfather, named James, ran a general store in Texas prior to the Great Depression. My father and brother are also named James.

When I moved to Brooklyn, I decided to start a blog called james dry goods, highlighting the amazing boutiques, fashion, and experiences that honored the idea of a modern general store.

As the blog grew, I started painting and found that I loved creating goods as much as I loved sharing them!


Why the extra large tote?

For the past four years, I have been carrying a very masculine market tote to the grocery store and farmers market.  The bag was heavy and didn’t reflect my style.  I wanted a bag that was lightweight, but still strong - and of course, pretty! 

I started carrying my shibori tote to the store, the beach and just running errands!  When people stopped me and asked about the bag, I decided to start making the bags for everyone.

How did you learn how to shibori? Did you take a class?

My mother is a fiber artist and my father is a fixer - so when I decided I needed summer errand tote, I made one. My parents are great resources, but so is google! I love the feeling of accomplishment when you get when you imagine a concept, hit some roadblocks, fight through them, and figure it out! The finished product is fantastic, but the work feels pretty great too!

Where do you make the bags?

I make them in Brooklyn…in my apartment. I have a very patient husband.


How do you make the bags?

I found a company in California to sew the bags. When the bags arrive at my apartment, they must be washed to remove the sizing on the fabric. Once the bags are washed, they must be dried and pressed.

To shibori the bags, I fold and bind the bags, apply the dye, and let the dyed bag rest overnight.

The next day, I rinse the bag, remove the bindings, and rinse the bags again. Then, the bags are washed, dried, pressed, and branded to make them ready to ship.

From beginning to end, one bag is a four day project - thank goodness I can make more than one at a time. While it is a very time intensive process, the finished bags bring me so much joy that the time to make them is worth it!

How are girls using the bags?

The bags are 100% cotton and can be machine washed, so people are carrying them everywhere from the lake to the beach to the market! And the bags are compact enough to fold up into their coordinating pouch, which makes them easy to store when not in use.

What’s next for james dry goods?

I am working on a few projects that may become the fall collection. james dry goods is about making practical, functional, and beautiful items that I need and can’t find in the market - so the list of potential products grows everyday.

And I would love to get back into blogging and writing again. I am so lucky to experience some really cool events and places and while creating the bags is great fun, I get a real kick out of sharing everything else that is happening around me!

Shop james dry goods here:

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