Founder Stories – Jenny Mein Designs
JENNY MEIN DESIGNS
I started Jenny Mein Designs (www.jennymeindesigns.com) when I worked as a food editor for a glossy lifestyle and travel magazine in London. The magazine promoted the Caribbean islands and I wrote about Caribbean food and devised new and modern recipes using traditional ingredients. I also cooked and styled the photographic shoots for the magazine.
One day we were doing a special summery tropical spread and I wanted to use botanical plates decorated with tropical fruit and flowers for the photographic shoot. I searched the shops in London but could not find a single botanical plate with tropical fruit or flowers and so decided I would produce my own botanical china collections using my hand paintings of the fruit and flowers I remember from my childhood family garden in Jamaica to decorate the china.
As a child, I was always drawing and painting especially during the long summer school holidays at home on the secluded old sugar estate where we lived in the country. I brushed up on my painting skills attending classes at Hobby Ceram International School of Decorative Arts www.hobbyceram.com which was founded in Milan, Italy by Donatella Viggiani. The school specialises in botanical painting on porcelain. In 1998 Jenny Mein Designs was launched at Olympia, London.
Jenny Mein Designs is an online e-commerce business, but we do attend fairs and charity events to show the china collections and engage with people. We have customers from the Caribbean, Canada, USA, UK and Europe who seek a piece of china that is special, of good quality and beautifully made to remind them of a memorable visit to the Caribbean, as a gift and/or of their own childhood in the Caribbean. I am also delighted that many of our customers are young people buying the china for their parents to remind them of the Caribbean.
The china collections include the “Jamaican Ackee” (the ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica), “Breadfruit”, the fruit from the Breadfruit tree brought to the Caribbean in the 18th century by the British explorer Captain William Bligh of the mutiny on board HMS Bounty fame and “Caribbean Garden”.
Jenny Mein Designs are carefully created and are produced exclusively under patent and manufactured using traditional methods in Stoke-on-Trent, England the home of the British china industry.
A few years ago, we took on the services of To-Market, a specialist marketing company run by the indefatigable Jo Sealy. They were essential in helping with building relationships on Social Media both on Twitter & Facebook helping us attract new customers, creating content and keeping posts relevant to our audiences. They have helped by keeping us visible in the market place and with an increasing number of businesses competing online it has been immensely worthwhile.