Leen Jean Studios
Tell us about your business.Leen Jean Studios is the result of a crazy dream I had to own my own stationery company. It started from my passion in art and paper, and my desire to learn calligraphy. Through a lot of hard work and sleepless nights, Leen Jean is what it is today. My name if you are wondering, is not a typo, but a combination of my grandmothers' names, as well as my own first and middle names–Kathleen & Jean. There is something so special about carrying the names of such amazing women, and my hope is that my stationery products are able to carry legacies and memories throughout time as well. I find timeless and true value in a written note, and my items are perfect for others who share that value. Each design is drawn by hand before even seeing a computer, and I work with a handful of Virginia-based printers and the highest quality of papers and envelopes.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.Humble beginnings–I started at the unsteady kitchen table in a one bedroom apartment. I love that though–because it reminds me to stay humble, and really no matter how far I've come, there is always room to grow and learn. Since then, my studio space has been dramatically upgraded. My husband and I live in a 1927 colonial-style home FULL of windows and sunlight, which I absolutely love. My workspace is a patio off the side of the house and it is full of character and of "me"– paper, inks and paints, brushes and a drafting table where I do most of my work. For me, it's an oasis where I can spend countless hours working on things I truly love.
What inspires you?Nature and the people around me. Fireflies, laughter, tears, a sunrise.
What makes your business stand out?I strive to create unique and meaningful art, and my style is different enough to stand on its own, yet classic enough to stand the test of time. That fact that I draw and paint my artwork by hand ensures that my work is truly one-of-a-kind.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Be YOU. That is the best thing you can ever be. Don't compare yourself to others, and don't be difficult to work with. Be grateful.
What does American Made mean to you?I am American Made. I grew up in the midwest, the daughter of a farmer who is the epitome of honest, hard work in this country. I was raised being told to reach for the stars–to dream big. But I was also taught what it means to work hard for things that matter and to not give up when it gets hard.
Mark Your Calendar
NOMINATIONSJun. 17, 2015
Nominate yourself or other aspiring entrepreneurs.Learn about American Made
VOTING BEGINSSep. 21, 2015
Vote for your favorite makers.
WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 23, 2015
2015 Editors' Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 7, 2015
Don’t miss our networking event and maker lecture series in New York City. Tickets available July 2015.