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by Jen Fox 6 min read

** This blog post is a collection of several posts created in late January 2022 to announce an upcoming brand refresh & name change!! Here's all the backstory info about what led to this change **

 modern folk artist Jen Fox

PART I: The One Where There Are Vague Indications That Something New Is Coming⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Something good is coming next week… when I say “good” I mean that it’s something that feels right. There’s actually nothing physical coming next week (but new goods are coming soon! Very soon). But there is a set of intentions, a clearer focus, and the start of a journey in a direction that I’m REALLY excited to take.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Vague? Yes, perhaps! To be honest, I’ve been quiet here for weeks as I’ve spent a lot of time in deep introspection. I tend to get that way during the changing of seasons or shifting of calendars, but this time felt different. Lots of deep conversations, long walks in silence, journaling, reviewing the states of things both internal and external - have all started to align into the same direction.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Depending on how long you’ve been around here, we may just be acquainting ourselves, or maybe you’ve been along since the beginning. Thank you for being here with me - it is an honor.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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It’s worth starting from the beginning, reviewing the steps that I’ve taken in my creative journey that have led me to this point - it’s the process I went through during my weeks of introspection. And since you’re still reading, maybe you’re interested? I’ll give you the clif notes…

 artist jen fox folk art fabric collection licensed

PART II: The One Where I Fill In the Background Story⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Somewhere in 2005 I bought a sewing machine for $70 and sewed up some curtains. I knew the basics of sewing, but I didn’t know much. I checked out books from my library and sewed through some purses and bag projects until I got the gist of the basics. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Later, in 2009, I went back to school for interior design and learned architectural drafting software. I worked at a fabric store during school, and on the weekends I set up at my local farmers’ market and sold purses. Eventually I began printing out copies of my self-drafted bag patterns along with my typed out instructions & how-to illustrations and started selling those.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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And let me tell you -- mid-20s Jen was pretty darn fearless. I walked straight into every quilt shop I could find and pitched my stacks of sewing patterns. I usually left with a sale. My confidence grew, and I started to plan my next move.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I decided I wanted to sew bags made out of my own fabric and I put together a portfolio of designs I had created -- I signed up to exhibit at a trade show with my patterns, I got my designs printed on fabrics, and made up all of my designs in my bags to fill up a whole booth.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I walked up to every single fabric manufacturer on the floor over the course of the weekend, and walked away with a contract to design a line of quilting cottons. Truly a dream!

 transfer embellish stitch artist jen fox

Part III: The One Where I Tell You About Past Successes and It Seems Like Bragging, But They Actually Felt Like Failures⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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My line of quilting cottons that I dreamed up was released into the world in 2014, and I was so excited to touch and hold designs that had once existed only in my mind. What a rush. I rode that high straight to my next big thing I wanted to check off my list -- write a sewing book!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I quickly got to developing a concept for a book that taught fabric embellishment techniques like stenciled designs, embroidery, applique and more. I mocked up projects, storyboarded an idea, and pitched this idea to publishers. And yes! I got a contract to write a book alongside my friend Sarah Case with an amazing publisher. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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My own fabric line, AND my name on the cover of a book? It was so much hard work to get there, and it really felt like I was on the brink of really coming into my own in this career in the fabric & sewing world that I was dreaming of.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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It’s honestly taken me a while to really articulate what happened next.

 folk artist Jen Fox fabric embellishment

PART IV: The One Where I Finally Start Getting to The Actual Point⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Around the same time, my personal life was falling apart. My tolerance for risk plummeted. My fearlessness & confidence started seeping away. I had these two amazing opportunities -- my own fabric line & a book!!! -- in my hands yet I couldn’t seem to make it stick.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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In retrospect, it’s more simple for me to see what happened. At the time I thought I was a failure for letting these things slide away. Now I can more clearly see that I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. I didn’t have a community of other people who were doing similar things that I was. I had no connections with others who were building a solo creative career in the same way, and I just had no idea how to keep up the momentum without getting burned out. So I let it fizzle. And the fabric line and the book were honestly a bit of a flop. It still makes me tear up thinking about it.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I still knew how to sew, so I took a handful of steps back and went back to selling my handmade bags at farmers markets. Slowly but surely I built up a lovely local following of customers who were/are SO encouraging of my work. This was the beginning of Foxly Handmade!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I’ve pivoted in big ways in the last year. This past year, I discontinued all of the guest artist zipper pouch collections I had done with a handful of truly amazing local artists. It was HARD to let that go. But it no longer fit with the vision that began to develop for me.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Last year at almost exactly this time, I tentatively shared my own artwork with you. It was the first time I had drawn anything at all since that fabric collection flop - Unbeknownst to you, it felt like a referendum on my own skills and my own talents and if I actually DID have what it takes.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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And you, my customers and friends, were supportive, kind, encouraging. And you bought my art! A dream!

 folk artist jen fox greeting cards

Part IV: The One Where I Tell You What’s Going On


I fully pivoted this brand to focus on my own artwork 5 months ago. I feel a new life in this business that I felt had flatlined -- and I feel you responding to it.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I’ve struggled with calling myself “artist” because I had an ill-conceived notion that I had to have my style fully figured out and refined before I deserved that title. But you know what? I’m absolutely sure that what I create next week, next month, next year will be different than it is today, and that my style and skills will evolve. That’s ok. I’m still an artist.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Ready for me to get to the darned point already?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Pivoting my brand to focus on my own artwork has opened up my mind to dreaming about all of the possibilities that creating my own artwork brings (beyond sewing bags). I’m still focused on designing physical goods for you that I’ll have stocked on my website and in retail stores. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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But I’ve started to allow myself to dream again -- to regain some of that fearlessness (see Part II) -- and say that I am deserving of achieving big goals and doing hard things. I’m working diligently over the next few months to develop my art portfolio to begin pitching my designs to manufacturers who make things like fabrics, home decor, stationary, and more. Will I have the opportunity to land another contract? I sure think so, in due course. And this time, I’ll know what to do with it, thanks to the support that I’ve built around me since those beginning days of entrepreneurship. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Writing out this literal saga maybe wasn’t needed to explain my next decision (and bless you if you're still reading), but now you know why I felt like a name change is in order. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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It will be no surprise to many, I’m sure. So -- what’s the new name gonna be???



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