Being interviewed always gives me the warm fuzzies inside, so I wanted to be able to spread that loving feeling. It only made sense to start with the company whose praise I sing the highest- both from the owner being one of the sweetest humans on Earth and from her shirts actually being something I wear on a daily basis because they are as soft as my dresses. Everyone, meet one of my Brooklyn Boss Babe Bestie's, Jordan Dene Ellis aka Jordandené
Tell us a little about yourself!
I grew up in small town Pennsylvania, got married at 21, and moved to New York to be a teacher. I never actually started teaching and instead nannied for a few years while simultaneously figuring out how to run a business. I spend my free time watching all the TV (Marvel’s Netflix shows, Game of Thrones, and low budget true crime shows are my faves) and throwing ridiculous theme parties. I also obsessively go to comedy shows because they’re my happy place.
Why did you decide to start your own business, and is it your full-time job?
I started Jordandené as an Etsy shop in 2011, and it took over as my full time job about two years ago.
What is your most popular item vs your favorite?
My most popular and favorite item are the same: my hand-lettered screen printed tanks. The most popular design changes every few months, and my favorite designs usually come out in the shirt of the month.
Owning a small business is incredibly rewarding but can sometimes be viewed through rose tinted glasses. What are some challenges you face? Do you have any advice for others thinking of starting their own?
Think really hard about why you really want to start your own business. If your reasons are to make a lot of money or have a lot of freedom, know that those things can take a really really long time and might not actually happen. It's really easy to feel alone and like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, and so many things can go wrong (and those things can end up costing a lot of money). My best advice is to find a community of people from the beginning who can offer their advice and support you through all of your ups and downs.
What gives you the drive to keep doing what you do?
Honestly, my customers. I never intended to run a business, and I don't think it's the only career I could be happy in. But, I’ve made so many incredible connections, friendships, opportunities, and memories that I don’t think I could ever leave.
What is your favorite convention that you vend at?
I have a bunch of favorite conventions for different reasons. LI Who is my favorite after-hours convention experience. NYCC is great because literally everyone is there, and I get to meet so, so many people. MISTI-Con was my first convention and feels like home. AwesomeCon is my favorite "big" convention because the staff cares so much and makes everything run as smoothly and easily for vendors as possible. Honestly, I just love being at cons.
What comic book/ nerd culture character do you identify with the most and why?
Strangely I don’t really identify with characters in other stories - I don’t know know if it’s a weird quirk, but I’m purely an audience member with whatever I’m reading and watching. My younger self could relate to Hermione Granger (but not completely; I’m such a Hufflepuff!).
Why is it important to you to support other women in the industry? Name drop a favorite boss babe that isn't Little Petal.
My business would be no where near what it is today without the support of other women in the industry, and I could never make that a one-sided relationship. Elena at The Colorful Geek is the only reason I was brave enough to enter the world of conventions, and my business would be so much different without everything she's done for me. My geek boss hero Allison at RockLove Jewelry has taken me under her wing in the kindest way and walked me through so many situations. There are too many women to name, from people who run conventions to other vendors to geek chic bloggers to cool women who just hang out in the industry, and I'll do everything I can to give back as much to the community as they've given me.
In fifty years, if the world remembered any one thing about you and your business, what would you want it to be?
I want to be a bright spot in people's memories: whether by a favorite product that made a great gift (for you or someone else), a positive customer service interaction, help we give through one of our charity partnerships, or knowing that hanging out in our corner of the internet is a safe and welcoming place.
Check out all of Jordan's amazing designs at www.jordandene.com
Don't forget to check out our Awesome Con Geek Girl After Party ! Jordan will be raffling off a prize of 6 months worth of her Shirt of the Month!!!