We had the good fortune of connecting with Jess Conti and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jess, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I feel that my success is directly tied to my desire to continuously develop my craft. I am constantly engaged in improving my skills and expanding my design capabilities. As my skills have improved, it has afforded me a way to interact with my customers to create pieces that reflect both my aesthetic and the design features that they would most like to have in a bag.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
After college I took a job working for a tailor to improve my skills on a lifelong love of sewing. It was there that I started to play with leather, and something about the medium just seemed to click for me. My leather goods can be rustic or refined depending on the style and I love to create depending on how the particular piece of leather feels to me.
I have had to learn everything about working with leather through trial and error, and sometimes by taking risks with design ideas or materials. Until 2020 my business was built on the back of small markets, pop ups, art shows and festivals. It was a lot of travel time and physical work on top of days spent designing and making product.
I was fortunate to open a small retail showroom and studio space in the last year in Santa Barbaras Funk Zone. This space has allowed me to both survive the pandemic but to also connect more closely with my immediate community. It has been a total game changer to invite people into my workspace and share my craft.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Santa Barbara is really just endless in what it has to offer. I obviously love the Funk Zone neighborhood so I would suggest lunch at Mony’s tacos or Sandwiches from Metropolis fine foods. Rincon Brew is always a favorite or Fox wine, and all of these spots are walkable! If your in Santa Barbara taking some time at the beach is just a give in. I also love shopping with local jeweler Jules by the Sea for beach inspired jewelry and gifts. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Tom….My Greatest Cheerleader My community of Santa Barbara that continues to value and support my small business