This week we’re headed to sunny St. Petersburg, Florida to meet Janie Allen, the creator of the original Snuppets™ snack puppets. Janie says the idea came to her when “…My kiddos started going off to school with packed lunches and I wanted to instill the important habit of reusing rather than disposing. I figured if I made something fun, it wouldn’t get left behind in the lunchroom!” Her product line has evolved over time but always with one thing in mind: to create eco-conscious products and solutions for families. We’re so excited to introduce the Snuppet brand to our Spoonflower community. Let’s jump right in!
My day starts with…
“Coffee, kids, dogs and then, more coffee. Oh, and usually some reggae music!”
When did you fall in love with making goods?
“I have always been a maker and dabbled in everything from stationery to plushies to hair accessories. When we started our family, I bought my first sewing machine because I wanted to make some baby clothes—it ignited a huge new love and interest in ‘making’! I am a self-taught seamstress with the help of YouTube and a lot of patience. With the ability to design my own fabric on Spoonflower, the possibilities are endless!”
When I’m in my studio, I feel…
“Stoked because it means I either have orders to make or new ideas brewing!”
Who or what inspires your work and why?
“The environment inspires my work. My goal is to always create products that are eco-sensitive solutions for life that reduce single-use plastic! I like to step outside of my studio and visit my garden as a reminder of what should always guide my business decisions.”
What’s in your toolbox as a maker?
“My Mac computer with Illustrator software (which is how I design my fabric), my super-reliable sewing machine, sharp scissors, a yoga mat in case I need to break/brainstorm and my super kind and patient husband and three children who have become my built in focus group at home. I have kids ranging from 10 to 16 and a husband approaching 50 who will happily pack their lunch in Snuppets to give me feedback. They’re the best and have everything to do with new ideas that come to life in the Snuppets studio.”
My proudest accomplishment over the last year is…
“My Reusable Straw Pouch. I love the fabric that I created but even more so, I love that so many people are committed to giving up plastic straws! The pouch includes stainless steel straws for people to bring with them while on the go, and I am so encouraged by how my customers have embraced this idea!”
What piece of your wardrobe best represents your style?
“My (very broken-in) jean jacket best represents my style. It has traveled on my back for years and that shows with its patches and holes. It has character and is truly one of a kind, which is reflective of my goal with products that I design.”
Before starting a small business, I wish someone had told me…
“That I would be thinking about my work 24/7. When I am not sewing and designing, I am thinking about sewing and designing!”
How does Spoonflower meet your business needs?
“My business would truly not work without Spoonflower. The fabric that I design is the foundation of my business and having it printed in the U.S. with eco-friendly inks/fabric is the only way I would do what I do, and thanks to Spoonflower this is possible.”
What has been an important resource for you as a small business owner and why?
“My friend Surya, who is a brilliant designer. She not only inspires me artistically but she is always willing to share her creative energy and give me advice/feedback on new ideas.”
My favorite Spoonflower textile to work with is…
“Linen Cotton Canvas Ultra, because it prints and sews beautifully. The quality, texture and weight of the fabric works perfectly for my products, and I would be lost without it.”
Let’s close with a few fun facts about you….
“I like to stand on my head for (at least) two minutes a day. I feel 10 years younger when I come back up on my feet! It doesn’t last long but I revel in the moment. I get really wacky when there is a full moon; it sends me spiraling into creative overload! I either rearrange furniture in my house, make new curtains, paint a room or come up with a new product! My best ideas are born under a bright night sky. Lastly, I still have a dream of being a fashion designer when I grow up! I have a sketchbook full of ideas and may just unveil a Snuppet-inspired eco-clothing brand one day!”
Janie has more ideas on the horizon for ways to reduce our carbon footprint and has recently designed some larger sized Snuppets that could be used for goggles/sunscreen, toiletries, art supplies or whatever one might need while on the go. Be sure to keep up with Janie on Instagram and Facebook, and while you’re at it, be sure to snag a Snuppet for yourself!