Behind every successful person, there’s a wingman.   Someone who sees the vision and believes in it, and is right there by your side, willing to help make it happen.   Someone who doesn’t want the spotlight on them, and often times cringes at the thought of it.   That person for me is Jana.

I’m not certain where I would be if she hadn’t walked into Plume in early January of 2013.  I’d say there’s a good chance I would have thrown in the towel by now.  I’m pretty sure the first or second time we met I started crying.   I was in a state of complete overwhelm at just 2 months in, the newness had worn off and I was starting to realize what I had gotten myself into.

At that time, Jana had been setting up shop over in the Marketplace Antique Mall.  I remember her booth because it was all totally branded with her trademark Studio J logo and it was super cute.

Jana had been using the Marketplace to showcase her custom slipcovers, pillows and other home decor as well as her Re-Design Business and her hand-knitted baby hats.  But the Marketplace had just announced they were closing.   Studio J needed a new home.   And I needed help.    Our mutual friend Courtney encouraged her to come check Plume out for the first time…but I know without a doubt, God led her here.  We could absolutely not be more different.   I won’t even go into all the ways that’s true.  But at heart, we both love old things and making them look pretty again.

Jana is a born & raised COMO girl who graduated from Hickman, then Mizzou as an Engineer.  After college she moved away and did a bunch of super secret complicated engineering stuff that I don’t understand.   Her career provided much opportunity but it wasn’t her passion. Jana tells the story about being a young girl playing barbies.  She could have cared less about what clothes and shoes Barbie had, but give her some cardboard boxes, paint, a banana split container and a few nicknacks and she would build and furnish Barbie a house that even her friend (who had THE actual Dream House) preferred.   That was the tiniest beginning of Studio J but it would take her 30 years, traveling around the world as an Engineer to realize that since leaving Columbia, she hadn’t really felt at home.  So she returned, and in 2011 after brushing up on her sewing, design & slipcover making skills she opened Studio J Home, an interior redesign business.

What is Re-Design?

Re-Design is a more budget friendly alternative than traditional interior design.  Re-Design starts with what you already own.  It’s walking into a room and figuring out what you want to keep, what you need to edit out, what you can use in a new way, in a new place.  Maybe making a few strategic purchases, but overall stretching those decorating dollars as far as possible.  And trust me, Jana is the most budget conscious designer you will ever work with.   In the picture below, some money was spent on overhead lighting and a new rug.  However, the most dramatic impact was made by removing the wallpaper and painting the walls a brighter color and taking the dated hutch off of the buffet and replacing it with a garage sale mirror given a fresh coat of paint.  The dishes that were previously displayed inside the hutch are now up on the wall instead.   Hardly any money spent and what a great example of re-design.

That is an example of what Jana likes to do when she’s in your home, and in many ways what she does at Plume.   She comes in and helps me take things that are in the shop and arrange them in new ways.   Things sell and we have holes and Jana comes in and figures out how to fill up the holes with something pulled from another area.  Or things don’t sell and start to look stale, so she comes in and just mixes everything up and it looks new again.  I’m telling you there are times when we’ve had something in the shop in one spot for several months with zero interest in it.  Jana will come in and move it to a new spot and all of the sudden the VERY next person who walks in the door buys it.

Over the last four years makers come in and makers go and through it all Jana makes sure everyone’s work is displayed in the best way possible.  And that includes her own creations.  I’m not sure if she had her choice she would still be making things.  She’d much rather be out in all of your homes helping you but when she’s not re-designing she brings some of her handmade things into Plume.  Pillows, Book Page Wreaths, Knitted baby hats.  Nursing Scarves…and lots of other things I’m sure I’ve forgotten.  But here are some pics to give you an idea.

Something new this year that we’re both excited to offer are her Studio J Keepsake Pillows. These are pillows that are made using sentimental garments or other textiles that customers drop off at Plume and Jana re-designs the materials and returns a finished pillow.  These shown below from the “Anywhere Chairs” from one customer’s son and daughter are probably my favorite.

She has also made them from T-shirts that commemorated a husband and wife’s 50th Wedding Anniversary…

And these from a father’s flannel shirts…

If you would like to have some Keepsake Pillows made, just drop your garments off at Plume and Jana will work her magic.  I always love seeing how she’ll deconstruct and rebuild.

Since Jana came on board we’ve done our own fair share of deconstructing and rebuilding.  We’ve torn down walls together.  Literally and Figuratively.  We’ve disassembled metal studded walls when we were creating the Gathering Room…and along the way I bombard her with lots of personal questions that she absolutely hates because she is the biggest introvert you’ve ever met.  We’ve papered an entire wall with sheet music.  We’ve glittered just about anything you can think of.  We’ve flipped the shop upside down a few times.   We’ve planned out classes at Plume.  She’s taught classes.   She’s helped me take Plume on the road and we built the most amazing display for my first (and probably only…) vendor road show.   She’s surprised me with any number of shop makeovers.   We’ve put up Christmas in the shop every year together.  And every year she has to talk me down off the ledge as I walk around in circles wondering what to do next while we have Christmas explosion all over the place.   And many times she’s come in and dismantled Christmas without my ever asking her too.  And believe me, when you’re in retail and you’ve just survived all that is December…the last thing you want to do on January 2nd is walk into to a shop full a Christmas.   She helped me give my friend a bedroom makeover when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  We created my office.  She thrift shops for bargains that she know’s I’ll love like my desk in my office.  She’s helped me learn Mailchimp.  She’s critiqued any number of things I’ve asked her opinion on.  I know if I want an honest, thorough evaluation of something, I give it to Jana.   She’s picked me up when I’ve been let down by others.  She’s always got my back even when I may act like I don’t need anyone to have my back.   We’ve made each other laugh, and we’ve made each other cry.   Anytime I’ve been weary, she’s been there.

How do you adequately thank someone for all that?   All I can do is share the love.   Spread the word.

It’s so hard to adequately put into words or show enough pictures of everything we’ve been through and the many ways Plume, and I, have grown since Jana came on board.   The good news is not only is Jana my wingman.  She can be yours too.  If you have gown weary of your home, whether it’s just one room, or the whole dang thing.  If you are feeling uninspired.  If you know you want to make changes but aren’t sure how or where to start.  If you are on a tight budget but have a lot of “junk”.  Please do yourself a favor and call her.  She will come in and dig through what you have.  She’ll raid your basement, closet, garage, storage room…and drag things out and help you use them in beautiful ways you would have never imagined on your own.

I know this because she helps me do all this at Plume…just about every single week.

So go on.  Email her ( Call her (573-445-5554)  Flag  her down when you see her in her little car, Pip.

You’ll be so glad you did!

Thank you Jana for all you’ve done…and all that’s to come.