From Shelburne to British Vogue

by Lettie Stratton

Jenna Lindemann has lived in Shelburne her entire life, but her hand-made tote bags are quite the world travelers.

Lindemann opened a business called Lindemann’s Totes in January 2011 after discovering her passion for design and fashion at Champlain Valley Union High School. A 2010 CVU graduate, Lindemann explains, “I took a sewing class my freshman year and discovered I was bad at making clothes so I thought I’d try handbags!”

Last month, Lindemann received an email from British Vogue saying that her bags would be featured in the October issue of the magazine on the advertorial page. “I don’t think it has fully hit me yet!” she said. “When I got the email, I didn’t think it was real. This is really a dream come true.”

Lindemann’s bags have already been bought by customers out of state and overseas, but the attention from British Vogue is sure to garner more business for Lindemann’s Totes from outside Vermont. The magazine contacted Lindemann after finding her on Twitter (@lindemannstotes) where she had a link to her products on www.handbago.com.

“I think my business is growing significantly,” she said. “I’d like to open a store in the next three years.” Her bags are all handmade and limited editions. “I usually make two or three of each bag. I don’t mass produce,” Lindemann said. “Fabrics are the inspiration for my bags. I find fabrics I’m in love with and go from there.” Lindemann said she tries to find and buy her fabrics locally but sometimes goes on special trips out of the area to find new materials. She has been paying attention to New York Fashion Week but sometimes doesn’t agree with the current trends. “I’m not a fan of orange!” she said.

Lindemann’s Totes is operated almost entirely by Lindemann herself. “Sewing is in my genes,” she said, adding that her mom sews a lot. “If I have a vision that I can’t execute fully, my mom helps out. I’m still working on zippers!” She’s starting to branch out from creating  handbags to make key chains and change purses, and has plans to possibly make iPhone and iPad covers in the future.

You can find a variety of Lindemann’s bags at local craft shows and at her booth at the Burlington Farmer’s Market. She’s also involved with the Vermont Artisan Gallery in the Burlington Mall. To learn more or place an order for your very own hand-made tote bag, visit www.lindemannstotes.com.

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