Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenny Gonzalez.
Jenny, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Jenny G Designs is a small Houston based company operated by my husband, Raul Gonzalez and I. We started Jenny G Designs in 2012 after years of DIY-ing our 1950’s home in Meyerland. Upon completion of a full remodel, we channeled those talents toward antique furniture restoration and design. Although we had no experience in the industry, I was completely infatuated with before and after and the idea of making old things beautiful and exactly how I saw them in my design magazines.
We were both “do it your-self-ers” and decided to follow my passion of antiquing…well… I decided… and dragged my talented hubby with me. (My husband has a knack for woodworking among many other talents that I am sure he wishes he would have never shared with me…. lol). I took an upholstery class, a furniture painting class, read books, and YouTube everything else and that is where our high-level crafts began. I made my rounds during the antique week in Round Top, Tx and decided to ask the manager of the venue, La Bahia, how I could be a dealer there.
I began showing and selling my labor-intensive creations there in 2013 after moving into my first antique mall in Navasota, TX. Since then our business has evolved from various other booth spaces to a brick and mortar store shared with our dear friends and owners of ReCoop Designs and together we continue to show as dealers at Blue Hills during antique week spring and fall shows. This journey would not have been possible without a lot of God’s good grace and the help of Cooper Meaders, owner of Recoop Designs, Joey McCann, owner of MCCANIX, Clover and Rachel Carroll, owner of News Story Media, my dad, Randy Campbell who let me use his barn when flooding in Houston did not allow for me to work, and of course my husband Raul, who is my rock and strength in all things that don’t work out as planned.
Has it been a smooth road?
Our journey has been really challenging to say the least. Being a dealer is so hard, especially when you and your husband are doing every single layer of the business. This entails tirelessly hunting for quality furniture that has room to make a profit, moving the furniture back and forth, refurbishing every layer of the furniture (stripping, taking apart and regluing, repairing, painting, sealing, and reupholstery), setting up your booths both at shows or any other space that you sell, maintaining stock, redecorating, marketing, website and social media, tracking inventory, bookkeeping, taxes, and well… the list never ends.
There were hurdles in every layer of this such as unexpected illness and injuries, projects not turning out as planned and needing to redo, balancing this full-time business with our other primary job’s full time work schedules, inclement Houston weather that disrupted our work consistently, working in buildings with no ac or concrete floors because that is the building we could afford, miscommunications and failures, learning about flaws with European antiques such as powder post beetle (aka woodworms), and lots of sweat and tears… like real tears.
This area really is the most interesting piece of the journey. If I only had enough time to share the details of this section I could probably write a very interesting and inspiring novel and not an article. We have had to recruit various friends and our son, Tyler to help us just survive and persevere all of the obstacles…. and as my son put it…” Jen…. could you have picked a harder hobby…like who does this?” … lol… yep… that about sums that up.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Jenny G Designs – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We focus on restoring French and European antiques to a more modern but timeless appearance. I like to combine linen, rust, and painted aged patinas to create a soft room with strong architectural components. My husband completely re-glues all the joinery and ensures the pieces are stable and function properly. He has even rebuilt legs and re-carved pieces to ensure the integrity of the piece will last for another 100 or more years. I remove finishes and usually paint the pieces to create a gustavian style finish which I see in designer blogs, magazines, and fine importers of high-end antiques. I then reupholster the chairs or settees in neutral linens.
To my husband and I, these pieces are our version of art… we put our heart and soul into every detail. One of my best girlfriends, Darleen, who comes to help me from time to time says, “Jenny… you are such a perfectionist… you really care about these pieces and want them to be perfect”. Well, that is somewhat true. I have pieces in my home that I really love. I want whoever ends up with one of my projects to say, “I love this… it is my favorite”. One of our future endeavors is to teach others how to refurbish their own family heirlooms or pieces they find. We are happy to share that we will soon be offering milk paint classes at our new location in Oak Forest.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What I love best about Houston are the city parks. I love, love, love what the city has done to provide us with beautiful spaces to recreate! I have the awesome privilege of living near all the major parks- Buffalo Bayou along Allen Parkway, Memorial Park, Hermann Park, and Levy Park. I really try to be there as often as I can. Maybe it is the small-town country girl in me, but I just love being out in nature.
One drawback I find in living in a big city is that we are all spread out and so busy working and we don’t get to connect the way I would love to connect. I always have a desire to connect to people especially people my age that share the same interests. In small towns, there are minimal things to do and places to go so you see each other pretty regularly at what venues there are.
This leads me to my second favorite thing in Houston which is the small business owned coffee shops such as Slowpokes and Blonde Biscotti. I find coffee shops have a way to connect people and make you feel part of the “family”. I love that we have a city full of great quality coffee that is owned and operated by great quality people that know you by name!
- Address: 3508 Oak Forest Dr. Houston, TX 77018
- Website: www.jennygonzalezdesigns.com
- Phone: 346-352-4921
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/jennygdesigns
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennygonzalezdesigns
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/jenny-g-designs-houston
- Other: http://www.pinterest.com/byjennygdesigns
Jennifer Meaders, Cooper Meaders (Owners of ReCoop Designs); Raul Gonzalez, Jenny Gonzalez (Owners of Jenny G Designs), Kristen Meaders