JustLuxe: Have you ever faced any obstacles running your business? If so, how did you overcome them?
Janessa Leone: Oh man, every step of the way. I studied English in college, and had never even taken a business class in my life. I didn’t know what I was doing when I started, and I still don’t in a lot of ways. I am very fortunate to have friends in the industry and wonderful mentors. Whenever I am stuck I am not afraid to ask for help.
JL: Which hat from your current collection is your favorite and why?
Leone: I really love the Vera. It has a really cool downtown edge that fits my style perfectly. It also has a pretty funny way it came to be. I found a piece [of metal] off a broken belt when I was cleaning my closet out and I had an instant vision for it. I heated up the piece of metal over my oven stove and manipulated it to fit the hat. I sewed it to the hat with some leather scraps and went to a party that night. It’s our best seller and I laugh when I think of the unorthodox way it was designed.
JL: Where do you find inspiration?
Leone: I find a lot of inspiration in other works of art. I love to see people’s creations and be reminded that we are all living this life together. It’s really inspiring to me to see how different people express themselves and how unique we all are.
JL: Describe your target customer.
Leone: I design for the girls who are confident and chic, but who are too busy to spend hours on their outfits every day. I feel like hats are the best accessory to be effortlessly cool.