Featured Artisan Spotlight: Jenny Bendel, Flirty Sanchez
Posted by ArtFireContent on 03/04/2011 at 10:54:56
Please start by telling us a little about yourself and your studio.
My name is Jenny and Flirty Sanchez is my long-time-coming offering of the treats I've been making for family and friends for years. I use only the best organic, natural, fair trade and vegan ingredients sourced from my local food co-op. I have also sourced eco-friendly packaging - from 100% biodegradable and compostable cello bags and cellophane, to natural fiber ribbons from the Distant Village Fair Trade Program and re-usable market baskets. I'm trying to save the world, one order of vegan goodness at a time.
What role does your family play in your art?
My boyfriend is on tour most of the year, so aside from his undying support, his biggest role is staying out of my way! My mom has been my biggest cheerleader and product tester. If it doesn't live up to mom's tastes, I know I have to go back to the drawing board. My faithful companion Waylon, the 110-pound Rottie who is pictured in my logo, keeps me smiling when an experiment goes awry, or when $20 worth of walnuts becomes squirrel food.
Where do you live and what is it like?
I currently live in Austin, Texas although I'm a native Seattle-ite and perpetual gypsy having lived in Los Angeles, Boston, New York - I'm always up for a new adventure. Austin is a creative, progressive little oasis with a great laid-back feel and a lot of "buy local" pride.
Where did you learn your medium?
I've been a vegetarian for more than 25 years. When I first started out, I had very little understanding of how to eat right, I just knew I didn't want my diet to include cruelty and factory farms. I also wanted to prove to my friends and loved ones that "vegan" didn't have to mean options of cardboard or lettuce, as their perceptions led them to believe. Over the years, I've worked and reworked and reworked again those childhood favorite recipes, as well as come up with my own. Foods that are sinfully delicious with healthy, organic and cruelty-free ingredients don't have to be mutually exclusive.
How did you come to selling online and find a home on ArtFire?
I originally started a shop on Etsy to sell off a lifetime, or half a lifetime anyway, of collected artifacts, antiques, family heirlooms, vintage clothes and kitsch to raise money for my move to Europe. Once I started listing my edible goodness, orders for my chewy bars started flying off the virtual shelves! I really wanted to broaden my sales to an open marketplace and found my way to ArtFire. I'm really impressed with the marketing tools and support available to ArtFire artisans as well.
Why do you think that buying and selling handmade products benefits society?
One of the biggest voices we have is how and where we spend our dollars. Creating a mutually supportive community, whether it is your online community or your local community, means keeping more dollars close to home for a better economy, higher quality, and a chance for more independent artists to have their voices heard.