“She believed she could, so she did.” Those are the words Nicole Stenger, owner of the new Studio Lush lives by. Nicole always dreamed of owning her own salon, and that dream became a reality when she opened the doors to her studio in October of 2016. Read more to learn about everything Studio Lush has to offer, including my accessory line!
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Thanks for taking the time to learn more about FENNO FASHION & the story behind our business!
I don't know about you, but I love to know more about the local businesses I support. I enjoy learning why the business owners do what they do, how they got to where they are in their journey (it's usually an interesting story!) and all of the people behind the business that make it run successfully.
My husband John and our 11 year-old son Myles and I live on the West Side of Cincinnati after building our home in 2016. We loved the idea of starting with a blank slate so to speak, and has given us endless opportunities for DIY projects. Honestly, I don't think our list of ideas will ever be completed, but we enjoy turning our house into our unique home.
In high school, I was the events coordinator at Michael's Arts & Crafts store. We needed a jewelry instructor and I couldn't find anyone willing to take on the role. With that said, I took it upon myself to learn the craft and start teaching classes. I fell in love.
It was my dream to attend Savannah College of Art & Design. There were many specialty majors to earn a BFA in, but after falling in love with designing and creating jewelry, I knew that I wanted to study fashion & accessory design.
While in Savannah attending SCAD, I transferred to the Michael's store there in continued to teach.
My husband also attended the prestigious art & design college and we moved to Austin, Texas months after graduating for his first job. Due to a lack of opportunities to find a job in the fashion industry outside of NYC, I mixed my dream of being an entrepreneur with my love of accessories.
In 2007, MEW FASHION was registered as a legal business and so the journey began (The name of the business changed to FENNO FASHION after John and were married in 2008).
Though I've been creating and designing accessories for 20 years, this hasn't always been my full time job.
When my husband John and I relocated from Austin to my hometown of Cincinnati, the business lead to some incredibly exciting job opportunities including having a radio segment on Cincinnati's Top 40 station, Q102. I also was afforded the opportunity to showcase my fashion tips & DIY projects regularly on national television (see the 12 coolest moments of my career below).
But ultimately, my passion lies within running my own business. Everything from the relationships that've flourished with customers and fellow business owners, to truly enjoying the creative process and designing jewelry and accessories I know that will be treasured.
In 2016, I took the leap and decided to solely run FENNO FASHION.
Fast forward to the present and I have an amazing team, couldn't be happier with my decision to add the fashion truck and enjoy working in my beautiful and inviting studio.
Just for fun, I thought I'd share the top 12 coolest moments in my career!
Trying out for the TV show Project Runway in Chicago.While I didn't obviously make the show, having the opportunity to have Tim Gunn critique my work was a pretty awesome experience in itself!
Designing & creating a wedding dress entirely from scratch. The bride gave me a few ideas of what she was looking for and from there, I sketched out a few designs, made the patterns, selected the fabric and sewed it all together.
I love how the dress turned out however, it helps when you're working with a beautiful bride.
Showcasing my work at the inaugural Austin Fashion Week, where I taught jewelry design classes and had the opportunity to walk the red carpet with celebrities!
Personality Holly Morgan and I shared daily fashion trends, beauty from the standard to the obscure, DIY projects and trending topics from the perspective of two working moms. Here’s a few sound clips from when I was the fashion editor for Cincinnati’s Top 40 station, Q102 (WKRQ).
Having the opportunity to interview a lot of cool people, such as Nick & Drew Lachey from 98° & yep, even Tyra Banks!
Teaching over 75 classes about jewelry design in 4 different states. I've taught everyone from the littlest of kids to girl scout troops and ladies looking to take on a new hobby.
For a short period of time, I had a handbag line I titled "UREC," which stands for Up-Cycled, Recycled & Eco-Conscious. The handbags were made using recycled materials coupled with my own patterns & designs. They were so much fun to make, but oh so time-consuming!
Having had the opportunity to be a personality for Q102 & Cincysavers.
Aside from talking about DIY projects & fashion on the air every day, I also had the opportunity to partner with many local & national brands including IKEA, Michaels, Project Runway, Johnson & Johnson & more!
Being featured on the front page of our local newspaper.
I love giving back to the community that I love so much, so I was honored when our local newspaper featured the biz when I donated jewelry to Cincinnati Children's Hospital. I felt so good about my decision to give back and know it made others feel good too.
Being able to say I'm a truck driver.
Who knew starting a career in jewelry design could lead to driving around an old plumbing truck, am I right? However, I still don't like to drive it on the interstates if I can help it.
To sum things up, it's pretty incredible how sharing your passion for life’s adventures can lead to such exciting opportunities! Not only that, but I'm also incredibly grateful for the deep-rooted friendships I have and the amazing community that has supported me from the very beginning.
Things haven't always been easy.
I grew up in Cincinnati, but at age 12, relocated to Tallahassee, Florida after my dad was accepted to Florida State University to earn his PhD.
It was a really hard adjustment and missed my life in Cincinnati so much. I battled with depression for years, but then I met in future husband in an advanced placement art class in 9th grade. I still can't describe how grateful I am that I met my soulmate at such a young age and confirms my belief that everything happens for a reason.
We hopped around for a bit; moving to Savannah, Georgia for college and then Austin, Texas for John's first job.
But ultimately I feel like I was destined to be back in Cincinnati. We bought our first home back on the West Side and John started working remotely. It worked out, because 15 years later, he's still working for the same company but now as the Design Director!
Our son Myles was born in 2011 and that's when my health started to decline. Being in active labor for 56 hours was followed by a diagnosis of peripartum cardiomyopathy.
Sparing details, that led to six additional surgeries and a lot of health issues over the next 5 years. Unfortunately, I even had an emergency surgery while vacationing in Belize!
But you know what, I wouldn't change a thing. These life experiences, although terrifying and unfortunate, shaped me into the person I am today.
I gained a new perspective on life. Truly. Our family is stronger than ever. I'm stronger than ever. And it made me realize life is short and I want to spend my time the way I want to spend it. This made the decision for me to ramp up FENNO FASHION and worksolely for myself.