Owner and Creative Director DeAnn's Journey
In honor of International Women's Day, I thought I would take the time to write up a post that helps you get to know me a bit more.
Although Kurt and I are equal partners in äventyr and in life, and without Kurt I would not be here; without me there really would be no äventyr. Initially by default, but now out of pride, I am happy to say äventyr is women-led ~ by me.
I am co-owner, and Creative Director at äventyr. I also design our products, make our products, source our materials, made our logo, design our marketing collateral, built and maintain our website, run our social, and am the one you usually see at events.
But before that, I did a lot of other things that built naturally upon themselves to get me to where I am today. There are two common threads in my life; biking and design. Sometimes during a journey it is not easy to see where you are headed, until somehow you get there...
I got my first bike in the 70's. This was MY bike! I got it on my birthday. I look back at that girl and see pride, excitement, freedom. The beginning...
In college I started taking art classes, majoring in Art Management. I went on to obtain a Master's Degree in Art History from the University of Denver. At DU I learned a lot about art history, but I also became a succinct writer. And I loved living in Colorado.
One of my favorite shows I worked on at SFMOMA; opening night of Glamour.
I worked in art museums (curatorial and registrar's offices) for the first part of my career [Des Moines Art Center (I left here to go to graduate school), Denver Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art]. I have been incredibly fortunate to spend a lot of time alone, up-close, with world-renown art; this had a tremendous impact on me. And I loved, loved, loved living in Mill Valley and working in San Francisco (the best of both worlds); I really did leave my heart here (for a very long time - too long).
The äventyr design studio before it became the äventyr design studio. SO FUNNY, it looks oddly similar today... sewing machine and bikes in the same spots!
I moved to Minnesota in 2006. When I got my first bonus at my new job, I bought myself a sewing machine. I also started feeling something new - depression.
Concurrently, I started a blog in 2007 to focus on positive inspiration. Fairly quickly the blog turned into a bicycle blog. Here I connected with other women, who like me had dreams of finding well-designed 'city bikes' we could ride (instead of men's road and mountain bikes); and what biking in the US could be like some day (spoiler ~ it's all happening now!!).
Ding, ding, ding, ding! Good Design + Sewing! This was the Pashley I had shipped here from Canada (they were not sold in the US). On the way home from the fabric store with more fabric to make...bags!
I kept sewing, and I bought a new bike, swooning over how pretty it was (but damn it hurt my back!). I really did not make the connection until recently, that I started making a lot of bags during this time and giving them to friends as gifts. I was making the connection that biking and sewing was making me happy - but I did not take either one seriously.
First big bike ride to 'the lake' (Minnetonka).
In 2009 I got my first road bike and my world changed. Oddly my back no longer hurt, and I found that little girl who used to ride that pink bike again. And I biked my way into great shape, physically and mentally.
Ending a night at Alt Summit all smiles.
In 2012, for my 40th Birthday I took myself to a Design Conference (Alt Summit), because it was about what I loved - Design, Communications, Blogging. I had no idea how great, and formative the experience would be. I went back again in 2016.
Back in San Francisco, my happy place, for a work trip. 2012.
2006-2017 I worked at small local companies overseeing product development for major retail customers. I was traveling consistently, mostly back to San Francisco. At work when we talked about fabric it was in thousands of yards, and increments of 1000! I left this world in January 2017 (a bit more on that here).
That depression had been underlying again, and there I was again - on a new bike, biking my way back to shape, mentally and physically. I was 45.
When we decide we were getting serious about making bike bags, and I had maxed out on the capability of my home sewing machine... I found someone to help me out (we are so indebted to you Kathryn!).
Making a backpack at the Canvasworker Class at The Brown Buffalo (more on this in May).
In the Spring of 2018 I took myself to Costa Mesa, CA to an Industrial Sewing machine class, and then came back home and bought my Juki.
In the Fall of 2018 Kathryn came over to teach me how to make my own bags on my new machine.
And here we are today...
I ride my bicycles
And I most definitely still love good design.
Happy International Women's Day Everyone! Take time today, and everyday to reflect on how far you have come, and what you can do to move yourself, and other women forward. ~DeAnn
CODA: It was not my original intent to write this post on the eve of my 49th birthday in 2 weeks, but as I wrote it ~ it became an amazing exercise in reflecting back on my accomplishments, and looking forward with enthusiasm to what's to come. I urge you to do the same. And... go ride a bike.