Up to No Good
By Gili Malinsky
Jordan Dene has been running her business for five years. It was an apron business. Then a bandolier business. And an undergarments business ... Now it's mostly a T-shirt business. What's stayed the same, however, other than her charm, enthusiasm for learning and general positivity is the geek chic aspect of Jordandene. The goal was always to create something for geek girls (lovers of Marvel and DC, Harry Potter, Doctor Who ...). The following is an edited version of our interview, and make sure to pick up her shirts for your geek girls this holiday season.
So how did Jordandene start?
A friend on a whim suggested I [start an Etsy shop] to keep myself busy ... Five years ago nerd culture was pretty masculine and there weren’t a lot of [girl] products. So I started making aprons that were costume aprons. Like, superhero aprons or astronauts. It was handmade, combined with nerdy, combined with well-designed and feminine.
So how did you ultimately land on T-shirts?
I’ve probably tried 12 to 15 different lines of products and two have actually worked out ... [I made bandoliers for boys] and that was the product that I’ve gotten the most press on. It was in Real Simple magazine a couple years ago ... But I want my products to be very wearable. [A lot of my customers] have a job that they can’t wear super nerdy stuff to. But they can wear my shirts under a blazer because you can’t really tell. It’s like sneaky nerdy.
What's been a real high for you in doing this?
The last event I did I had two pregnant women buy the first pieces of clothing for their new babies from me. And I was like, sobbing ...
Yeah, I see you have this onesie here that says, "I solemnly swear that I'm up to no good."
That’s my favorite mischievous Harry Potter line. A lot of parents see that and right away are like, OK ... I get it.
So what's your business philosophy?
I think to run a small business - you just have to be good to people. And you learn the right ways to treat people. You learn how to take care of strangers and you learn how to be a good partner and you learn how to take care of the earth. .. I'm even a way better host - like what do you need? What can I do for you? Can I show you someone who can do this for you?