Jenny Dunphy Designs has passion and hard work in the bag
Photography and text by Ellen Egan
Jenny Dunphy is living proof that you really can have your dream job if you’re willing to work hard enough for it. Growing up in the small community of Morell, the 28-year-old handbag designer credits her upbringing for getting her to where she is today.
A sample of Jenny Dunphy Desgns handbags
“My father is a cabinet designer, so I was exposed to the design industry at a young age,” she says. “It really taught me to appreciate the symmetry of design and the art of making something from scratch with your hands.”
However, like most young people, Dunphy wasn’t always so sure of her career path.
“Fashion was always kind of deep down inside me. I was the kid who had fashion magazines inside her text book,” she laughs. “I was always taking my clothes and deconstructing them to be like how I envisioned it in my head.”
She tried out a few different streams before deciding to turn her passion into her job. Armed with a strong work ethic, supportive family and creative vision, Jenny enrolled at the International Academy of Design and Technology (now called Academy of Design) in Toronto, ON, at age 23. Here she gained her technical foundation and learned how to sew just about anything.
During her four year stint in Toronto, her own drive for greatness landed her internships for some of Canada’s top fashion labels. She went on to gain experience in trend forecasting, branding, and bridal accessory design. Her focus soon shifted and she decided to teach herself handbag design and manufacturing.
“Although I loved making clothes, I quickly realized that not everyone can wear the clothes you make,” says Dunphy. “A purse will fit everyone. It’s something that makes a girl feel good. I’m happy I can now do something everyone can enjoy.”
Attracted by the design freedom that comes along with owning her own business, Jenny decided to move back home in September of 2010 to pursue just that.
Now designing for her own aesthetic, she loves to mix the old with the new by blending vintage finds with new materials. Her pieces are all handmade from mostly leather, but she does keep vinyl on hand for someone who wants a vegan-friendly bag.
“I’m not competing with mass production. My bags are all one of a kind and made to order, although I do have stock,” she says. “I also offer customization. For example, if there’s a certain kind of lining or different cell phone pocket you’d prefer.”
Having been away for a while, the young designer says she finds a huge shift in fashion and arts in PEI.
“There’s now such a pulse here on the Island for fashion. Although PEI was always very artistic, there is definitely a community of young people in fashion that are doing really great things and we all try to support each other.”
For inspiration, Dunphy says she does a lot of research online and pays close attention to trends and what other designers are doing to keep up.
“As much as you try to fight it, you have to be at least somewhat on trend. I’m always mindful of staying on trend with shape and colour, especially,” states Dunphy. “But after being in the industry for a while, you get better at predicting trends before they even happen.”
Yet, despite her growth as a designer, she recognizes that it is a continuous learning process.
“I’m perfecting it as I go. I really feel like you will stunt yourself as an artist, as a designer, as a person if you don’t recognize your strengths and weaknesses. I think that is also a really important part of staying grounded,” she concludes.
For your very own Jenny Dunphy handbag, check out www.jennydunphy.com or call (902) 940-7476 to book an appointment at her office.
Jenny Dunphy Designs has passion and hard work in the bag Photography and text by Ellen Egan Jenny Dunphy is living proof that you really can have your dream job if you’re willing to work hard enough for it. Growing up in the small community of Morell, the 28-year-old handbag designer credits her upbringing for […]
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Lot 30 defies all expectations
Photography and text by Ellen Egan
It goes without saying that I’ve been to my fair share of restaurants, eateries, bistros, and cafes across this great Island of ours. Strangely enough, I had yet to check off the one and only Lot 30on Kent Street in downtown Charlottetown from my checklist of Island culinary hot spots. Having heard rave reviews from just about everyone, I knew it would make the perfect retreat from the holiday chaos that had consumed my already jam-packed schedule.
Ellen Egan savours her last culinary adventure for G! at Lot 30 in Charlottetown.
Nom nom nom
Upon entering the expansive dining space, I’m immediately intrigued with the urban-inspired art gracing the walls and the mood lighting seems to set the scene just right. Once seated, we’re greeted by our brilliant server who explains the inspiration behind the menu. We’re excited to learn that Chef Gordon Bailey is committed to using the finest ingredients available on PEI, so much so that he changes the menu daily to offer only the freshest products available from local farmers and producers.
I kid you not; their only freezer is the size of a small bar fridge.
Starting off with a round of drinks, I opt for the Vodka Ginger Mojito, which is instantly proclaimed the best mojito either of us has ever tasted (no offence, Smirnoff). My dining partner goes for a glass of the Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio – a classic choice.
It’s an internal struggle to choose what exactly will determine the fate of my dining experience, even despite the small menu size. Luckily, we find out that Chef Bailey has us covered in the appetizer department.
We’re not quite sure what to expect but are soon amazed to watch the plate take shape right before our eyes on the TV screen behind the bar. Yes, you heard me. This isn’t the Food Network you’re watching. The plating of each and every dish is, in fact, filmed for your viewing pleasure.
Not a minute later, a tri-medley of savoury delights arrives at the table. Sitting pretty on the plate are four roasted garlic and panko baked oysters, two baked salmon and haddock cakes with lemon and dill aioli, and four cheddar filled perogies with bacon and crème fraiche.
Now, I wouldn’t call myself a perogie connoisseur exactly, but something of slightly less prestige might be fairly accurate. Not to overshadow the delicious oysters and fishcakes, but these perogies are a work of pure magic.
Typically famous for being a Ukrainian specialty, these particular perogies were inspired by Chef Bailey’s mother who runs her own perogie spot out in Manitoba. Needless to say, these doughy creations now compete for number one ranking in my books.
With just enough time to take a quick breather, we’re soon ready for our main dishes. What were the final decisions, you ask? None other than seared sea scallops with roasted baby potatoes and cider reduction and Shepherds farm maple braised pork belly with potato puree and natural jus.
Lot 30's Seared Sea Scallops. Yes, please.
Not to brag, but my pork belly selection was the unanimous winner. And since I’d only ever tried a small sliver of this indulgent cut in my past pork experience, an entire steak is almost too good to be true. I savour just about every morsel and even part with the odd bite along the way. The crisp, maple braised exterior coupled with the tender (and fatty) interior is nothing short of decadent.
And while we’re almost too full to entertain the idea of dessert, two bite-size bowls of homemade carrot cake ice cream arrive and make for the perfect ending to a charming evening.
Lot 30: kudos. You’ve created a dining experience that can only be described as pure culinary bliss.
While we will certainly miss Ellen’s descriptive and delicious contributions each month for G! Eats, we are excited to welcome aboard Christina Flemming as the newest foodie to tempt our taste buds. Watch for Christina in the January/February issue of G!
Lot 30 defies all expectations Photography and text by Ellen Egan It goes without saying that I’ve been to my fair share of restaurants, eateries, bistros, and cafes across this great Island of ours. Strangely enough, I had yet to check off the one and only Lot 30on Kent Street in downtown Charlottetown from my […]
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Taking olive oil to a whole other level
By Ellen Egan
It’s safe to say that we Islanders don’t mind attending our fair share of wine and beer shows. But how many of us could say we’ve been to an olive oil tasting? My guess is not very many.
Chock full of antioxidants and supposed natural healing powers (forget the Echinacea), tasting the wide selection of fresh olive oils and balsamic vinegars at Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & all things Olive is truly an experience.
And, it won’t cost you that dreadful hangover.
For close to what you would spend on branded generic olive oil, who wouldn’t be open to a healthier way of incorporating the same classic flavours such as butter, garlic, and chipotle or unexplored tastes like espresso, pomegranate, and chocolate into their day-to-day cooking?
Liquid Gold store manager, Amy Ingram, hard at work
Taking over the former Clover Farm market space in the historic building on the corner of Queen and Dorchester in downtown Charlottetown, the boutique feels like a modern-day foyer in olive country. As we begin our tasting adventure (always free of charge), we are delighted to find ourselves under the guidance of Store Manager, Amy Ingram, and her equally knowledgeable and helpful employee, Tiara.
Ingram happens to be the daughter of Liquid Gold’s owner, Myrna Burlock, who first opened the Tasting Bar in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and helped bring this trendy spot to our beloved town. Her passion for sharing these unsung oils of the world is matched only by her outgoing and down-to-earth personality.
“The oils are pure, single fruits called cultivars, or are cultivars that have been deliciously flavoured,” says Ingram. “In spring/summer, our olive oils come from the Northern hemisphere and the Mediterranean. In the fall and winter, our oils come from the Southern hemisphere—so you know you’re getting the freshest oil for that time of the year.”
In fact, the fresher the oil the more nutrient-rich it is. Some oils here are as young as seven weeks old. And you don’t have to worry that they’ve been sitting on store shelves for months on end. Stainless steel containers called fusti (direct from Italy), comparable to mini kegs, keep the oils and vinegars cool and hidden from sunlight for optimum preservation.
Ingram says they always encourage people to taste and assess many olive oils so they can educate their palate in order to find just the right oil that gives them the most satisfaction.
Inside Liquid Gold Tasting Bar in Charlottetown
“Aesthetic notes of fruity, nutty, grassy, peppery, and many others are there in varying balance that give complexity to the oil and appeal in different ways to each person,” says Ingram. “That’s the fun part—when someone finds one that really knocks their socks off. We’re all unique in our taste experiences and preferences.”
But the venture doesn’t stop there. After trying out a variety of palate-intriguing oils, we’re free to explore the abundance of explosive dark and light balsamic vinegar selections, all hailing from Modena, Italy.
Liquid Gold also carries an impressive selection of tantalizing products like mustards and glazes, stuffed olives, and Italian pastas. And if you’re as indecisive as I am, you’ll want to take your time choosing and consider what you’d like to simmer it in, pair it with, or spread it over.
So, why not take a detour on your way to the grocery store and try out the greatest thing since the microbrew?
Check out photos from the G! Tasting Party at Liquid Gold by clicking here!
Happy eating (and tasting)!
G! Eats contributor Ellen Egan serves up her take on where Islanders are eating (and tasting) each month in G! Sadly, still no doggie bags.
Photo credit: Ellen Egan
Taking olive oil to a whole other level By Ellen Egan It’s safe to say that we Islanders don’t mind attending our fair share of wine and beer shows. But how many of us could say we’ve been to an olive oil tasting? My guess is not very many. Chock full of antioxidants and supposed […]
Read more »