Every object tells a story through Jennet Chow’s camera lens.
The founder of Jellypop, owned by Evolution Design Lab Inc., received her first camera as a gift from her father when she was 15 years old. She’s been taking pictures ever since. Chow even took classes at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. And now, when in search of design inspiration, she turns to her photos of everything from architecture to people.
“I was an only child, so I was very curious growing up,” said Chow, now 31, who is also head of design and marketing for Jellypop. “When I was young, I used to love looking at my parents’ old photo albums because they told stories, and it was better to see it than just hear it.”
These days, Chow takes her Canon Rebel XTi camera with her whenever she travels. Business trips provide ample opportunity for great shots, and Paris and London are a couple of her favorite spots for imagery.
“The best thing about photography is that you can just point and shoot while you’re walking,” she said. “While I’m out working, I’ll shoot anything that I love. It’s very interesting to capture the different areas and looks when you travel, so that inspires my designs.”
In fact, photos of people often work their way into Chow’s sketches.
“The idea of picturing people or what they wear in a photograph inspires me to make beautiful shoes,” she said. “When I design shoes, I hope a lot of people will wear the [look], so I ask myself, How can I make my way into someone’s life based on that photo?”
Her camera is also a handy way to remember inspirational products she’s seen on her journeys. In flea markets, for example, Chow will capture antiques. And when in nature, she focuses on color schemes.
“I’ve [re-created] the exact green and yellow from flowers,” she recalled.
Additionally, a recent trip to Mexico inspired a variety of supplies for her line. “All the vibrant colors there influenced the materials we chose,” said Chow. They picked raffia and other organic materials in vibrant colors such as hot pink and various sunset hues.
Overall, Chow’s photography has led to a more playful fall ’12 collection, incorporating more color, embellishments and mixed materials. “[The shoes are designed] more on the edgy side, but with a ladylike flare,” she said. And the changes appear to be paying off for the brand: Dillard’s and Piperlime.com are new accounts, stocking Jellypop for the first time in spring ’12.
“[Our customer] is still going to be a younger girl, but she is becoming more fashionable because of what she sees online,” said Chow. “So we’re trying to look more high-end, but still with a low price point.”
Going forward, Chow plans to start a blog to showcase her photographs and highlight the behind-the-scenes design process at the brand. Also in the works is a Jellypop channel on YouTube.com.
“We’re trying to let more [customers] know about us,” she said. “Our goal is to really get to know our customer.”
But even with her busy design schedule, Chow is plotting her next travel adventure to Russia, where she plans to take more photos.
“The architecture and people there are so beautiful,” she said. “I’m constantly looking at pictures, but I also want to capture the moments myself.”