LONG BEACH — It all started with baby blankets.
Roughly 16 years later, Jen Stenersen, 46, has opened her first retail store, Eden’s Bouquet, where she carries a range of children’s clothing, heirloom cotton gowns and locally-made artisan items from hand-carved wooden trucks to natural playdough.
“My vision was always to offer more than children’s clothing,” Stenersen after a soft opening Tuesday, Feb. 26.
From basic baby blankets to high-end heirloom gowns
Stenersen designs and manufactures clothing under the Eden’s Bouquet label, from children’s clothing to up to an adult size 10, but it all began with baby blankets.
“I started sewing for my kids and it just kind of went crazy,” said Stenersen who has 10 children — ages 26, 25, 24, 21, 19, 17, 15, 11, 9 and 6 — with husband, Levi.
In the early 2000s, Stenersen, along with a small group of other women, first sold baby blankets on eBay, then still a growing online auction site. Soon children’s luxury retailer PoshTots noticed her wares.
“That’s when my brand kind of took off,” Stenersen said.
Hollywood celebrities, musicians, actresses, models and professional athletes all have been customers including Nicole Kidman, Tori Spelling, Shooter Jennings and George Soros. The brand was regularly requested for celebrity-profile shoots by major magazines such as Vogue, Rolling Stone and Country Living.
“My clientele is Hollywood and celebrities, and that has been the challenge for me here, trying to fit a different demographic,” Stenersen said. “And that’s why I wanted to offer more than what I was accustomed to making, which are high-end gowns. My gowns here are around $140 but to Hollywood I sold them for like $500.”
The high-end heirloom gowns are made to last years, often saved for special occasions from baptism to weddings.
“It’s made to last through the generations so they can pass them down,” Stenersen said.
Cascades to the coast
The Stenersens moved to the area from Yacolt, a small town of 1,500 people at the foothills of the Cascades approximately 30 miles north of Vancouver.
“We came to the hotels here for a long time,” Stenersen said. “We ended up building a little vacation home and realized that we would love to live here.”
The recently remodeled Campiche Building at the corner of Bolstad and Pacific Ave. in Long Beach inspired her to launch her first brick-and-mortar business.
“I felt like I was at a crossroads until I saw this space, then I decided to open my first store,” Stenersen said. “The location was just perfect.”