DeNai Jones of Petunia Pickle Bottom: a Babble.com interview.Katie Bayless
I heard that you used to freak out whenever you saw someone who actually had one of your bags. Have you gotten used to seeing people carrying your latest creations around town?
Never! I still get butterflies. Playfully speaking, I have been known to stalk women carrying one of our bags, just to see how they are interacting with the product.
What’s been the biggest change from sewing bags yourself in your parent’s garage to running a multi-million dollar international company?
Having an actual desk void of six-legged spider friends and rat traps. We’re talking humble beginnings here, as far as offices go. But really, for the most part people see what we are today and have absolutely no idea of the sacrifices it takes, especially early on, to start a company: scraping up change from the couch to go out to dinner, moving back in with the parents. Early on, the majority of our time was spent building a business; now I can focus 99% of my time creating. It’s a dream job, really.
Like any designer product, knock-offs of PPB products abound. How do you deal with the prevalence of knock-offs?
I can spend a lot of time and energy upset about unscrupulous companies, but I realize my time is better spent focusing on being creative.
A lot of people seem to have a love/hate relationship with your bags. What’s the strangest complaint you’ve gotten?
The strangest complaints stem from personal accidents with the bags. I remember one woman emailed distraught that a waiter spilled spaghetti on her bag; another opened the top flap over a candle and burned a hole through it. I also remember a husband calling in hot water with his wife because he accidentally drove over her brand new Petunia bag. We always try to help when it comes to these types of “natural” disasters, but people can get quite crazed about this sort of thing.
Do you have a favorite fabric you’ve produced?
I would have to say the Saffron Roll fabric is my favorite. It’s bold and very European. Not everyone can wear this color combination, but it’s one of my favorite bags to carry.