There is a growing movement that values the work of the artisan and the craftsman. Whether it is beer and wine produced in small batches, baked goods, or furniture, high quality, often hand made goods are in high demand.

Photo courtesy of Bumbelou - Jenna Odegard, founder and owner of Bumbelou in Mankato.
Photo by Rebecca Lauren Photography – Jenna Odegard, founder and owner of Bumbelou in Mankato.

In Old Town Mankato a new micro-manufacturing business is thriving as people all around the world respond to the high-quality children’s clothing being produced by Jenna Odegard and her team at Bumbelou.

“We do everything from scratch,” Odegard explained. “We are designing our own fabrics and designing our own garment cuts. Then right here in this building, at 405 North Riverfront Drive, we have a team of women who work together to create these unique products.

“When you’re buying something from Bumbelou you’re buying something of quality. You know right where it’s coming from. From the sewing machine to hanging on the rack, you can see the whole process right here.”

Birth of a vision

Photo by Don Lipps - Anna Knish, seamstress at Bumbelou in Mankato works on binding dresses.
Photo by Don Lipps – Anna Knish, seamstress at Bumbelou in Mankato works on binding dresses.

After Odegard first became a mom, she experienced a time of uncertainty about her purpose in life. “I was given an opportunity to sit down at a sewing machine and do some contract work for a friend,” she recalled.

“As soon as I started working at that machine, feeling the whir and my hands making something it was like therapy. It helped clear my mind and gave me a purpose. It brought me back to life in a lot of ways. I just knew at that moment that I needed to create this brand.”

“I started making products and putting them on Instagram and Facebook. Then we added a website,” she said. “We started with really small batches. If I had a pink dress, I’d make 14 pink dresses. Sometimes we’d make 5 red dresses. It was all under 20 of each style. There were 15-20 different products at first.”

I was getting emails saying things like, ‘My daughter loves this dress so much she’s wearing it every single day. I have to wash it at night, so she can wear it the next day.’

It wasn’t long before demand for the clothing Odegard was making grew to be more than she could produce herself. “I worked alone for, I think about six or nine months,” she recalled. “I started to reach out, especially through social media, to try to find people to work on my team.” Initially, that team worked out of Odegard’s home.

“It was easy to find what was working,” she said. “I was getting emails saying things like, ‘My daughter loves this dress so much she’s wearing it every single day. I have to wash it at night, so she can wear it the next day.’”

1
2
3
Don Lipps
A long-time resident of Mankato and North Mankato, Don is a veteran web developer. Don and his wife, Tina, have 5 grown boys and one daughter-in-law.