Doing good

After the experience of finding new hope in her business, Odegard felt strongly about helping others. “I felt so much gratitude for discovering a way of healing for myself. Right from the beginning I also knew we needed to use this to do good in the world. Our mission statement is Because clothing should be more than just beautiful!” That core value drives the company.

“We share 10% of company profits, whether that’s from a Bumbelou product that we made here, or one of a the few other products we sell,” she explained. “We’re supporting Compassion International to help girls all over the world who are now given a chance to go to school, they are being given food and clothing, and in some cases, they are given a safe environment.”

Top Notch Location!

Photo by Don Lipps - Hevan Knowlton, Hair Accessory Lead at Bumbelou in Mankato works on accessory details.
Photo by Don Lipps – Hevan Knowlton, Hair Accessory Lead at Bumbelou in Mankato works on accessory details.

When you visit Bumbelou on North Riverfront Drive, it’s quickly apparent that Odegard’s passion for excellence goes beyond the clothing she makes. The shop, remodeled largely by her husband, John, would be at home in the best boutique districts anywhere.

“I’m especially proud of this building,” Odegard said. “It was a lot of hard work, a lot of sleepless nights. My husband put in a lot of effort. It feels miraculous and I’m super proud that we made it through all the challenges that came our way.

“I’d like to share my gratitude for my husband, John. He works full time, and then he would come down in the evening after tucking the girls in bed and he would work another shift. Often, he would work until two or three in the morning to get everything done on time!”

The work was done in time to open for the MSU 150th anniversary homecoming celebration on September 29th. “There was a parade passing right in front of our store,” she recalled. “What better time?”

Recently the production crew moved from the Odegards’ home to the new work room in the back of the shop. “I am loving it,” she said. “We’ve had our sewing operation under the same roof as our retail space for just under two weeks.”

We only get one life here. I want to make sure that I’m living my passion and that my employees can live their passion.

What about that name?

“I love to share that story,” Odegard said.

“Early on, I realized I needed a brand name. I was thinking and thinking and then it came to me! My then 14-month-old daughter’s favorite game was to be a bumblebee! She’d run around the house and buzz! Daddy was the bumblebee catcher. When she got caught it was just the cutest laugh ever! It was so sweet.

“That’s where the Bumbel side came from. The Lou side is a family name. I’m Jenna Lou. Lexi Lou is my daughter and Linda Lou is my mom.”

Being wrapped in the embrace of this growing Old Town community has been just wonderful!

Author


  • is a long-time resident of Mankato and North Mankato. He's been doing web development almost as long as there has been a web.