Jamie Scholhamer and his mother, Jodi Oliver, have put in the work and are finally reaping the rewards.
HOUSTON — During Women’s History Month, KHOU 11 News shines a spotlight on young entrepreneurs in Houston who are forging their own paths.
This list includes Houstonian Jamie Scholhamer, who was working as an engineer two years ago when she decided to quit her job and follow his lifelong passion.
“I’ve always loved fashion and design,” Scholhamer said.
Thus, Scholhamer began handbag design. She was joined by her mother, Jodi Oliver, who had sewn Scholhamer’s designs in reality for years.
“We never found a bag we liked,” Oliver said. “There was always something wrong…either it looked good and didn’t work, or it looked terrible and somehow worked.”
The two got to work with Oliver’s cutting patterns and sewing prototypes while Scholhamer sketched and sourced leather and hardware.
Scholhamer also began to use manufacturers.
“Reaching out to people and cold calling is hard. It takes perseverance and a lot of time trying to get people to call you back,” Scholhamer said.
A New York manufacturer finally called back, but its handbags had only been in production for a few weeks when the pandemic hit. However, the duo did not stop working.
“We used the time to figure out the details – we designed product packaging and cards,” Oliver said.
Production resumed six months later and it was then that the two saw the fruits of their labor.
Scholhamer designed each bag with a signature ruffle and they both collaborated on the details of each handbag: a fifth “leg” to keep the bottom of the handbag clean, large and small zippered compartments, and a zipper closure. zipper on each bag.
Both said the Houston small business community has been very supportive as they work to create a new classic.
“Everyone has been so kind and open with advice and you never know who you’re going to meet,” Oliver said. “Just keep your network open.”