“She believed she could, so she did.” Those are the words Nicole Stenger, owner of the new Studio Lush lives by. Nicole always dreamed of owning her own salon, and that dream became a reality when she opened the doors to her studio in October of 2016. Read more to learn about everything Studio Lush has to offer, including my accessory line!
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Hi there! Thanks for taking the time to learn more about me (Megan) & the story behind FENNOfashion. Above is one of my favorite and most recent photo of my family of me, my husband John and our 7 year-old son Myles.
We live on the west side of Cincinnati after building our home in 2016 and we absolutely love that starting with a blank slate has given us endless opportunities for DIY projects. I honestly don't think our list will ever be completed, but that's okay because we enjoy it.
FENNOfashion has been 11 years in the making. Though I've been creating & designing accessories for the past 18 years, this hasn't always been my full-time job.
However, it did lead to some incredibly exciting job opportunities such as having a radio segment on Cincinnati's top hits station to affording me the opportunity to showcase my DIY projects on national television.
But ultimately, my passion lies within running my own business. I truly enjoy making pieces of jewelry that I know women will love and treasure for years to come.
After graduating from Savannah College of Art & Design in 2006, my husband (not my husband at the time though) and I relocated to Austin, TX for his first design job out of college. Out of lack of jobs available in the fashion industry deep in the heart of Texas, I decided to create my own business. It started out as MEWfashion and once John and I were married, I changed the business name to FENNOfashion in 2009.
Just for fun, I thought I'd share the top ten coolest moments in my career thus far. Then if you'd like to read more, I have a bit of a longer back story below sharing about the how's, why's and what has influenced my business shaping it into what it is today.
1. Trying out for the TV show Project Runway in Chicago. While I didn't obviously make the show, having the opportunity to have Tim Gunn critique my work was a pretty awesome experience in itself!
2.Designing & creating a wedding dress entirely from scratch. The bride gave me a few ideas of what she was looking for and from there, I sketched out a few designs, made the patterns, selected the fabric and sewed the entire design together. I love how the dress turned out however, it helps when you're working with a beautiful bride.
3.Showcasing my work at the inaugural Austin Fashion Week, where I taught jewelry design classes and had the opportunity to walk the red carpet with celebrities!
4. Being chosen as Fashion Woman of the Year for Cincinnati in 2009 by Cincy Chic.
Here’s a few sound clips from when I was the fashion editor for Cincinnati’s Top 40 station, Q102 (WKRQ). Not only did I blog regularly, but had a daily radio segment titled ‘One Chic Mother to Another’, where personality Holly Morgan and I shared fashion trends, beauty tips from the standard to the obscure, DIY projects and trending topics from the perspective of two working moms.
6. Having my accessories, writing, DIY tutorials and accessories featured in & on over 200 publications to date.
7. Having the opportunity to interview a lot of cool people, such as Nick & Drew Lachey from 98° & yep, even Tyra Banks!
8. Teaching over 50 classes about jewelry design in 4 different states. I've taught everyone from the littlest of kids to girl scout troops and women who were just looking for a new hobby.
9. For a short period of time, I had a handbag line I titled "UREC," which stands for Up-Cycled, Recycled & Eco-Conscious. The handbags were made using recycled materials coupled with my own patterns & designs. They were so much fun to make, but oh so time-consuming!
10. Having had the opportunity to be a personality for Q102 & Cincysavers.
Aside from talking about DIY projects & fashion on the air everyday, I also had the opportunity to partner with many local & national brands including IKEA, Michaels, Project Runway & more!
So yes, to sum things up, it's pretty incredible how sharing your passion for life’s adventures can lead to such exciting opportunities! Not only that, but I'm also incredibly grateful for the deep-rooted friendships I have and the amazing community that has been supporting me from the very beginning.
11. Okay, just one more. I love giving back to the community that I love so much, so I was honored when our local newspaper featured my business when I donated jewelry to Cincinnati Children's Hospital. I felt so good about my decision to give back and know it made others feel good too.
No, really, it’s common and seems odd to those who aren’t from this area, like my husband. And what's funny is whenever I answer this classic Cincinnati question with "Florida State University’s High School", I get the next question: “Wait, I thought you were from here?!”
Yes. That is correct. I'm from Cincinnati; born and raised until I was 12. That's when my family relocated to Tallahassee, FL for my dad to pursue his dream of obtaining his PhD at Florida State University.
While I hated to move away from the city I loved so very much, the silver-lining is that I met my husband in 9th grade. We're pretty much like two peas in a pod and are together about 90% of the time (we both work from home). Seriously, I can't even begin to describe how grateful I am that I was able to meet my soulmate at such a young age!
But anyway, since we met in art class and both dreamed of pursuing a career in art & design, we followed our dreams and moved to Savannah, GA to attend Savannah College of Art & Design.
Even with scholarships, SCAD isn’t cheap, so we decided whomever got the first job right out of college, we’d settle there. Our student loans averaged over $1k per month, so ...
John accepted a job in Austin, Texas in fall 2006 and so we relocated to deep in the heart of Texas. While trying to figure out what I wanted for my career while searching for any type of 'fashion' job with no luck, I decided there was no better time to mix my dream job of owning my own company with designing accessories. It was then that FENNOfashion was born (but under the name MEWfashion at the time).
Meanwhile, John asked me to marry him in 2007 in front of the capitol of Texas while on a carriage ride (it was just the sweetest), and we got married in September of 2008 in Greenville, South Carolina where my parents were living at the time.
Ready to move closer to family and friends, in 2009 we relocated to my hometown, Cincinnati after I had been away for 14 years. We bought our first home on the west side of town and two years after moving, we had our son Myles in 2011.
The good news was that John was able to work remotely and to this day, he still is a product designer for the same company he started with in 2006.
At this point, I was running FENNOfashion full time, but several short months after Myles was born, I accepted a job at Hubbard Broadcasting as the Fashion Editor & a Radio Personality.
Then in 2013, I started working for WCPO-TV, an ABC affiliate here in Cincinnati, covering fashion, local businesses and lifestyle topics. In 2014, I became a Community Manager at the station.
But let me back up a bit. My experience having Myles was anything but a fairytale. 56 hours of labor plus a lengthy list of health problems came right along with what many hope to be one of the happiest times of their life.
That led to me having to have four additional surgeries, one even while vacationing in Belize. But you know what, I wouldn’t change a thing. Sure, I wish that all of this hadn’t happened, but at the same time, all of the hardship and medical scares really gave me a new perspective on life.
Our family is stronger than ever. I’ve learned how precious life really is and I value those who are in my life on a level I wasn't even aware of. I’m not only more grateful than ever, but have learned to really stop and enjoy the little things and live life to the fullest.
Something we always wanted to do was give urban living a spin, so while Myles was still little & we could get away with it, we sold our first home and moved in the heart of downtown Cincinnati.
It was fun while it lasted, but with my medical issues at the time and Myles getting older, our 2-year run of living downtown came to an end when we built a home and moved back to the west side of Cincinnati.
We've now been in our new home for over 2 years and this business has once again become my full time job and I couldn't be happier.
So cheers to good health, the fact that you're still reading this, a loving family and turning dreams into a reality. 💕