We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Kahn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, what is the most important factor behind your success?
For me, it was adding a give back component. Finding a non-profit that I am truly passionate about supporting and knowing that my success is shared with them, makes me work so much harder. TDF (Theatre Development Fund) is a dream non-profit partner. The work they do in accessibility for the arts, and arts education in schools is incredible, and I am so honored that Scenery Bags get to support them.What should our readers know about your business?
My company is called Scenery Bags. We make bags and accessories out of discarded theatrical waste from Broadway and beyond, and 10% of our proceeds go to TDF to introduce students to theatre. Since we started in 2017 we have diverted over 27 thousand pounds of theatrical waste from landfills, and sponsored 875 students to go through TDF’s Introduction to theatre program and see a Broadway show, as well as sponsored TDF’s accessibility program that provides accommodations for students who are blind or low vision / deaf or hard of hearing to see theatre. How did I get here? I was a stage manager for 17 years, on Broadway and regionally. I hated watching our sets get thrown away. All that beautiful art and memories. I had this idea in 2015 and kept plugging away at it until 2017 when I had my first baby, and took a break for Stage Management and started Scenery Bags as a cute little side hobby while I was at home with my new baby. I didn’t think it would turn into a full time real job so quickly. I accidentally created my dream job. Was it easy, no. Would I do it all again, yes! I’ve learned to just keep at it. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. That usually means you’re about to do something big. Growing pains happen because you’re growing. The pain teaches you, so always listen to it. Lean in. Get curious. Never lean away from the hard stuff. Untying that knot will teach you more about your company than ignoring it ever will…I think that’s enough metaphors for now. I want to world to know we are here. If you love theatre, you can keep a little piece of it and help inspire a new generation to love it as well. And help the Earth out a little too.Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ha! Well, we moved to Houston right before I had my second baby and then COVID, so I haven’t been able to explore as much as I’d like, but the Arts and Food are amazing! I have two little boys so we love the Houston Zoo, and Children’s Museum. My husband is the General Manager at The Alley Theatre downtown, so we would have to have a theatre night! We’d go for dinner at our favorite Vegan restaurant Verdine. Also, some shopping at Market Street, and The Galleria. Oh and a spa day at The Woodhouse Day Spa. Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to do all of these things again!!Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh wow! The list is LONG! Besides the amazing people at TDF, I’d like to give credit to: Brian Wells my friend and Director I Stage Managed for for years, who gave me my Equity Card (our Union), AND gave me the first 600 pounds of drops to upcycle to start my company! Thank you Brian! Laura Cave my friend who helped me brainstorm the beginning of the company on our road trip in the summer of 2015. Krysta Rodriguez (yes, THE Krysta Rodriguez) who always encouraged me when the project was in early phases, and then put us on the map once we launched. The two other incredible women who make up Team Scenery, Katie Oxman and Ashley Sutherland. I could not do this without them! And of course my amazing Husband, Brandon, and family who have helped me turn this dream into a reality. AND everyone who as ever bought a bag or followed us on social media, or liked a post. It all adds up to the most incredible encouragement.