Our Story

The History of JAK Designs (and other stuff)

Tanya (in a natural linen capelet) and Jen in the shop in Kennebunkport

Tanya (in a natural linen capelet) and Jen in the shop in Kennebunkport

JAK Designs is a socially responsible and eco-conscious endeavor that began in 1997 in a tiny rooftop studio apartment in San Francisco’s Mission District. After almost 2 decades of traveling the country and showing their work at juried art shows, Jen and Tanya opened their own shop in beautiful Kennebunkport, Maine in 2015.

JAK knitwear is created manually, using a bed of 200 needles and an array of hand tools, with thorough attention to detail and quality, using natural, organic and sustainable yarns.

Jen designs every piece in each collection. She and Tanya then contemplate yarns, colors and which of them has the time, inclination and skill to make it work. They have three talented assistants who help create their fine knits. A day in the studio includes knitting, washing, steaming and sewing. And about 100 additional tasks, including preparing delicious vegetarian meals.

Other amazing gifts in the JAK store are created by American artists that Jen and Tanya have met and admired along their journey. They are committed to fair pay, while supporting women, people of color, and low-income artisans.

Jen and Tanya are dedicated to preserving the environment while acting responsibly in their own community. JAK Designs was certified as a green business in 2006.

For more information, please see the JAK Gives Back page.