jane

A highly competitive industry, a failed startup on her resume and the worst recession in a generation didn’t deter Jane Saidenberg from launching her handbag business.

A year later her Jane Marvel line of “lifestyle” bags is going gangbusters, landing on the shelves of more than 300 stores from Alabama to Wyoming and racking up sales of $1 million along the way .

“I was in the entertainment business for many years, but I sort of had this inner crafty weirdness and I would do weird things like sew stuff until 3 or 4 in the morning,” says Saidenberg, who is married to successful music producer Andy Marvel, who has penned hits for Celine Dion and Jessica Simpson. “My husband has been a great supporter. Our pillow talk has changed over the years from newlywed pillow talk to, ‘so how are sales today Honey?’”

Saidenberg’s first entrepreneurial foray was designing stylish laminated canvas storage boxes for baby toys and clothing, which later morphed into diaper bags and lunchboxes. Saidenberg, whose two sons were both still young at the time, was ultimately unable to make the profit margins work in her favor and was forced to shelve the business.

Instead of walking away altogether, Saidenberg took an exploratory trip to China in April 2007 to see if there was a way she could keep her dream alive. What she found was a factory where she could drastically lower her production costs and the inspiration to make a line of handbags for adult women.