UNO alumna and her dog teach mindfulness through new clothing business

Written by
Kami Baker
A soundtrack of footsteps and snorts marches along the sidewalk in Aksarben Village as University of Nebraska at Omaha alumna Stevie Jelden and her 3-year-old pug Winnipeg take on the town. Clad in a handmade kimono and a colorful collar, they walk in tow, two ladies on a mission.
Jelden studied public health at UNO and works as a yoga and meditation instructor at Omaha Integrative Care, but as of Aug. 21, she has transformed a sewing and design hobby into a local business: Winnipegs Bohemian Threads.
Taking her beloved pug’s namesake, Jelden launched her new company hoping to bring her unique designs to life, as well as create a space to educate women of all ages how to bring mindfulness into their closets.
While Jelden waited for her and her then-fiancé’s house to be built about a year ago,the couple moved into her now mother-in-law’s home, equipped with a sewing machine and frequent trips to Hancock Fabrics. Jelden began sewing simple dress patterns and then realized she had a knack for fashion.
“It’s funny because shortly after I started thinking about this business, my mom found this old binder from when I was nine or 10 years old,” Jelden said. “It was just filled with all these photo-copied models that I drew my own original designs on. It was really dramatic; I branded it and everything. Black Cherry Designs by Stevie.”
Although Jelden had no professional intentions of starting a clothing company when earning her degree, she realized she could combine her creative side with her understanding of holistic wellness to follow the path of her true passion project.
“A huge piece of this project is the educational aspect,” Jelden said. “People will often say ‘oh my gosh, Stevie, will you just style me?’ and yeah, I could make you feel beautiful in cute clothes, but I want my customers to feel empowered to make deliberate clothing choices themselves.”
After getting the initial items up on the site, Jelden hopes to make blog posts and videos about styling one piece multiple different ways to promote a minimalistic life style rooted in mindful decision making. She also has ambitions to upload guided meditations to the site.
“It might not be the smartest choice to promote minimalism when trying to make money for a new business,” Jelden said. “But no one needs 70 brown belts. We can practice mindfulness when we brush our teeth, when we drive to work and when we stand in front of our closets in the morning picking out an outfit. Even if my practice isn’t the smartest financial decision, people will respect the principle. I’m doing this to fuel my passion.”
In order to fulfill a goal of sustainability and diligence, Winnipegs Bohemian Threads will offer a section called “A Little Loved Store,” which will work as a buy-back program for customers who are no longer getting everything they want out of their clothing and would like to earn credit towards new items in the store.
“The underlying theme of this whole brand is purpose and joy,” Jelden said. “I want to promote that, but I also want to celebrate it. That’s why I named my store after Winnipeg, because she brings me purpose and joy.”
The wrinkly dog who has quickly become the face of a brand seems to practice a simple lifestyle as well. Winnipeg loves to eat and sleep, but she also engages with Stevie whenever she practices yoga or meditation at home.
“Win is a typical pug,” Jelden said. “Most of the time she’ll sleep or sunbathe like a flat little pancake, but around nine or 10 at night she’ll reach her ‘gremlin hour’ where she has a burst of energy and just won’t stop playing fetch. She doesn’t love wearing new things so she’s not much of a fashion icon, but she’s very photogenic.”
The pair is known as a dynamic duo outside of the new company, as well. Winnipeg walked down the aisle of Jelden’s wedding as a “pug of honor,” adorned in a flower crown and arguably a scene-stealer for the couple. Jelden also enjoys using essential oils and natural ingredients to make moisturizers and sprays for both humans and pets alike.
Balancing work; married life; sewing and shipping; and spoiling a 3-year-old pup easily fills up Jelden’s schedule, but she still makes space for multiple hours in each day to be grateful for every detail.
“I’m not trying to have any crazy goals or expectations for this company,” Jelden said. “A big part of who I am is being grateful for all things and living without expectation.”
Which, if given a new tiny tennis ball or the perfect pair of sandals, is enough for the Jelden women.
Stevie Jelden and Winnipegs Bohemian Threads can be found here: