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Designer competes in national contest

Local mother creates eco-friendly nursery mobiles and vies for top spot in competition

Posted: September 11, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 11, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Diana Jess stands near her modern modular wall art.

 

Environmental designer Diana Jess has worked on design hurdles for the National Museum of Liverpool, the Adler Planetarium and the Empire State Building – but her current challenge is competing against other entrepreneurs on Martha Stewart’s American Made contest.

Motivated to start a home-based business after the birth of her daughter, the Santa Clarita resident began designing eco-friendly mobiles for baby nurseries – or “floating sculptures” as she refers to them on her company’s website.

“I didn’t want to go back to working 14 hours a day in a design office,” Jess said. “I’m a green designer and always envisioned my business being very environmentally conscious.”

Using recycled plastics made in the United States and certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, Jess said she designs the mobiles on her computer and sends them out to a firm in Salt Lake City that transfers the designs into cut plastics.

“I then produce the mobiles out of my home,” she said. “I assemble them with love from home.”

The designs are far from run-of-the-mill nursery mobiles, and her work appears to have a slightly modernistic, European flair — it might come from Jess’ extensive travels through Europe and the five years she spent living and working in Germany.

LEED certified Jess said she was nominated as a finalist in the Martha Stewart’s American Made contest.

“Martha Stewart’s company narrowed the contestants down from 2,000 applicants to about 100 finalists,” Jess said.

And now it’s just up to voting public to decide which American Made contestant wins. The winner earns $10,000 in seed money and a trip to New York to meet Stewart in person. Jess said she hopes to use the money to better market herself and produce new products in time for the holidays.

“How could you not be excited to meet Martha Stewart?” she said.

And winning the American Made contest would lend marketing appeal by being connected to such a strong brand name, she said.

Readers can see Diana Jess’ designs on her website at dianajessdesign.com or view her finalist position in the American Made contest at americanmade.marthastewart.com/finalists.

jadkins@the-signal.com

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