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A love of art and a career in fashion leads to a business called ‘design dates’ for this Eltingville woman

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Jillian Manna’s been drawing and creating way back to she will bear in mind — and has at all times wished to share her love of artwork and design.

A graduate of St. Joseph by-the-Sea Excessive College, the Eltingville resident went on to attend the Trend Institute of Expertise the place she acquired an affiliate’s diploma in utilized science in visible presentation and exhibition design.

Her class scope was broad in design which afforded her the chance to study graphics and occasion design and inside and exhibition design — and the checklist simply went on from there.

“This main gave me a singular and nicely rounded schooling in design as a result of it touched so many various areas,” she the astute 27 year-old.

At FIT she studied enterprise and earned a bachelor of science diploma in trend merchandising administration, permitting her to discover the enterprise aspect and the artwork aspect of her main.


“FIT gave me a tremendous alternative to interview with Macy’s and I used to be employed to be part of Macy’s Government Improvement Program six months earlier than I graduated,” she defined.

In time she would develop into an affiliate purchaser for ladies’s sneakers on the earth’s largest retailer.

“Macy’s taught me the enterprise expertise I wanted to run my very own enterprise and I’m very grateful for all of the alternatives and connections I made at Macy’s. Though many might say it was a ‘dream job,’ I used to be not actually fulfilled,” she mentioned.

So she took a leap of religion and by no means appeared again.


design dates

An invite accessible at design dates in Tottenville, a personalised design heart to your particular date. (Courtesy/Jillian Manna)

In 2017 Jillian brainstormed a house primarily based enterprise she referred to as “design dates” — a personalised design heart for particular occasions — initially as a pastime whereas she was nonetheless a staffer at Macy’s. Actually, the enterprise was original after a undertaking she developed whereas at FIT.

However by 2019, “design dates” grew into one thing she by no means imagined and she or he ultimately resigned from Macy’s with a purpose to deal with — and develop — her enterprise.

She rented area on the Vendor Warehouse at 7426 Amboy Rd. in Tottenville in 2019, an area comprised of 5 completely different distributors, “design dates,” Candy Ash Desserts, Hello NRG Sound Productions, Candid Portraits By Joelle and Ricci Boutique.

design dates

A denim jacket accessible at design dates in Tottenville, a personalised design heart to your particular date. (Courtesy/Jillian Manna)

The pandemic has impacted her enterprise tremendously, Jillian mentioned.

“The invites portion of my enterprise has taken the toughest hit since many occasions, particularly weddings, have been postponed. Fortunately, a big portion of my enterprise consists of customized objects and customized stationery equivalent to beginning bulletins, thanks playing cards, Christmas playing cards . . . My foremost clientele are wedding ceremony {couples} and a few of my finest promoting objects embrace customized denim jackets, bridal robes, sweatshirts, T-shirts, and engagement baskets.”


Jillian factors out that when March rolled round it actually effected a variety of wedding ceremony {couples} and invitation shoppers. She explains if you happen to already paid to your invites and your wedding ceremony needed to be cancelled, you will have an issue.

design dates

Beautiful lounge put on accessible at design dates in Tottenville, a personalised design heart to your particular occasion. (Courtesy/Jillian Manna)

“It’s some huge cash for {couples}. And. my coronary heart went out to them. Anybody who has to cancel their order – I’ve been fulfilling their order at price. I’ve been redoing their order – freed from cost. The printers who I work with supplied a reduction – however not a lot of a reduction, although. Lots of brides went by means of loopy occasions and it’s been troublesome for them to reschedule dates. Now they’re scheduling for summer season months. Some are even ordering two and thrice because the pandemic extends,” she mentioned.

“I’m hoping that they advocate my companies. I do personalization. I do a variety of gifting and different kinds of stationery, beginning bulletins, apart from weddings solely. Individuals are nonetheless having infants however the wedding ceremony business has actually been impacted probably the most.”

“If you happen to do what you’re keen on you’ll by no means work a day in your life and I’ve realized these phrases to be so true, as a result of I’m doing what I actually love. And I’m very excited to see what the longer term has in retailer for ‘design dates’ — publish pandemic.”

The by-appointment-only enterprise is centered round fancy printing and graphic design.

Design Dates

Sporting attire from Design Dates in Tottenville, a personalised design heart to your particular date. (Courtesy/Jillian Manna)

“All of us have a type of joint base with our personal separate entities. It’s a one-stop for weddings, Communions, Candy 16s and different vital occasions. And the thought is that all of us collaborate. We assist each other and distribute playing cards and that’s an ideal factor. Actually, all through the whole pandemic it’s been refreshing to see how Staten Islanders have come collectively and have been supportive of each other.”

Cellphone “design dates” at 347-463-1744, electronic mail designdatesbyjillian@gmail.com or go to https://www.instagram.com/design.dates/

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