Brianna Kenyon is Pooka Queen; creator of one-of-a-kind fascinators and jewelry. I’ve had my eye on her for a long time; Brianna’s felt hats are like nothing I’d ever seen before. They’re architectural, conversational, and harken back to a time when ladies paid special attention to what they put on their heads. Brianna has been a fixture at craft shows I’ve attended in the past, and so I was thrilled to have the chance to get to know her and her business better. Here, Brianna shares that running your own business isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely worth it.
please introduce yourself.
Hello! My name is Brianna Kenyon and I live, breathe, and dream to make! There is barely a day that goes by that I am not creating. I grew up in Ann Arbor Michigan but moved only two short years ago, to Burbank California. I moved here, married my true love, and live out the dream of being an artist.
what do you make or do?
I have spent the last three years developing my own take on the fascinator under the name Pooka Queen. The birth of P.Q. was a bit of a happy accident while playing with some industrial felt, meant for packaging a jewelry line at the time. I have recently got back into metalsmithing, as it was my first love and what I received my BFA in.
where can we find your creations?
where do you find inspiration?
I like to find inspiration, not only in the things I see around me, but also in the materials themselves. To me, there is excitement in seeing what abilities a material can offer. It was only by exploring a material, its properties, and developing my own techniques, that I discovered that I was making hats. Industrial felt was that first spark of inspiration. I mainly look to nature, architecture and geometry for my aesthetic and forms.
when you’re not making things, what do you do?
Not to say that Michigan is not a beautiful state, but since moving to California, I just love hiking and exploring the outdoors. I hike to clear my mind as well as fill it with new ideas for my work. The colors, textures and creatures I see along the way, always seem to find their way into my work.
how long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
I decided, when moved to California, I was going to make a full go at developing Pooka Queen as a sustainable career. It has been a bit of an uphill battle, as I think all businesses are in their burgeoning years. I have had some lucky breaks along the way, as well as tons of support from friends, family, and most of all, my customers.
After a feature on Etsy back in 2012, as well as participating in lots of craft shows, I am starting to see things moving in a positive direction.
what’s on the horizon for you and what you do?
After doing some recent contract work for a few costume houses, I have hopes to start getting more into costuming. I am also focusing this next year on finding the right boutiques to carry my work. It has been really tough to get to this stage, seeing as I am the only worker to fill all the facets of the business. I have persevered though, knowing full well it is the only way to get to the next stage.
if money wasn’t an issue how would your life change with regards to your art?
I really wish I could go back to school for fashion. There are just not enough hours in the day to make every idea that pops into an artist’s head. It is our sad reality. I would also love to have a studio space full of shop tools. I love tools!