Jenna Lee Fowler has always had an eye for style. After graduating from Bradley University with a degree in public relations, she operated Fashion Heist, a mobile apparel showroom, and jlee silver, a contemporary clothing label that made the pages of Lucky, Glamour, and Marie Claire magazines. In 2015, she moved from Chicago to Western Springs and launched Vagabond Botanical. The bespoke plant studio offers inspired arrangements (outdoor planters, succulents, dried flowers), botanical installations, house plants, and workshops throughout the Western Suburbs. When she’s not immersed in her work, the mother of two boys (Jack, 8 and Donnie, 4) volunteers at Forest Hills Elementary and with Home2Home Project.
Mantra? Head up and heart open.
Best grooming tip? Bangs, or as I loving refer to them, “bang-tox.” They’re great at hiding a missed eyebrow appointment and delaying botox. Plus are a fun way to easily change up your look. Danni Sullivan at Solo Salon in the city is the Bang Whisperer.
Guilty pleasure? Spa Days. I love trying different spas. My favorite is Aire Ancient Baths in Chicago. Perfect spot to spend a few hours on a dreary winter day.
Favorite foods? Anything that accompanies a margarita.
Music you love? What I listen to totally depends on my mood. My Pandora play list ranges from Fleetwood Mac to Tupac.
Best advice ever given to you? This too shall pass. It was advice I heard often when I became a mother. And as time has passed it has proven to be great advice for the good times and the difficult times. It really helps to keep things in perspective.
Best advice you’ve given? “How hard can it be?” This is what I told my business partner in my apparel company when our investor told us to make the clothing our boutiques were wanting to sell. We had a successful apparel showroom selling other designer’s clothing, and now we were getting the chance to design our own apparel collection (my childhood dream). My reckless optimism launched my creative entrepreneurial career.
Earliest memory? Roller skating at Fleetwood Roller Rink with my mom.
When you wake up, you? Snuggle with my boys and drink coffee.
Before bed, you? Scroll through social media.
What’s on your bookshelf? I recently finished Calypso by David Foster Wallace while on vacation. Now I’m reading You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy. I try to alternate one fun book and one business book.
You can’t live without? My iPhone. I do everything on my phone.
Love to escape to? Scottsdale, Arizona.
Advice you would give to your younger self? Be patient.
WHEN IN THE COUNTRY
Your style is? Cool mom—denim, combat boots, concert tee, oversized sweater, and a beanie hat.
Can’t leave the house without? My Aimee Kestenberg fanny pack.
Transportation? My Mazda SUV, which is full of plants.
Driving music? John Mayer’s Room for Squares, with the windows and sunroof open.
Place to eat? J. Alexander’s. I know it sounds strange for a place known for their beef, but their veggie burger is delicious.
Best thing about country? Friends and family. An incredible sense of community.
Worst thing about country? The lack of cool things to do on a night out that doesn’t involve going to the city.
The perfect day is? A lazy morning with my boys, late breakfast at Hash Stacks, and a walk through Bemis Woods. Things end with us snuggled up on the couch watching a movie and eating pizza from Salerno’s.
WHEN IN TOWN
Your style is? A mix of Zara and pieces from my clothing line jlee silver. Fashion Forward while still being warm and functional.
Can’t leave the house without? Stylish shoes I can walk in.
Transportation? Heel toe express. I walk everywhere in the city! I love it. You can stumble upon so many cool things you would miss driving.
Driving music? Warren G Regulator or Hip Hop BBQ station on Pandora.
Place to eat? Fried Chicken from Joe’s Stone Crab. Trust me. You will not be disappointed.
Shop? Zara on Michigan Avenue. Milk Handmade on the North Side of the city. Gemini in Wicker Park.
Best thing about town? The energy and the people. I love the city.
Worst thing about town? The traffic! So much traffic!!! I try everything in my power to not drive in the city. Thankfully the train is so convenient.
The perfect day is? Brunch on a snowy afternoon by the fire at RL, Ralph Lauren’s Restaurant on Michigan Avenue. I love to eat in the bar and mingle with the other guests. The place is quaint and filled with interesting characters. A stroll through Ikram for some creative inspiration followed by a drink and an appetizer at Le Colonial. Although I like the new location, there is nothing like the sexy upstairs lounge at their original location on Rush Street. And if I were in my twenties, the night would end with dancing on the tables at Le Passage.