Jen Tiberi has excellent taste. Her carefully curated Etsy shop, website, and Instagram page show image after image of gorgeous midcentury modern furniture and cushions in a variety of beautiful updated fabrics.
No matter how good your taste is, building a business off of it during a pandemic is no easy task. Tiberi had offered upholstery and pillow-making services in Savannah, GA, where she attended Savannah College of Art and Design and completed a BFA in Fibers. While she knew there would be a market for custom upholstery in a city like Philadelphia, she found that navigating the process of properly registering her business, understanding upholstery labeling requirements, and paying the proper taxes in a new state was daunting to navigate on her own.
Tiberi reached out to the Temple Small Business Development Center in the fall of 2021. She initially reached out to discuss these licensing and legal requirements and ended up working with her consultant Isabel on other aspects of business planning as well. Temple SBDC was able to provide research support, and Jen Tiberi Handmade LLC was formalized in January 2022.
The Jen Tiberi Handmade website reflects Jen’s collaborative and artistic working style by showcasing her partnerships and collaborations with local businesses. Where many small business owners are focused on competing with each other, Jen recognizes the strength that comes from partnerships with businesses that share values and aesthetics, saying “Some of my favorite work has developed from partnerships.” She has worked with local women-owned chalk-making company TWEE, launched a near-zero waste furniture project with sustainable clothing duo Lobo Mau that features upcycled furniture, sourced organic and local printed textiles, and partnered with midcentury modern experts at The Modern Republic.
For midcentury modern furniture lovers in the Philadelphia area, Jen Tiberi Handmade is a must-see!