JENNA MILLER, ARCHITEC BRANDS
Jenna Miller: Architec Brands®
Jenna Miller, born in Pennsylvania, raised in Boca Raton, moved to Delray Beach 20 years ago, and launched her business right here at the heart of Delray (off of 4th ave), Architec Brands. “This building used to be an automotive tire place for Goodyear tires. We had to get special permits from the EPA to remove the underground installations they had in place to treat cars”.
Her family bought the building 18 years ago, originally for their lawn and gardening company, Plastec. She later converted the space to feature her own brand designs as Architec Brands.
Architec Brands®, is a woman-run kitchen products brand using fundamentals of architecture to design better kitchen wear, cooking and household products. Architects at heart, the designers naturally wonder how they can apply basic principles of architecture and engineering to improve the function of houseware products used every day. From cutting boards, tools and gadgets to baking accessories, Architec’s sub-brands span most categories in the Housewares Industry. With business growing at a rapid pace, Architec Brands® doesn’t take their success for granted, giving back a portion of the profits to Project Restore a Wholesome Future™ and Bake for Benny™ (both Architec-initiated community projects).
Entering the space feels like a visit into the future. An artistic feel with abstract wall art, the brands/products are presented like an art collection with designated spots and lighting fixtures. Her 17 year old blind and deaf dog Molly, is walking around the office welcoming visitors with excitement. Her daughter pretended to be sick to stay out of school “I forgot one of my earrings on my kitchen counter” Jenna recalls “that’s just life, running a business with two children”.
The original innovation that put the company on the map was the gripper cutting board “it’s a patented product that took 2 years to develop, with a lot of trial and error, but eventually we got it right.” Jenna secured distribution with Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target and Cosco, all on her own by picking up the phone and calling their buyers. It was the first and only no-slide cutting board innovation “People used wash cloths before to hold down their cutting board from sliding”. It is still a top preforming product (top 30) in their list of over 300 products. Added product lines after include: Indian Sheesham cutting board (sustainable wood from India), EcoSmart™ products – all American made products created out of recyclable material (EcoSmart™ saved 2 million containers from landfill); and Homegrown Gourmet™ products such as a Strawberry patch tower and Harvest Windowsill Box– incepted by Jenna out of the realization that today’s foodie and home growers are the same person “Chefs grow their own food now”.
“My mind never stops. I wake up at 2am sketching products”.
Jenna is married to Bryan Miller, and they have two kids – son, Jackson (12), and daughter, Harper (8). After a night of bad dreams and nightmare by her older brother, Harper over-heard Jenna explaining to him the power of positive thinking and intention before bed time. Having the active mind her mom has, Harper came up with the idea for her brother to write down a list of all his positive thoughts and dreams, and put it in his pillow case before he goes to bed. That idea became a new product line, invented by Jenna’s 8-year-old daughter, and came to life this month – The Dream Pillow. “My friend and I developed a story book to go along with the pillow over a bottle of wine” Jenna discloses with laughter.
While most of the products by Architec Brands® can be found in large retailers, their independent lines of Homegrown Gourmet and Madeira products can be found locally at The O.G. who opened its doors for local companies to showcase and sell their products. In their plans – use some of the homegrown products to create an outdoor garden of fresh produce, right at the back yard of the. O.G. “I love The O.G., that place is blowing my mind! It’s made like it’s been here forever”. Brian Rosen, the co-founder and owner of The O.G. and a commercial real estate expert, introduced me to Jenna and joined the conversation. The two chatted about surrounding old buildings who were automotive spaces before as well and later converted into successful local/national businesses “Maybe it’s lucky”, they laughed.
Watching Delray grow and evolve is their common ground “I love Delray. I miss it when I go out of town”, Jenna shared “The people here are so friendly and supportive. There is no competition, just collaboration. I don’t know how this town attracts so many good people like that”.
Architec Brands® is not only a female owned operation, but 85% of the company are women “I find that women who work together can get a lot more done in a very short amount of time. We accomplish amazing things using our multi-tasking skills”. When I asked what was the most challenging part in her career was, she said “It was all challenging. We tend to think that it’s going to be easy, bringing products to life, but the universe has a way of always putting obstacles in our way. I learned to anticipate them. No matter how long I’ve been doing this, there will still always be obstacles to overcome. We always have to think of new ways to create what we want and bring it all to life”.
Architec Brands® is working with inventors who present new products every year. Jenna and her team have to select which products they want to work with “Unfortunately most rarely make it to the end. People don’t anticipate challenge. Reality is nothing is easy, but it’s so worth it at the end”.
Currently with 5 product lines, and 300 products available, Jenna is rocking it as a national brand, right here locally in Delray.
While Architec Brands’ products are available nationally at mega retailers, their Homegrown Gourmet™ and Madeira™ products can be found here locally at The O.G. - 166 SE 2nd Ave, Delray Beach, FL 33444.
Products can be viewed online at: www.architecproducts.com