Write the Story As You Go

Write the Story As You Go

by Jenny Ostoj March 24, 2019

I recently listened to a podcast with a message that resonated with me*. The primary take-away was that we don’t always have to understand how each decision or action will play out as we are experiencing it. Today, we are exactly where we need to be.

I love that concept. We all write our own stories as we go, and sometimes it can feel jumbled and disjointed from day-to-day. But often there are themes that stitch together over time that start to make sense.

After some reflection, I see how this is true with my own path.


In high school, I was driven (somewhat literally) to obtain a job as quickly after turning 16 as possible because the deal struck with my parents was that I could have a car if I could pay for the insurance. I have always loved a good plan of attack, so it wasn’t surprising that I had lined up my DMV appointment on my birthday and obtained my license that day so that I could drive myself to my first job (also starting that same week).  

The job was at a small town gift boutique, and it was there that I learned to “professionally” wrap gifts and keep the displays clean and dust free. But I also got a behind the scenes view of what it meant to run a boutique retail business. As I gained experience, I was trusted to handle inventory, make displays, and play a larger role in customer service.


In college, I focused my studies on what I thought would be most practical and useful: A major in business administration and a minor in Spanish language. My economics professor urged me to consider study abroad to tie the two together, so I spent the spring my my junior year in Spain. And it completely changed my life.


The experience of living in a different country quickly changed my outlook and priorities for a career, and I spent the next 8 years working in higher education where I could prepare students for their own life-changing study abroad experiences. That role cultivated my interest in diversity and my quest to understand different perspectives.

Seeking new challenges, I utilized my higher education tuition benefit to go back to school and was again pulled toward the most practical choice: Master of Business Administration. Working full time while being enrolled in such an intense business program taught me a lot about myself and my limits. But most of all, I learned creative problem solving skills and tactics for team building.


With my MBA in hand, I itched for another significant shift. As a lifelong learner, I was intrigued by the fast paced and every-changing world of technology. After reflecting on my ability to create and execute plans and love of working in teams, I determined that project management was the best fit.

I spent the next 8 years working with teams focused on website strategy, design and development, which afforded me the opportunity to deeply understand the intersection of marketing and technology. 

I have made lasting connections with many of my colleagues from this industry and  I “grew up” in that role. I learned how to ask questions, and think strategically. I learned the importance of customer experience, and how that should drive business decisions. I learned about technical platforms, requirements gathering, metrics, and most importantly, how to execute and deliver on plans (and how to pivot quickly when things don’t go as expected).


Solving business challenges for large corporations was interesting and required thinking outside the box, but I still craved using a different side of my brain. On the weekends, I started "making things" with my hands, and it eventually became clear that something brewed inside of me that warranted another big life change.

I started out hand stitching leather and making small gifts by hand, but quickly transitioned to machine sewing. Most of my learning in the early days was trial and error, and none of it was done in a formal classroom.

My process was:

  • Find a product I liked on Pinterest
  • Think about all of the parts that I would need construct and in what order
  • Find as many YouTube videos as possible to learn each element of the construction

I got really good at using a seam ripper (for all of the mistakes, hah!) and most of my original work didn’t turn out exactly as expected, but that early exploration taught me how to deconstruct my ideas and think of designs like building blocks.

My natural eye for detail combined with my drive for precision are the foundational elements that contribute to my commitment to high quality craftsmanship today.


Looking at each of the components of my story in isolation, you might not see how it all fits together. I know I didn't. But it all came together in the right place in the right time.

So what does it all mean?

No path is straight and unwavering. Think back on your own journey. Have you made choices that felt uncomfortable at the time, that later seemed to fit well into a greater life plan?

And always remember: Regardless of how chaotic or jumbled life may feel, today you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

*The podcast that inspired this topic was


If you like this post, don't forget to subscribe to my mailing list at the bottom of this page to ensure you receive all of the latest news and information from Jo Rose Design. I have exciting future plans that you won't want to miss!

Jenny Ostoj
Jenny Ostoj


Would you like to leave us a comment?

Comments will be approved before they show up.

Also in Journal

A commitment to social change
A commitment to social change

by Jenny Ostoj June 08, 2020

As a small business owner and maker, personal life and work are almost fully intertwined for me. Until now, I held my personal views closer to my chest for fear of alienating others. But the more I learn about social injustice, the more I realize I cannot stand in silence any longer. Having poured over the real stories and hardships of our Black community over the past week, I now understand that the livelihoods of others depend on my voice, and all of our voices. I have been ignorant and complacent for too long. Here is my commitment toward this movement.

Read More

Dog wearing waxed canvas backpack
Product Spotlight: Commuter Backpack

by Jenny Ostoj May 21, 2020

I am so excited to officially announce that the Commuter Backpack is now available! 

This ridiculously cute dog backpack has launched in four color options -- navy blue, hunter green, burgundy red, and chocolate brown -- with coordinating plaid interior.

It might be helpful to understand a bit about my background to see how the pieces lined up for this product to come to life.

Several years ago I started to make bags and accessories (for humans) that fit needs for travel, work, and life under the brand name Jo Rose Design. Organically this evolved into prototyping stylish yet functional products I desired as a dog owner. 

Read More

Super simple sweet potato dog chew recipe
Super simple sweet potato dog chew recipe

by Jenny Ostoj April 30, 2020

These days, many people are finding themselves baking and cooking more at home. I’ve enjoyed way more than my fair share of homemade brownies, cookies, and scones. To the point that my waistband has called for a time out. ⁠

So I’ve started seeking out recipes and treats to make for the pups instead. One of our current favorites is SUPER easy and only takes one ingredient: A sweet potato or yam!

Read More

Sizing Chart

Measuring your Dog

It is highly recommended that you measure your dog before choosing a size. The following image outlines how to accurately capture three important measurements - neck, length, and chest - so that you get the best possible fit for your pup.

side profile of dog indicating dog apparel measurement points


Jacket Size Chart

Custom jacket orders can be accommodated if you need a dog coat with measurements in between sizes or larger sizing. Contact us to get additional information on this process.




10 in 13-18 in up to 11 in 10

12 in

14-20 in
up to 14 in 12
14 in 16-22 in up to 16 in 14
16 in
18-26 in
up to 17 in 16
19 in
22-30 in
up to 20 in 19
22 in
24- 32 in
up to 21 in 22
25 in 26- 36 in up to 22 in 25


Backpack Size Chart

dog backpack fit guide

 Bandana Size Chart

Measurements below indicate product length. If looser fit is desired, add 1-2 inches to your dog's neck measurement when choosing a size.

Neck Size
12-15 in S
16-19 in M
20-23 in L
24-29 in XL