Jane Datsko's Handcrafted GoodsFeb 28, 2020 11:00AM ● By Hannah Lanier
Story by Hannah Lanier
Photos courtesy of Datsko Handcrafted Goods by Jane
DATSKO handcrafted goods by Jane is a social media shop on Instagram selling leather goods designed through a combination of faith and determination.
Owner Jane Datsko is a daughter of Ukrainian immigrants with a bachelor’s degree in translation and interpretation, working as a sign language interpreter and following her wildest dreams as a leather goods craftswoman.
Datsko always looked for a creative outlet, but settled on leather after taking a random course in Fresno and discovering her talent for leather craftsmanship.
Shortly after a piqued interest in leather, Datsko sought mentorship from fellow leather craftsman Odin Clark of Odin Leather Goods in Texas. He was only the first member of a continually growing community of encouragement for Datsko.
That same community encouraged her to participate in her first vendor opportunity at a friend’s show in October 2018. The craftswoman was shocked at the wave of support she received from strangers. “People didn’t know me, I didn’t know them, but they were willing to invest in me,” she says.
Despite the abundance of encouragement from friends and strangers, Datsko didn’t always receive that same support from her family. “‘I feel so bad for wanting to be, to grow, to create. I feel like I need someone’s approval to let me know that art is not a waste of time,” she says, reflecting on a conversation with the pastor of her church.
Growing up in a household whose culture had expectations for women to cook, clean and care for the children, Datsko’s dreams of craftsmanship seemed unrealistic. “Art wasn’t really fond of for anyone in the Ukrainian culture,” explains Datsko. “Then I started to finally have courage to do what I love.”
Shortly after beginning her leather craftsmanship, her parents acknowledged her talents and encouraged her. Datsko explained her parents’ change of heart: “My dad said he ‘would rather lose his culture than his daughter.’”
Since then, DATSKO has been a dream come true. She opened her Instagram shop in January 2019, and taking time and effort to develop the perfect, affordable and ageless piece is Datsko’s goal. Pouring anywhere from five to 12 hours into each piece is her commitment to quality.
With items from as big as a tote bag to as small as a dog collar, “take your time,” the owner advises.
Datsko knew that wherever she ended up in life, she would have a brand, something that embodied who she is as a layered person. Pulling inspiration from her family history and name, DATSKO was inspired.
Her logo, however, was designed five years before her Instagram shop even launched. She made an effort to create “something no one has ever seen before,” which resulted in the combination of a deer and a zebra cut directly in half. “I cut it in half and said, ‘That’s it.’ Jane Datsko is evolving. I haven’t arrived,” she says.
Throughout her venture into craftsmanship, Datsko has been lucky enough to have a community that supports her, from strangers who are willing to buy her goods to friends who have let her work in their warehouse and welcomed her with words of affirmation into the chaotic business world.
Yet, she understands that not everyone has that. For someone in that situation, “I hope that person just begins,” Datsko says. “I know what goes into creating and now I love to support locals. If they don’t have time to make something, go out and find the beauty in something being handcrafted.”
“Invest in your community.”•
DATSKO handcrafted goods by Jane
Find her on Instagram
Hannah Lanier is a freelance writer and news editor of The Rampage at Fresno City College. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mass communication journalism from Fresno State University. Keep up with her on Instagram @newsviahannahlanier.