By Keri Langhorst
Featured in Make It Minnesota’s Winter 2014 issue.
Minnesota Sno Flakes, a small business based out of North Mankato, is the creation of the artist Jane Laven. Jane makes handmade, specialized sun catchers that she markets online and at local craft shows.
Jane creates her Sno Flakes first by soldering wire to fit her design. Her brother and other family members help her solder the wire at her brother’s farm. She then adds silver-lined, high quality, Czech glass beads. She orders the beads from a company in Washington that imports from the Czech Republic. She finishes them with dazzling Swarovski crystals. The end result is a beautiful, hand crafted, beaded sun catcher.
Jane got started 11 years ago by simply assembling beaded kits for her sons’ teachers as gifts. From there her business has taken off! Jane has orders she fulfills for Minnesota State University-Mankato, Gustavus Adolphus College, and Relay for Life. She has a map of the world hanging on her wall to tag where her Sno Flakes have been. They have been to France, Germany, and South America.
Jane is always dreaming of new patterns or color schemes of beads and is open to customers’ special requests too. She has incorporated some of her customers’ ideas in her product line, such as a smaller 3-inch Sno Flake.
The Sno Flakes are as wholesome as the inventor. Her family is involved in the process of making the Sno Flakes, as well as being supportive.
Jane would like her potential buyers to know that she enjoys the challenge of a special order. She has done nine years of her Holiday Series. This year the Holiday Sno Flake is purple. Jane also engraves every Sno Flake with the year it was made.
So go ahead and browse the Minnesota Sno Flakes website (www.mnsnoflakes.com) if you’re looking for a special gift or a beautiful handcrafted ornament. If by chance you don’t see a pattern or color you’re looking for, contact Jane, and she’d be happy to take the challenge of fulfilling a new request.