Jaclyn Woznicki is the owner of Trunk Show, the award-winning shop in The Cobblestone in Tahoe City. In her shop you will find an eclectic collection of whimsical art and unique gift ideas, including her own jewelry. You will also find the little fireball of positivity, get-‘er-done personality and the mile-wide smile that is Jaclyn Woznicki.
Woznicki was raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and went to college in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. “That was where I discovered that I loved the mountains,” she says.
After college, she came to visit some of her college buddies who were living in Tahoe.
“I was supposed to be here three days — it ended up being a week and when I got home to Philly, I looked around and said, ‘I can’t live here anymore.’ I moved here seven weeks later.” When she arrived in 2004, she lived on a friend’s couch for a few months before she could come up with the cash to rent her own place. She worked at Rosie’s waiting tables and then as a bartender at Pete n’ Peter’s for six years. Eventually, she was able to pursue her true passions: art and community.
“I’ve been a jewelry designer since I was 5 and sneaking into my mom’s jewelry box. She grounded me over and over until my grandmother Lucia suggested they give me tools to do my own stuff,” she says. Lucia also called her “Bella Petunia,” which is the now the name of her jewelry line.
While working as a bartender, she started her business selling jewelry to stores and doing arts and crafts fairs.
“I made friends with all the artists and then started organizing a show of my own: the Deflowered Arts Show,” she says.
After four years of success with these events and increasing interest in her jewelry, she took the giant leap of faith and opened Trunk Show. Trunk Show focuses only on local artists because Woznicki wants to work directly with whom she represents, but also because it enables her business to be more environmentally sustainable. Most of the art is brought directly into her shop by the local artists, instead of being packed in plastic and sent across the country. She also tries to accept only products made from recycled or organic materials that are good for the environment.
“I’m constantly inspired by the artists. We bounce ideas off each other.
It’s been really awesome to have so many artists respect my opinion.”
“I’m constantly inspired by the artists. We bounce ideas off each other. It’s been really awesome to have so many artists respect my opinion; to take my advice to turn ideas into something tangible,” she says.
Woznicki says that she believes in the power of networking and in giving back to the community. She is always ready to promote other businesses in Tahoe City. When the Tahoe City Downtown Association started First Fridays, Trunk Show promoted it, served refreshments and became a highlight of the event.
“I try to get Tahoe City to participate,” she says.
The beginning of every summer she holds a fundraiser for a local nonprofit or family. She has supported the Tahoe SAFE Alliance, the Lake Tahoe Dance Collective and the Yorkeys, a local family that needed help. She takes donations from local businesses and artists in the store and has a silent auction and raffle prizes while serving refreshments. Her support of the Lake Tahoe Dance Collective is ongoing. She sells tickets for its events at her store and her new husband, Vince Abbatecola, donates his sound system for the performances.
“Jaclyn is not only a talented artist, but a forward-thinking entrepreneur. She has been an integral partner in fundraising for Lake Tahoe Dance Collective because she recognizes quality in all the artists she supports and promotes through her business. I am happy to call her a friend, as well,” says Lake Tahoe Dance Collective artistic director Christin Hanna Madigan.
Woznicki’s father had a stroke on June 25 and several times during the summer she drove to Los Angeles to spend time with him, in and out of the hospital.
“Sleeping on the floor of the ER. Not knowing if he was going to make it, to thinking he is going to make it, to getting mobility and then making this amazing recovery. I get my people skills from my dad. He had the whole hospital in the palm of his hand,” she says.
She is the ultimate hands-on small businessperson, so it was hard for her to have to turn to friends and employees to take up the slack while she needed to be out of town this summer.
“It was very tough. I felt empty inside,” she says.
Then a friend had an extra ticket to Burning Man and she headed off on her first trip to the playa. “It was what I needed. The whole city was art. I was able to open up and let go. I’m still processing everything. I definitely feel more connected to lots of artists. It made me want to collaborate,” she says.
Whatever collaboration and ideas she has, you will see them come to fruition in her shop. Those amazing creations that have been a part of who she is since she was a 5-year-old girl sneaking into her mom’s jewelry box.
For more information, visit tahoetrunkshow.com.