In Studio With Tesa Klein of Wildflowers, Inc.

Tesa Klein is the creative mind behind the Wildflowers, Inc. She has a unique take on western, rural, and repurposed style that resonates with so many in the Midwest. Her work was farmhouse chic before it was cool and it’ll remain relevant to her customers long after chalk paint stops being trendy.

I’ve re-formatted Katie Ryan-Anderson’s original 2015 post so it better reflects where to find Tesa Klein’s creations and showcases a few of Tesa’s photos of her work and inspiration.

As an added bonus, it also fits nicely into my ongoing In Studio series, which profiles how creative people live and work. So here’s what makes Tesa — and her business, Wildflowers, Inc. — tick.

Tesa Klein at work

On a central North Dakota dairy farm, this woman found inspiration in the “udderly” un-beautiful.

Tesa Klein of LaMoure owns and operates Wildflowers, Inc. Tesa’s talent is taking what’s old and up-cycling it into something no one within 100 miles can refuse. Upcycling is a hobby now part of pop-culture, thanks in part, to social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest. But Pinterest wasn’t even a preemie when Tesa gave birth to her shop.

A little Wildflowers Inc. inspiration

Tesa grew up in Adrian, ND, a town of about 50 people 30 miles southeast of Jamestown. Her “traditional North Dakota childhood” included milking cows and showing cattle. She competed across the Upper Midwest, taking pride in the presentation. Part of the fun, she said, was decorating her booth, wearing the red shirts her mom sewed and painting udders with foundation and blush.

She grew up with lots of love, pride, and style, but not so much money. Tesa laughs about what she calls K-Mart compliments – girls at school admired what she wore and never knew its budget-friendly origins.

“Mom was always crafty, so I just learned from her,” Tesa said, of her mother, Pat.

Heart art from Wildflowers, Inc.

By “crafty,” what Tesa means is a professional creative. Pat created items to haul and sell at craft and vendor shows. She even ran her own shop in Adrian, selling items and serving specialty suppers.

If Tesa learned craftiness from her mom, she learned the art of power tools from her dad, Loren. As a teenager, Tesa worked alongside her dad’s crew, framing barns, pouring concrete and carving lodge poles.

A little retro-inspired wit is part of Tesa Klein’s charm.

What’s your personal style?
Cowboy-gypsy. That means big patterns, bright colors, feathers, fur and maybe a little bling. It also means juxtaposing what’s typically feminine with what’s considered masculine. I’ve always had a personal style. Even when I was 10, I’d wear 12 necklaces all at the same time.

What does it take to lead a creative lifestyle?
Flexibility. Open weekends. A supportive spouse. Aggression. And a sense for business. If I’m going to create these pieces, I also need to create an event, advertise it, keep my style consistent, etc.

What does your creative space look like?
Creative chaos. I feel like it’s a waste of time to clean it up.

Tesa Klein’s sewing room

How do you keep yourself motivated?
I have no set routine. I’m loose everywhere. In the morning, I might have coffee, I might not have coffee. I might work out, I might not work out. I’m a creative. I can’t set a schedule.

What’s your biggest regret?
Not finishing college. I started at Valley City State University and then tried Jamestown College (now University of Jamestown). I considered veterinary school and then accounting. That’s what I quit. I knew I didn’t want to sit in an office the rest of my life.

What’s your biggest inspiration?
I like to say creativity is in my “Jeans.” My middle name is Jean, as is my mom, Patricia Jean Rode. Her mother, my grandmother, is the late Jean Miller. She was eccentric, fashion-forward and marched to the beat of her own drum. She used to quilt for the wagon train.

My Grandma Doris Rode inspired me too. She had a knack for sewing, baking, and making do without much. My first auction sales were with her and my mom. They’d always make me carry everything!

Signage from Wildflowers Inc.

What about you?
How do you get inspired to be more creative
What do you create?
Who are your creative role models?

If you want to see more of Tesa Klein’s creations, she sells her work at various events in central North Dakota. Find her at the North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City during the first week of March (and at an event in the building in May), as well as JunkFest and JingleFest in Carrington.

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Alicia Underlee Nelson

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