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Aleene's Story

“You can't use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” -- Maya Angelou

Aleene Jackson: Craft Industry Trailblazer

Aleene Jackson – entrepreneur, inventor of Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue and craft industry icon – was featured in the January 5, 1953 issue of LIFE Magazine because her Fibre & Floral Supply Company was regarded as one of the fastest growing and most successful businesses of the time.

During this same time period, she began making regular appearances on local Los Angeles and West Coast television shows, including Art Linkletter, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Gypsy Rose Lee and Dinah Shore. In the late 1960s, Aleene launched her Craftmaker’s Caravan, traveling to various cities and teaching people the art of affordable crafting at home. People lined up around the block everywhere the Craftmaker’s Caravan went. This wildly popular venture essentially launched the DIY crafting industry we know today!

Aleene’s Creative Living Show

Forever an entrepreneur, Aleene launched yet another venture – the Aleene’s Creative Living Show – in 1985. The show was all about DIY crafts and aired on TLC, Lifetime and The Nashville Network (TNN) for more than 15 years, becoming TNN’s top-rated show during its tenure. Two of Aleene’s daughters, Tiffany Windsor and Heidi Borchers, who’d grown up under the tutelage of their highly creative mother, were show hosts along with Aleene.

To this day, the Aleene’s Creative Living Show is a vintage fan favorite among crafters!


Aleene's Timeline

  • Aleene arrives!

    1924

    Here's the earliest photo that we have found so far in the archive files. Aleene Jackson was born January 20, 1924 so we think that this photo was taken in mid-1925 with her mother Vera.

  • The marriage

    1942

    Here are pictures of Mom and Dad around the time they married in 1942. Mom would have been around 18 and Dad would have been around 20 years old.

  • Where the business started!

    1944

    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN . . . drum-roll please . . . where it all began . . . this is Mom's Seller's Permit dated 7-31-44. This would have been the date that she officially opened her first business - Arcadia Florist in Arcadia, California. She was 20 years old

  • Baby Candace arrives!

    1944

    Here's a great 4 generation photo taken in May 1947 of baby Candace at 4 months along with Great Grandmother Nettie Alice Evans Jackson, Vera Jackson and Aleene.

  • Family

    1948

    THE EARLY YEARS . . .This photo was taken in July 1948 after the birth of our brother Fred. Candace is the toddler and that handsome man - he's our wonderful father, Woody Hershman. Not much was shared in print about Dad over the years. He was a behind-the scenes kinda guy. He was responsible for all the early family photos and he handled all the art layout and printing for the early-years Aleene's instruction sheets, newsletters and books.

  • Aleene's Make Your Own Corsage Kit

    1949

    On Friday April 1, 1949, this ad ran in the Los Angeles Examiner announcing that the Aleene's Make Your Own Corsage Kit was available for purchase at Bullock's Downtown (Los Angeles).

    The kit included everything that you needed to make 25 corsages including: "gay ribbons, floratape, corsage pins, wax paper, wire...a whole kit to give you fun and pleasing results. The kit sold for $2.95.

  • Aleene's Floral Supply new store!

    1950

    OK - we're going to try to build the timeline for you of the Aleene's business. As we shared, Aleene started her first business in 1944 at the age of 19, a florist shop, located in Arcadia, California. Her first child, Candace was born in January of 1947 and Aleene decided shortly thereafter that she needed to close the florist shop. She started teaching flower arranging classes out of her home. As the class attendance grew, so did the number of delivery trucks and her neighbors soon grew weary of the constant stream of trucks delivering flower making supplies.

  • Aleene's Wood Fibre - the history

    1950

    While the earliest wood fibre instructions we find in the Aleene's archives are dated 1951, it wasn't until the August 1954 issue of The Petal Pusher, the official newsletter of Aleene’s Dealers, that the first full article appeared that offered the “first in a series of educational articles designed to acquaint the floral enthusiast with the many materials used in floral designing. Here is the story of how Wood Fibre was made reprinted in its original entirety from The Petal Pusher image posted to the right:

  • The start of Aleene's television career

    1951

    Sometime around 1951, Aleene got the idea to go on television with her "Make Your Own Corsage" kits. She had first learned about television in 1942 when she had seen it being previewed at the old Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard.

  • Aleene on KTTV - HIA Television

    1952

    We're not sure of the exact dates, but based on Aleene's hairstyles in other photos at this time, in about 1952 Aleene became involved with helping book hobby model guests for segments on a show hosted by Dick Whittinghill on KTTV in Los Angeles.

  • Aleene's Fibre & Floral Supply Co. New Location Grand Opening

    1952

    In November 1952, Aleene's opened their new location in Temple City California. For this event, Aleene arranged for searchlights and television coverage. It was quite an event for this community.

  • Rose Parade Television Coverage

    1953

    On New Years Day 1953, Aleene joined Ray Maypole (KTTV) for color commentary of the line-up of Rose Parade floats. Aleene described for the viewing audience, the various floral decorations on the floats lined up on Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, California.

  • Life Magazine

    1953

    1953 started off with a bang for Aleene when her business was featured in the January 5, 1953 issue of Life Magazine. The entire issue was devoted to the American Economy and Aleene's Fibre & Floral Supply Company was featured in this issue.

  • Aleene on Al Jarvis TV Show

    1955

    Aleene & Betty White on the Al Jarvis Show (1954) Why does this photo look like this? It is a photograph of the image on the actual television set of the era!

  • The Petal Pusher Newsletter

    1955

    In 1955, a monthly newsletter called The Petal Pusher served as the source of information for the Aleene's customers. The topic of the time was fresh vs artificial flowers and encouraging words were given to the students to "be as proud to display the exquisitely hand fashioned flowers from wood fibre in your home, as you would be to display an original painting, for both have been created by artists."

  • Aleene on Art Linkletter TV Show

    1962

    In the early 1960's, Aleene's popularity grew and she continued to make regular television appearances on top national daytime talk shows of the time. Here she is pictured with her signature wood fibre flowers which she demonstrated on the Art Linkletter Show (CBS).

  • Aleene on Tennessee Ernie Ford TV Show

    1965

    It was after Aleene had been in the world of television for awhile that that she had enough "gumption" to approach Tennessee Ernie Ford, who at the time had one of the most popular shows on national TV (The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show 1962-1965).

  • Aleene on Tom Frandsen FYI TV Show

    1967

    Then came the Tom Frandsen FYI show on NBC in 1967. Tom insisted that Aleene become a regular show on his popular program. It was through Tom's show that the Aleene's Craft Caravan got so much exposure and helped to draw more than 20,000 to that first event. During the time that Aleene made her weekly appearances on The Tom Frandsen Show, she met lots of really interesting guests such as Lorne Green, who was the star of "Bonanza."

  • The Aleene's Craftmaker's Caravan

    1968

    "I don't know what inspired me to come up with the idea for a Craftmaker's Caravan, but like most good ideas, it was the follow-through that made it a great success, both for us [the Aleene's business] and for the crafts industry as a whole."

  • The Aleene's Craftmaker's Caravan

    1972

    Mom recalls that on her first appearance on the Dinah Shore show, there was also a first-time guest for Dinah. His name was Burt Reynolds.

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