Meet Jordan Ellis: The mind behind The Sartorial Geek’s magazine and podcast


Jordan Ellis is an entrepreneur and geeky gal. We talked to her about her magazine, The Sartorial Geek, and how she strives to go above and beyond.

If anyone is a testament to how hard work and determination can get you far, it’s Jordan Ellis. She’s the mind behind the brand Jordandené, which features apparel and other merchandise that will speak to your inner-geek.

Now, she’s building up her community with the launch of a magazine and a podcast that’s feminine-focused and nerdy at heart. Culturess talked to Ellis about how she got her start, what it is like to be an entrepreneur plus what her favorite nerdy musings are.

How did you start your brand?

I started the brand because I wanted geeky and feminine products together that were well designed. It was seven years ago, so there wasn’t as much out there yet. I wanted to make stuff that I wanted to buy.

Was the process of starting a business easy or hard for you as a young entrepreneur?

Super hard. When I started, I was the only person doing it because I didn’t have any resources. Now, there are so many online classes, Facebook communities and ways to find how to do it that I actually didn’t know about when I started.

Do you have a background in business?

No, I went to school for elementary education. Then, I moved to New York. When I  graduated, I lived in Pennsylvania. I didn’t have any connections in New York Public Schools, but also I realized that teaching is the hardest [job] ever. So I nannied out of school. I’d just been slowly looking up business classes and stuff. But I have no formal education in business at all.

I did get kind of lucky. I’m married, and my husband runs an ad agency. I could watch him hire his first employee and then ask those questions. That helped me a lot, too.

There’s a lot of cool merchandise on your website. What would you say is your favorite piece that you’ve been able to sell?

I really like the tank tops. That was the first thing that we did in clothing. It was cool because there aren’t a lot of feminine tank tops that aren’t just for the gym. And so, they’re really versatile. You can wear them to the gym; you can wear them as pajamas; you can also wear them under a blazer and to work.

How do you come up with all the cool quotes for the shirts?

They almost always have some meaning behind them. So they either come from a pivotal moment for a character, or [they are] a motivating quote or a positive message. They make sense, even if you have never seen the thing it’s referencing. I try to have it be a positive message for anyone who reads it. 

How did you decide to go from selling merchandise to starting a magazine?

It started as a brand exercise. I was trying to figure out what content to do for the blog and social media, so I asked the question, “If we had a magazine, what would you like to see in it?” And then the response to that was, “You should have a magazine!” So I looked at the chain like, this is enough people to actually put a magazine together.

How long did it take to create the magazine?

It came together in six weeks. It was so crazy. We started thinking about it January 1st. I asked my two friends if they would be interested, and then they said yes. Then we sent it to print, like, February 12th.

Wow! That fast?

Yeah, it was very crazy. Everyone who was involved crushed it and did a great job — and had such a quick turnaround. The response has been awesome.

How did you find your cover story?

Allison [Cimino] at RockLove designs the jewelry, and Robyn Warren from Geek Girl Strong is the model on the cover. The photographer that I use a lot on my site is great and is New York-based. Robyn has been a model for me on Jordandené a few time, and I know Allison as just another geeky business owner. So, she wanted to do a photo shoot for the Black Panther jewelry that she had coming out; she asked me if we could arrange it so Robin could model [and] my photographer could be the photographer.

Robyn Warren modeling the RockLove jewelry collection for Black Panther. Photo courtesy of

I was like, “If you’re already doing a really cool photo shoot, and you want to come hang out anyway, do you mind if we just come write a story about it?”

What sort of areas do you want to cover in the magazine?

The over-arching idea is “geeky lifestyle.” That isn’t really a phrase yet; that doesn’t really exist. So it’s definitely all with a feminist lean where it’s not exclusively working with women, but [there’s] a lot of female voices in stories — and a combination of geeky fashion and home life. And then geeky events that are happening, like big things in pop culture or conventions.

With The Sartorial Geek and Jordandené merchandise, would you want to keep your brand small or grow bigger?

Every little thing that we’ve tried to go bigger so far has not worked. So I’m definitely not against the idea. I reevaluated this year, thinking we’ll plan to stay small and then do things that are big projects like the magazine.

And, we started a podcast to go along with the magazine. I love talking to people, but I couldn’t really figure out a way that it made sense with the clothing company. As soon as we got the magazine to work, I was like this is how the podcast makes sense. It’s the exact same vibe as the magazine.

What’s the name of your podcast?

It’s the same as the magazine.  It’s The Sartorial Geek Podcast. So we’ll talk about the magazine and the podcast on @SartorialGeek everywhere.

Has being geeky or nerdy always been part of your identity?

When I was a kid, definitely. I played with Pokemon cards when I was a kid, and I had all the Star Wars action figures — up until the end of elementary school. And then, I don’t know what happened but I lost it in middle school, high school and most of college.

And then moving to New York, I don’t know when I got back into it but I was like, “Oh yeah, here’s all the stuff I love!” I read all the Harry Potter books at the end of college once they came out. I freaked out about those. And Marvel started really ramping up all their movies. And then I just got sucked right back in. Now I’m fully in it!

Do you have a favorite Marvel character from the comic books or movies?

I used to say Captain America, but then Black Panther came out, and it’s like everyone from that movie. All the women in Black Panther are now my favorite.

Lastly, what’s your Hogwarts house?

I’m a Hufflepuff. I love Hufflepuffs now.  I was sad before, but I feel like they are the best!

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The Sartorial Geek magazine is available for free on The podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify and other podcast services.