If you're looking for Meticulous Craftmanship, Original PDF Patterns, and Exceptional Customer Service, be sure to check out this week's Featured Seller - Suzanna from Hold It Right There Bags! She offers Patterns, Girls Purses, Diaper Clutches, E-reader Covers, and so much more!
1) How did you start creating?
I pretty much cannot remember NOT creating. My mother, an artist, encouraged creativity in all forms. Her tolerance threshold for the creative adventures and messes of my five siblings and me was remarkably high. We were all encouraged to draw, build, sew, paint, bake and play musical instruments. My engineer father, meanwhile, built his own airplane, first in our basement, then, in a hangar in the backyard, which he also built. When my younger siblings came along, my father built onto my parents' house to fit their growing family. Oh, and for most of my growing up years, we had no t.v.! (Seriously? How did they do it??!)
One of my earliest memories of creating was joining my brother Daniel to secretly making scads of Christmas presents for our family. The two of us worked like elves in our basement, creating construction paper ornaments. I was especially proud of a piece of tissue paper I adorned with dried dots of water color paint. Daniel, 17 months older than me, grew up to be a professional artist. (see www.danielmarosi.com) I am lucky enough to have some of his amazing paintings now gracing my walls as an adult.
Specifically, I learned to sew in Home Economics in seventh grade. My mother patiently helped me pursue this outside of school, buying me an old sewing machine of my own, and signing me up for a class at Jo-Ann Fabrics. She even wore the first tops I made!
2) What is your favorite thing about creating?
Creating is oxygen for me. When I sew, all of my frayed nerves from mothering three young children mend back together. While most of my days are fragmented into tiny scraps, sewing gives me the satisfaction of designing and creating something well that lasts a great deal longer than my freshly mopped floors or tonight's dinner! Sewing slows down the tempo of my rushed and busy days. To think through a design and sew my idea to completion takes many hours broken into multiple days. This unhurried, unrushed, lingering process of carefully creating beauty, fills up my depleted reserves, and reaches outside the sphere of my home.
3) Where do you find your inspiration?
Very often, standing in line at Target, noticing the bag on the shoulder of the woman in front of me! I observe bags and purses wherever I go. I keep a small sketchbook in my purse to jot down inspiration. Inspiration also comes from a detail I notice on a blouse or a decorative pillow. Other times, I think my inspirations come from the engineering genes I inherited from my father, tinkering with design innovations to solve problems, or accommodate specific items.
4) Tell us about what you sell.
I design and meticulously create bags and accessories. I pour my attention to detail into every element, from the care I take as I layout the fabric to the way I sew in zippers and finish hardware. Designing and sewing bags is one of the very few aspects of my life that is not rushed, and so I take pleasure in creating every element with the excellence and time required.
5) How did your shop get it's name?
I long thought of designing and selling bags, but while my children were babies, my ideas remained in my sketchbook. The name Hold it Right There struck me one day, and it didn't leave. Bags, of course, are for holding things, and the name of my shop is attention-grabbing. It's also playful, especially with the fuschia colored, flowered logo.
The logo itself, my brother designed base on a sketch I sent him. I live in St. Louis, and one day, driving past the Arch, I noticed how much it resembles a purse handle! My logo incorporates the Arch, suggesting the shape of a purse with the layout of my shop name.
6) Do you have any advice for other sellers?
Create what you love and create because you love to. Take joy in your sales, but don't give up when sales are slow. Keep learning to improve your craft or art. When you don't have time to create, which is so frustratingly true as a SAHM/WAHM, keep a sketchbook of your ideas. Never put yourself down for your ideas or for your mistakes. Keep a long term view in mind, knowing you will grow as an artist and creator if you do not quit. If possible, designate a time for you to create, scheduled into your week. 2 to 4 PM is booked for me, nearly daily.
7) How do you balance your Etsy shop, your children, and your everyday schedule?
This is not easy! Most important to me is, I have a very supportive husband. Dennis has reviewed more purse designs than I am sure my football-loving husband ever envisioned. Dennis encourages my creative pursuits because he knows this feeds my soul. And, smart man, he's seen how cranky I get when it's been too long since I've had time alone to create!! When I am discouraged, Dennis is my cheerleader. Sometimes on a Saturday, he takes our three children on a long outing to give me the house to myself and time to sew.
In practical terms, I have commandeered a corner of our small dining room. I keep a large plastic container with my sewing essentials inside, as well as the current project I am working on. Next to it, is my sewing machine. I set up my sewing "studio" at our dining room table most afternoons and clear it all away before I start making dinner. I have a closet in my basement for my additional sewing supplies, organized in labelled shoeboxes. I keep my fabric stash in plastic containers in my basement as well. Oh, and I keep my ironing board and iron handy.
This scene-changing arrangement has worked out very well. For one, when I sew I am nearby my children and can easily get them snacks, or take a break from my sewing for a quick game of Hide & Seek. I also love the window in my dining room, pouring sun in as I sew. By setting up and taking down each time I sew, there is a set beginning and end to my outlet. This distinct timeframe is helpful to me to keep a check and balance on both my family's needs and my needs.
8) Where else can we find you?
And as a special bonus for the readers here she left us a coupon code to use!
For free shipping within the U.S. use the code "SHIPFREE"
That concludes our featured seller for this Friday! Make sure to Follow OwnSomethingAwesome on Facebook or Twitter to stay up-to-date and see when there is a new blog post! And feel free to leave a comment on the shops!