Today has been a long time coming, and I really couldn’t be more excited to introduce the first of several(!) new contributors to Try Handmade.
Leah Peterson is a master interviewer, and she has graciously agreed to join the team and work her magic on the finest makers around. Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the workshop of your favorite artist? Leah will deliver the goods to you every week in the first new Try Handmade column: “Focus on Makers with Leah Peterson”
Join me in welcoming her, and please make her feel at home :)
Erin Bruce at Kitty Empire creates the most lovely purses, wristlets, wallets and messenger bags, which are sturdy enough to hold a laptop. Her products are all 100% vegan. Continue reading to find out where she gets her ideas and what she eats for breakfast. Don’t forget to check out her items on sale!
What are vegan products? Why is that important to you?
Vegan products are made without using any animal products (wool, leather, etc). Animal rights are hugely important to me and I try to focus on that with this business. I also donate 5% of my sales each month to a different animal charity.
Do you have pets?
3 cats named Sebastian, Belvedere and Smokey.
How long have you been sewing? Why do you sew?
I’ve been sewing on and off since I was a teenager. I find it to be a great creative outlet and also very calming (despite the occasional frustration).
Can you explain your process?
I come up with a design idea then draw out the stencils and the bag pattern. Then I usually make a prototype that I can give to a friend and get feedback. If all goes well, I start production.
Your designs are so fun and whimsical! Where do you get your ideas?
I can get ideas from anything really. Fairy tales, art, my ceramic animal collection and just random ideas that pop into my head.
Do you have a favorite piece you’ve created?
Hmmm. Maybe the Red Ridinghood messenger bag. My favourites change.
Do you do any other types of crafts/art?
I make some pillows, mobiles and sometimes stuffed animals, but mostly only as gifts for friends.
Do you sell your products in stores?
I sell at a few local stores, but I don’t have time for crafts shows. This is my little side business, my full time job takes up the rest of my time.
What were you like as a kid?
I was a bit shy, but very creative. I’ve always had very creative friends and my mom is extremely artistic so there was always some sort of art project on the go.
Tell me more about you…?
My favourite color is green. I don’t drink soda, but my favourite drink is a vodka tonic. I drink berry smoothies instead of cereal for breakfast.