I’m a clothing designer who works from home. I sometimes work 18 hours a day. I have immersed myself in every aspect of apparel design from basic pattern design to CAD to good old fashioned trial and error. In addition to designing and sewing I’ve also started selling my patterns and instructional videos. I’m very proud of my new spring 2010 mini-collection. I’ve used all natural fabrics and earthy colors.
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I started sewing fulltime in 2004 and have been supporting myself as a designer ever since. Before this I’d never really worked in anything creative. I worked the typical college jobs like most people do. I was a bar tender and waitress. Once I started sewing I jumped in feet first and just ran with it.
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
Right now I’m just using my own name, but I started working under another name – a silly name that I’d rather not say. That old name just doesn’t represent me any longer – I’ve outgrown it, and am even a little embarrassed. Just like everyone else, I’ve changed with age. Where I am now is so different from where I was five years ago. I used to think I needed a tough image to make it. I soon found out that the people spending all their time building a tough image spent little time actually working. So I dropped the image and began designing for me. After that it only made sense to start using my own name.
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I work alone. I’ve tried to bring in friends, but most people let me down. Everyone I’ve brought on board expects to play all day (send text messages, tweet, talk on the phone), but no one wants to really work. When things get really busy I work with a local seamstress. She’s a very intelligent girl with a Master’s degree in design. Her skills as a designer/sewer are amazing.
Getting my work done is no problem. When you really like what you do working uninterrupted is the perfect vacation. I know my idea of ‘having a life’ differs from most. Going out to bars and partying isn’t on my agenda. I like to study music, write, play piano and read. I wake up each morning and get to work right away. I work until I can’t work any more. I then pick up a book or play music.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I have a string of walk-in boutiques throughout the Southeast that carry my clothing. I also have a handful of online boutiques that carry my brands. I sell at shows from time to time, but not as much as I’d like. I also sell a little on etsy, but not as much as I’d like.
Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers you’d like to recommend?
Each week I send out my mailing list with a new featured Etsy seller. I’ve found so many cool sellers. I really like the work of ghostess. She’s an illustrator/artist. She doesn’t post much on Etsy, but I know she’s always creating. She actually designed the banner for my etsy shop.
What inspires and motivates you?
Everything inspires me. My eyes are always open and searching for new ideas. This new collection is inspired by a trip I took to Nashville. Right now I’ve got my eye on this cute little French Provincial neighborhood near my parents’ house. This summer I want to build a collection based on those houses.
What do you wish I had asked you?
I like when people ask if I have any advice for someone just starting out. Ironically people are often frustrated by my answer. Work, work, work. Every time I tell someone what I do for a living they reply, “Oh wow, that’s so cool. I wish I could do that.” The truth is anyone can. But you have to be willing to work. I mean, why put in eight hours each day plus driving for someone else? I’d much rather put in 14 hours for myself.