Up next in the DIY Interview series is Camp Smartypants. Previously featured by Ciaran, now we get to meet the creativity behind the products.
What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?
From arts and crafts to hiking and horseback riding, Camp Smartypants is a line of women’s clothing and accessories inspired by summer camp adventures.
Started in 2009, the goal of Camp Smartypants is to create handmade products that invoke feelings of freedom, friendship, and innocence. It’s not just style for everyday living — it’s style for everyday discovery.
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
My love of crafts was inspired by my mother and grandmother, who taught me to sew, crochet, and make jewelry at a very young age. As a kid, I attended summer camp and joined Girl Scouts, where I learned more fun crafts like beading, tie-dye, and how to sell delicious cookies.
After graduating college in 2007 with a BFA in Graphic Design, I started my career as a designer in Seattle, WA. But after a year-and-a-half spending my evenings hosting Craft Clubs and working on my own handmade projects, I discovered my true calling: to start a company where I could sell my very own designs.
Now I create and sew every piece for Camp Smartypants, and hope that my one-of-a-kind products will re-kindle those same feelings of childhood adventure in others.
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?
When I started Camp Smartypants, last June, I quit my full-time job in Seattle and moved back to Portland, OR. I absolutely love Portland because it is so craft-friendly. Camp Smartypants is my solo-endeavor, although I do get the occasional help from my “campers” (ie. family) when I’m in a time-crunch getting ready for a big show.
Since most of my products are one-of-a-kind, a lot of time is spent creating each piece. I always carry a small project with me everywhere I go. That way if I end up waiting somewhere I can pull out my project and get some work done. I also spend most of my evenings working on product while watching a movie with my family. I am definitely one of those people that constantly needs to keep my hands busy, so even though it seems like I work a lot, I enjoy every minute of it.
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 sell my products online at Etsy. I also have my own website where you can view my full gallery of products I have made. My products are also for sale at Tender Loving Empire, a retail store in Portland, OR. I also attend lots of craft shows in the Portland area. You can find out what show’s I’ll be at by looking on my blog, website or etsy shop.
What do you wish I had asked you?
“What/who are your inspirations for Camp Smartypants?”
1960’s and 1970’s hippie era, vintage craft magazines, vintage rock posters, girl scouts, summer camp, nature, childhood crafts/games, thrift store finds.
Some of my favorite artists that influence my work are: Maya Hayuk, Sabrina Ward Harrison, Frida Kahlo, and Peter Max. I also love the work of Dallas Clayton, Lynda Barry, and Ray Fenwick.
Thanks Rachel — I love getting to know the people behind the loveliness! And if you would like to be interviewed, just fill out the application – it’s easy :)