Sandmaiden: about 11 years ago I started my career in the fashion industry as a very young single mom in Vancouver, Canada. My work adventures took me from the order desk at a childrens catalog company to assisting high end bridal, flat renderings, print design, global freelance design and producing samples for a European ladies career collection.
A few years in after I had acquired all the boots, suits and shoes a young lady could want (okay, should want) I discovered a hole in my wardrobe. I bought my first pair of real pajamas for about $20.00 on sale, by day i was a working girl on the factory floor, by night a princess. When I should have been shopping for things for my daughter or a boyfriend i was hunting the ideal pair of pajamas, they continued to elude me. Very many pj’s later said princess found her prince and the pj’s haven’t seen the sheets since.
After the initial excitement of being engaged wears off you may find you suddenly feel incredibly daunted at the task ahead, planning your wedding. Few of us are fortunate enough to be able to afford a wedding planner but thankfully there are many websites and magazines that can help.
When planning your wedding day you will have many things to consider, from venue to stationery, from cake to flowers, never mind your dress, hair or shoes! Perhaps you are lucky enough to know the theme or colour scheme you want for that special day but most brides are bombarded with choice and can often choose several ideas before choosing a theme.
Over the coming months you will spend hours leafing through wedding magazines or searching for specific suppliers on the internet. As well as a collection of magazines there may also be brochures or even photos of ideas you have seen when out. Planning a wedding is like being an interior designer putting together a mood board for a particular room, creating a style that reflects the people living there but encompassing current trends.
When I am planning a party I like to collect ideas in a journal or folder so that I can keep thoughts for themes in one place. I may tear out a picture from a magazine, noting the supplier’s website or telephone number. Thankfully due to camera phones I can always take a picture when I am out, if I see something that sparks an idea for a theme or just for reference to help me find or make a similar idea.
By being organised from the start you can plan a truly fantastic day, without employing a wedding planner. Surprisingly you will find that suddenly people around you are wonderful resources, everybody seems to know a great florist, or cake designer, or stationery designer or even a shoemaker…well maybe a shoemaker is a little more difficult to find, but I will try for a future post!
We are in the height of Summer here in the UK and I know some of you are lucky enough to have year round sunshine. I am fortunate to live near to the beach and cannot think of a better theme for a party. Think of the fun you could have decorating the venue and choosing beach inspired treasures to incorporate into your day, like the fab cake topper above from Lollipop Workshop.
Choosing a theme for your wedding is probably the most difficult thing about planning your celebration. Perhaps you have a little gem of an idea but are not quite sure how to bring it to fruition or maybe you have chosen the most fantastic colour for your bridesmaids gowns and want to use this as the starting point. Maybe you just love starfish and want to use this as the starting point, like these gorgeous hair accessories from Dreams by the Sea.
Living near the sea or holding your wedding on the beach is the perfect opportunity to have a beach themed party. Maybe you will use bright orchids as the focal point for a tropical beach theme. The gorgeous pink orchid hair clips above from Blue Lovebirds would be a perfect accessory for the bride or bridesmaids hair, made from silk they definitely would not wilt on the day.
Another beach theme is a little more rustic and would be ideal if you are a fan of the shabby chic trend that is currently very popular. Napkins could be sewn in Cath Kidston ‘Boat‘ fabric, boat or fish shape chocolate favors could be made using a chocolate mould and the wooden fishes above, from Giddy Kipper, would make great decorations perhaps tied to the back of a chair or even in place of namecards for place settings.
By choosing a beach theme you are not limited to a particular colour or design, as you can see the beach really does inspire different ideas.
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.
It came in the mail the other day, addressed to “Parent(s) of ____”. Inside the envelope, bearing the familiar school logo, was a sure harbinger of fall – the mascot’s eighth grade supply list. As far as lists go, I have to say that this one isn’t bad. Gone are the days of crayons, finger-paints, oversized scrapbooks and epic shopping trips that would take us to 4 different stores before we could find the right brand of printing practice paper. This year, the teachers are taking it easy on us with a short list of easily procured items; binders and loose-leaf, pens and pencils; pretty standard stuff. In fact, I think the only difference from what I would have brought for my first day of grade 8 was the techie addition of a pair of 2GB USB memory sticks. If we had had them back then, I know I would have coveted these upcycled Lego memory sticks custom made by Stefan of 123 Smile (pictured above). Data storage has never been so much fun!
I wonder what supply lists will look like 25 years from now; perhaps schools will be completely paper-free by then. In the meantime, look for notebooks and filler-paper that contain recycled content or carry FSC certification. With more and more companies jumping on the eco-bandwagon, it’s becoming easier (and more affordable) than ever to find “green” alternatives. And, while you’re at it, encourage your kids to conserve paper as much as possible. I shudder to think of my old habit of writing on only one side of the page. Using both sides is not only eco-friendly, but it will allow you to use your notebooks for twice as long; something you will definitely want to do if you are using a book as cool as the one pictured above by Disconsolator. Hand-screened with an original design on organic cotton cloth, this 5×7” book is filled with 72 (144 front/back) sheets of unlined FSC certified paper; perfect for jotting down assignments and doodling in study-hall.
The only thing that is better than having a fresh supply of paper is a good, sharp pencil to attack it with. Check your local stationary store, or do a quick search online, for pencils made from reclaimed newspapers, money and even denim. To keep your supply clean, sharp and at your fingertips, choose a durable pencil case, like this one by Vancouver’s Galstudio; handmade out of recycled bicycle inner tubes & reclaimed fabric with a sturdy plastic zipper to keep everything safely inside. The fun printed fabric that lines the case is a colourful surprise and keeps everything inside from sticking to the rubber.
Of course, once the school supply shopping is out of the way, our thoughts will turn to the always-important back-to-school wardrobe. If I remember correctly, the goal of every eighth-grader is to find a balance between blending-in completely and showing a little individuality. Since the standard “uniform” of boys his age is the ubiquitous “jeans and a t-shirt”, my son lets his personality come through with his trademark messy hair and his clever t-shirt choices. These shirts by Non-fiction Tees, with their brainy designs, are perfect for kicking off Jake’s school year in style. Who knows…they might even earn him extra credit with the science teacher (if not the grade eight girls)!
Announcement: Galstudio is having a Back-to-School contest! Share a favorite school memory of your own on Galstudio’s Facebook page for your chance to win a FREE Scuola Pouch like the one pictured in this article!