Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Tell us a little about yourself?
I'm a quirky, former teacher, stay-at-home mom, who loves to sew. I detest chick flicks and heels; but, I love pink, polkadots--and given the opportunity, I would live in flip flops and dresses. I can't pick up a book, because once I do, I can't put it down (that's probably why I was an english teacher :). And if given the choice between a vacation at Disney World or a secluded beach, I'd pick the later.
Is there a story behind your store name?
My store name is my daughter's nickname. Sice she was a toddler, I've called her that, but always sarcastically. I love her dearly, but she's a grumpy old soul. Over time, the name seems to have fit the business. I've moved into making aprons and dish carriers, both are items associated with being congenial.
How did you get started with your craft?
When I was 8, my parents gave me a sewing machine. At the time, I thought it was the worst present ever. Now, not so much. For 20 years, I sewed on and off. It's been in the last 5 years that I've started to become serious about sewing as an art. I take various technique classes and plan to eventually get a Master and Design Certification from the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals.
How did it evolve to the artwork you are doing now?
I started sewing small things like doll clothes, pillows, decor items, etc. I would sew just to make things, not paying attention to details or precision. I began teaching high school, and sewing fell to the wayside. I had kids, stopped teaching and returned to sewing. Perhaps it was motherhood, who knows, but I looked at sewing in a different way. I began reading about techniques, stiches, thread tension, etc. I started taking classes and really began to see sewing as a handmade art, not just a "craft." My friends saw this in my gifts, that they suggested that I start selling them.
Where do your ideas come from? Care you share your creative process?
I love to browse magazines (i.e. Threads, Sew News) and books. I also LOVE small quilt stores (there are some in Shipshewana, Indiana that i frequent a lot.) The small stores tend to carry fabric from designers like Amy Butler and MODA lines. My ideas always start with the fabric. I look at the fabric and think until an idea just "feels right" for apron ties, or an apron lining, a dish carrier flower, etc.
What’s your favorite piece of work that you have created? Why?
My favorite creation is my large casserole/dish carrier. All the carriers I had seen, only carried 1 dish or rectangular pans. I wanted to create something that could carry a variety of items from large bowls to cupcake trays. Plus I wanted something that was unique and pretty. I spent several months, and more than several mistakes, creating a casserole carrier that is truly one-of-a-kind.
How did you find Etsy, and what made you decide to start selling your work?
My college age cousin pointed out the site to me several years ago. I like the simplicity and user friendliness of it. I also love that the customers understand and appreciate a handmade item. They shop etsy for the craftsmanship, rather than just a bargain.
What challenges have you found in your work/business?
My biggest challenge has been a "production vs promotion" dilema. So much of small business succes depends on promotion in blogs, posts, facebook, art shows, etc. But at the same time, you have to devote time to producing a product that you can promote. It's a blancing act that i'm still learning how to do.
Do you do this fulltime? If not please tell us about your “day” job.
For the past two years, I have done this part time. Actually, you probably couldn't even say that. For the past four months, I have been preparing to promote and produce for my business full time. All my kids are now in school, so now I have time to fully devote to it.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
It has to be a toss up. It could be the stuffed animals I made for my kids from their baby clothes. They adore the animals, and I love that. Or my favorite could be my daughter's first communion dress that I'm making. I've taken my wedding dress and deconstructed it and am using the material for her dress.
Your top 5 most played songs on playlist?
Matt Kearney: Hey Mama
Josh Wilson: Savior, Please
B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars: Nothin On You
Lee Ann Womack: Last Call
Jason Chain: You Got Me
Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/misscongeniality
Other Site: www.shopmissc.com
20% discount using the code HOBBYSHOP