Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Handmade for the Holidays
It is now December 8 and Christmas is only 17 short days away from us! I am feeling the crunch, as I am sure many of you are, too! For those who we buy Christmas gifts for, I try very hard to make the gifts meaningful and thoughtful! I think handmade is best... The problem: I don't have time to make everything myself! And in comes Etsy... There are so many wonderful shops out there with fabulous handmade gifts!
First up... To a T. To a T is owned and operated (with help from her mother, of course!) by Taryn Peine of Houston. I went to high school with Taryn and was able to reconnect with her through Ravelry - of all things! I've already purchased two darling outfits from Taryn to gift to the little loved ones in our life... If you need something cute and unique - be it Christmas gift of baby shower, check out to a T! Below is our interview with Taryn where she tells us how she got started and shares some of her inspiration...
Q: What inspired you to start an Etsy shop?
A: I always admired other Etsy shops, and I thought it would be fun to see if I could do one too, even though I'm terrible at accounting, math, billing people, and business in general. I re-discovered my love for sewing this year thanks to my mom, so I knew I wanted the shop to involve sewing something, but I didn't know what. Then, POOF, suddenly everyone in Houston was pregnant and I discovered handmade baby gifts were in high demand. So that's how I ended up with a baby shop, even though I myself have only a dog and a husband. They both act like babies sometimes, but they no longer fit in onesies.
Q: What is your creative process like?
A: I get a little gaggy at the sight of cutesy baby items, so my creative process starts with seeing an adult fashion and thinking of a way to scale it down to an infant size. For baby boys, I'm always inspired by my husband's abundance of argyle and tweed, and for baby girls, I try to create something I wouldn't mind wearing if I had my 19" waist back.
Q: When did you start hand-making things? Who taught you?
A: I've been crafting all my life, beginning with art projects in Girl Scouts. I took my first sewing class when I was in the 7th grade. I made a giant patriotic vest that was a big hit with the gentlemen, as I'm sure you can imagine. My mom taught me everything I know. She's incredibly patient, and loves creating just as much as I do. In fact, she's in charge of creating quite a bit of the items in the shop!
Q: What has been the biggest challenge of running your own shop?
A: Definitely the business aspect. I am from a family of accountants, so everyone in my life is constantly asking me about spreadsheets and bottom lines and profit margins and cost per item and that entire sentence is pretty much a sleeping pill for me.
Q: What is your favorite thing about running your own shop?
A: I get such a high from being in my sewing room all day, creating things for little ones I've never met before, watching precious outfits come together. I love it when someone loves what I've created. And I love collaborating with my mom!
Q: What are your plans for the future of your shop?
A: We're still young, and our goal in 2010 is to find ways to expose people to our shop. We're brainstorming some new designs to come out next year, and we're so excited to watch it grow. And we're learning better ways to photograph our products so everything looks more professional and less camera-phone-ish...
For more of Taryn Peine, check out her blog www.tarynmaxwell.com. She shares hilarious thoughts on life and yummy recipes, too!