Archive for the ‘why we create series’ Category
Today is the third installment of Why We Create. And this time, Annie Andre of Le Neko Noir shows us how she creates the super cute sleep masks that she is known for. Check out the video and then read my mini interview with Annie below…
1. Why Do You Create?
I create because it is my calling. It is my passion and a part of my true inner self. It’s so gratifying to take something like fabric and turn it into something fun and useful. But for me, creating is more than just making the final product. I love to create my sleeping masks just as much as I love fiddling with my website HTML, learning which F-stop to use with my camera for product photos or optimizing my product descriptions for search engines. It’s the full cycle from sketching my ideas to marketing and finally wrapping them up for my customers. Creating has become my passion and I’ve learned to follow my gut. Not blindly but with eyes wide open. When it calls, I listen because it makes my heart very happy.
It wasn’t always this way though. Up until 3 years ago and for over a decade before that, you were more apt to find me behind a computer screen perfecting excel formulas, building pivot tables and analyzing large amounts of data. All the while, a little voice inside of me was trying to tell me that something was missing. But I didn’t know what was missing so I didn’t know what to look for to fill the void. The voice of discontentment got louder until 2007. On a whim, while on a family vacation at Stinson Beach California, I decided to teach myself how to sew. I looked up a couple YouTube video and sewed my first tiny purse satchel thingy. It was really pathetic looking but from that moment on, I was hooked on the idea of creating things with my hands.
A few months later that same year, both my husband and I were laid off from our jobs. That’s when I decided, I wanted to pursue my new love of sewing and making handmade things. I bought a domain name, hired a web developer and started building my shop without a product to sell. I knew if I thought too long, I would talk myself out of it so I just jumped in. That was three years ago and I haven’t looked back since. Creating is part of who I am, and what I have always wanted to do whether I knew it or not. I’m just glad I discovered and took a chance before it was too late.
2. Your handmade sleep masks are fun and playful. What inspires you and your collection?
My masks have a very distinct style which is a direct reflection of me, who I am and where I’ve been. I lived in Japan for 3 years. While there, I was immersed and surrounded by anthropomorphic smiling cigarettes, pouting toilet paper rolls on packages and super kawaii ( cute) imagery. Think Hello Kitty on steroids. Couple that with the fact that my family is French Canadian so naturally I’m a Francophile as well.
My unique background has heavily influence my style. The end result is what I like to call, eye mask mashups. I love to blend unexpected styles and ideas. Like cute and creepy, or chic geek. The one thing that really sets my eye masks apart is that the faces of each of my eye masks are completely hand-stitched and hand embroidered. I love the idea of hand embroidered things. It makes me think of a time past when things were made to last before everything was mass produced. But I also love modern cutesy things like hello Kitty. And, I love French style. So it’s only natural that I take different elements and blend unexpected ideas together.
I love anything with owls. So when the movie twilight came out, I made an owl vampire mask. That spawned another idea for a panda zombie eye mask. Sometimes my masks designs come out of whatever it is I’m learning about or doing. This last week, I’ve been reading about social media, so naturally I sketched about 7 designs and am working on a new collection for geeks. Whatever the idea, I always try to put my own little dreamy spin on them.
3. What is your fondest memory (highlight) thus far with your business?
My fondest memory was at my first Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco. I setup my modest booth and felt so insecure. I thought everyone could tell that I had no idea what I was doing. Then the doors opened and people started coming in the front door. People passed my booth and something amazing happened. Everyone smiled when they saw my eye masks. People actually stopped and bought my little lovely handmade sleeping masks. There was something so satisfying in knowing that others loved my masks as much as I do. That moment, was the moment that I realized that I love that my cute sleeping masks brought people a little bit of happiness. I’ve been told they bring out the kid in people. Now with every mask I make, I know each one will put a smile on their lips.
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I am excited to say that the Why We Create column is back again this week with another inspiring video and mini-interview. This one comes to us from Charlotte Mills of Plum Pretty Sugar, who you may already know from her cozy-chic line of apparel and intimates (amongst other things). Lucky for pns, we are getting a behind the scenes look at Plum Pretty Sugar with the video above (its a little less than five minutes, so not too long and not too short).
I also asked Charlotte a few questions. Here is what she had to say…
Why do you create? I think creating for me is something that really comes from an instinct, an intuition of sorts. It is about business, about opportunity, a niche… finding it, developing it, creating it and following it through. Evolving and the idea of continually creating. That to create is not just a one time thing, but an ongoing process… whether it is a business like Plum Pretty Sugar Loungerie, in ourselves or in our relationships.
I also love so very much ideating… brainstorming. Cultivating a simple concept, anything at all and growing its branches, its roots and seeing what flourishes. And not just an idea related to Plum Pretty Sugar… it could be anything. It is so amazing to me that an idea borne from a simple sentence, a photo or a sweet word in passing can be grown and adapted. The ultimate creation!
What is your fondest memory thus far with Plum Pretty Sugar? Plum Pretty Sugar Loungerie came initially from a really difficult place. A place of change, of heartbreak… a journey in emotion, of heartfullness. And while life moves sweetly and happily forward, I am still very connected to that place, that touch point within myself. And so, I think two firsts are the most fond… the first piece of press and the first year.
The first piece of press for Plum Pretty Sugar Loungerie was via an online shop blog. Seeing my little brand.. my heart and soul… on the screen in someone else’s online environment was truly remarkable. While I sat alone staring into the depths of my computer it brought tears to my eyes. It meant that I wasn’t alone… that someone recognized it, saw it, and liked it. Truly a moment I will never forget.
Marking the first year of Plum Pretty Sugar Loungerie is also a sweet, sweet moment. For some of the same reasons, but more so because the year was not just a success in terms of sales but because it meant people liked it. And for a whole year. I suppose at the time coming from a place of emotional hurt, it meant so much that for 365 days, people liked it, liked what I had created and therefore liked me. Does that make sense? Emotional and esoteric I know, but coming from where I had been, it was really prominent moment and a turning point of sorts.
What keeps you inspired to create new collections each year? I think inspiration can come from so many things. For me, it is about color, about flowers, about photography, a good book, a loved one. A dream that somehow passes through my mind’s eye. From there it is about developing that inspiration into a print and a silhouette. I have learned not all prints work in every silhouette… and creating a “collection” of individual prints that represent the same tone and manner is not always easy. Whew! I have a very specific idea of what Plum Pretty Sugar stands for and turning that into a living breathing item every season can be challenge. And so, I don’t introduce something every season as much as I’d like to. Instead, I introduce when I think I have all the elements right… although I’m so not always right!
Thank you Charlotte for sharing your behind the scenes video with us. And of course, for answering my questions. Please visit Plum Pretty Sugar to see the entire collection of loungewear (or loungerie as Charlotte calls it), apparel, home items, and other accoutrements. And follow Charlotte @plumprettysugar on twitter for updates.
And for more from the Why We Create series, click here to see past videos and interviews.
Remember that post I wrote months ago about a new column I was working on called why we create? Well, guess what? After 55 replies to that post and two months time (to the day), its finally ready! This is the very first post for the Why We Create column and its a video and mini interview with letterpress designer Kathryn of Blackbird Letterpress.
The purpose of this new column is share inspiration with fellow makers and artists. It will be comprised of videos, podcasts, and post interviews. So, let’s get right down to it. Watch the video amazing video above that shows Kathryn’s process in her studio. Then read Kathyrn’s mini interview with me below…
Why do you create?
Kathryn: I am one of those people that has always created. In fact, early on I learned I could hardly watch TV unless I had something in my lap to stitch, draw, or cut (irritating my mom and then husband to no end- especially when little pieces of string or paper are everywhere). My Mom says I would disappear when I was little and when she’d look for me I’d be found at my table with a pencil in hand. But I don’t think this makes me special, I just can’t help it. It gets me through the day and especially during rough times.
What drew you to letterpress initially, and what continues to keep you interested in it?
Kathryn: I went to graduate school for printmaking and there was a letterpress in the shop. So I learned there & taught a few classes in it, and was hooked. What keeps me interested is the long history, the technical aspects, and the fact that my hand is involved in each piece. And I really love repetition; to see hundreds of small prints is very satisfying.
Thanks so much Kathryn for taking us into your world a little bit. Please visit Kathryn’s letterpress shop to see how she turns her inspirations into amazing paper goods. *And if you like this video and interview, please share the love by clicking the retweet and facebook buttons below.
Remember that post from way back (about a month ago), when I asked the question, ‘why do you create?’. Well, after more than 50 responses, I thought it was time I answered that question for myself as well. In a video, no less. Oh yeah, I am getting real crazy with the technology now. First a podcast and now this. Hope you’ll check it out.
I should start by saying… Yep, that’s me in the cheesy picture above. I couldn’t find an image so I took one myself. Feel free to make fun. I deserve it.
Now that that is out of the way, let’s get down to business here. I’ve been working on a new column that involves some reader participation, if you all are interested. I am really excited about it. The thing is, it will only work if you help out. All I am asking is for you to answer one question in the comments. That’s it! It’ll really help me get this new mystery column off to a good start. So, what do you say? Will you answer this quick question for me?
Why do you create?
In other words, what first compelled you to begin making things and why do you continue to do so?