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Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Feature -- Retro Family Works

This week's Friday Feature is fellow Etsykids member Linda of Retro Family Works. As a child of the 70's, I'm absolutely nostalgic about her clothing. And she's currently having a clearance sale, so you can find some fabulous deals!

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.

I am a wife and mother of 4. The youngest is 4 years old and the other three are young adults. I work full time outside of the home in addition to my Etsy shop. I have wanted to have a children’s clothing shop for years and have been sewing since I began making my own clothes at age 8. The opening of my Etsy shop last January was the beginning of fulfilling a creative dream.

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?
In my shop I sell children’s retro clothing mostly made from patterns from my extensive vintage collection. (Please don’t ask how many I have.) I plan to begin offering some clothing and accessories for adults also. I use some vintage fabrics but mostly I sew using high quality modern cottons and linens.

What inspires your creations?
My creations are inspired by vintage patterns from the 50’s through 70’s. Right now I am most influenced by the fashions I grew up with--the simple and fun designs of the 1970’s era.

Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.

I learned to sew from my mother. She patiently stood by while I made all the typical novice mistakes and she never complained about the many time she had to rip out an errant seam and steer me back in the right direction. Without a close relative to support your fledgling efforts at sewing--you will surely have a more frustrating and longer learning curve!

My creative process begins in three basic ways: The first is by seeing a great vintage design and the challenge of turning into something that would appeal to today’s consumer. The second thing that gets the process going is when I see a great fabric and envision it as a completed garment. My third route to creativity is to see a handmade garment another craftsperson has made and think of how I could adapt it to my own personal style.

What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?

My favorite item in my shop at the current time is actually a sold item. It is a simple peasant dress with little flutter sleeves that I made using a late 70’s sewing pattern. I used Michael Miller’s Dandy Damask in a lovely shade of cotton candy pink with contrasting pink and white polka dot sleeves. The combination is so refreshing and sweet yet fashionable too.

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?

Three words to describe myself (and this is definitely the most difficult of all your questions) would be:
family-oriented, inspired and methodical

What do you like about Etsy?

Etsy is a great place to open a shop because of the supportive atmosphere among “Etsyians”. This is especially evident when you become a member of a Street Team. Everyone is so helpful and willing to offer hints on ways to promote your shop . Also, Etsy is a wonderful place to find inspiration since there is an endless supply of creations from some of the most talented craftspeople and artists to be found anywhere.

Another thing I like about Etsy is the customers you get to work with. I have met so many truly kind and generous people--most of them are working Moms like me! The feedback alone is a great source of happiness to me and my customers come up with some very creative suggestions for garments that I would not have thought of otherwise.

What makes your shop unique?

My shop is unique in that I do mostly one of a kind items and special orders. I do not mass produce many items of one style like some shops do. This allows me the opportunity to produce items that keep me and my customers happy. (And I don’t get bored making the same items over and over again.) The other unique aspect of my shop is that I am almost obsessed with making reversible items. I have made reversible pinafores, jumpers, scarves, halter tops, aprons and dresses and plan to make more as I find new ways to make two outfits for the price of one!

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?

My advice for sellers on Etsy is that you should not get frustrated and discouraged when sales are less than brisk in the beginning. It takes time to make a name for yourself and your wares. Don’t be shy about promoting yourself and constantly try to improve your shop through better photos, descriptions and incentives for buyers to seek out your shop. My advice to buyers on Etsy would be to appreciate the creative aspect of Etsy and understand that the people producing items for their shops are pouring their heart and soul into the endeavor.

Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?
Right now I can only be found on Etsy but I would like to have my own blog someday with links to Retro Family Works.

For more Friday Feature interviews, click here.

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