Tell us little about yourself!
I live and work in the Chicago area. When I am not creating and designing toys and fun stuff, I work at a local specialty toy store, and I am on the Board of Directors of the Cuentos Foundation, so I do a lot of community/art projects around Chicago. I’m single, in my thirties, and own a very spoiled weenie dog (spoiled with love not stuff). I studied art at Columbia College and I was certified in Early Childhood Education through the State of Illinois. I love my family and friends and even though she is in California, I talk to my mom on the phone for hours every Sunday.
What do you make and how long have you been creating?
I design dolls and toys made of natural fabrics and materials. I mostly use cotton fabrics and cotton stuffing. I’ve been creating since I was a little kid. I’m the kid that already knew what they wanted to do when they grew up. I knew it and everyone around me knew it and expected it. Yeah, I was a weirdo….. Still.
What inspires you?
Nature, people, memories of childhood, children. I live on the beach and that inspires me a lot. I love my morning walks, I get a lot of ideas that way.
What got you started working with fabric?
I fell in love with fabric 12 years ago, while in art school. I always thought I’d be a painter or illustrator, that’s what I was studying. I borrowed a friends sewing machine to fix some pants or something like that, then I started making little figures and dolls. I never gave the sewing machine back, I still have it. I was hooked! I not only make toys and such but I also sew installations, that I exhibit in art galleries and shows.
How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
I was a buyer for a year, but I have been selling for almost 2 now. Its been good, could be better, but I’m not complaining, its been good.
What advice would you have for other Etsians?
Join a team, have patience, don’t quit your day job just yet, make and sell things you believe in, pay yourself well you deserve it, ask questions, if you are overwhelmed and can’t think walk away breathe and come back to it, don’t take yourself to seriously (you make toys!), be cheerful and helpful to others, treat your customers well, and please don’t copy me! Just kidding with the last one……but really, be you, trust yourself.
What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?
I joined because it was suggested to do so on some “Etsy How To” list. I’m so glad I did. Its not only about the networking and business stuff, but I love that I’ve met new friends and warm and loving people, who have the same goals as me. To make and sell quality natural children’s products and make a positive difference in children’s lives. I love being a part of this team! I have learned a lot. I don’t know if I contribute much, but I try my best. that’s what great about this team you give what you can. When I can I go for it. When I cant, others lend a hand and I very much appreciate it….team work!
What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?
I chose to use natural fabrics because I have always had skin allergies. It was hard for my mom to find stuff that wouldn’t break me out in a rash. Cotton has always been good to me. Also I learned while working with small children that basic, simple and natural toys lasted longer and had better play value. Children need toys that will help in their development, not toys that will play to them or a distraction. Play with your children, enjoy them, teach them, nurture them. Think of natural and basic toys as tools. They are not junk you throw in a Rubbermaid bin, then put it in the trash later on. Your children are special, don’t they deserve special things, and special time?
Your items can be found where:
Handmade Galleries, Sherman Oaks, Ca
Abby Brown, Chicago, Il
In bins at my house……..waiting……..for owners
Interview by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard