Hello! Thanks so much for stopping by today!!! I'm super excited to introduce you to this week's Features Handmade Artist, Melissa from SewSweetStitches! I love that makes simple things like hair clips or how you carry your coffee so special!
Check out this super adorable hand-embroidered hair clip...
My name is Melissa, I live in the Dayton Ohio area. I have a husband, a little girl, and an obsession with Taco Bell. I paint my nails with glitter polish, play with yarn, and [unfortunately] work in a super boring office.
What is the first craft project you remember making?
When I was little my mom bought me a 1954 Kenmore sewing machine from a garage sale. I was fascinated with the concept of right-sides-facing-inside-out-Ta-Da! So from Mom's scrap quilting fabric, I made countless tiny little bags for everyone I knew. I gave my family monopoly money and forced them to buy additional bags from my bedroom retail store.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I get ideas for new pieces from vintage and antique buttons. I also enjoy browsing old art motif books from the library and pulling ideas and colorways from different cultures. For example, the Fiesta Embroidered Wall Hanging was inspired by a design I saw on an ancient textile and the colors were from a photo of painted houses in the Tropics.
Can you please describe some of your creative process?
When I find a really neat button, I get out my felt color cards and try to find matches to the colors in the button. Then I find matching thread and layout an embroidery pattern that will compliment the style of the button. If I find a design and color combination that works well, I try to translate it into different things- Hair clips, jewelry, cozies, etc. All my embroidery is free-hand, so for the more complex pieces I start in the middle and work my way out, just making it up as I go along.
I like to listen to audiobooks while I work, but I pretty much just play Pride & Prejudice over and over. Abundant stocks of candied ginger and cream soda are musts for productivity :)
What is your most prized handmade possession?
That's a tough one! I have quilts, sweaters, lace shawls, and knitted socks made by my mom. I also have a nice little collection of handmade jewelry from the friends I've made on etsy. I guess in the event of a fire or something, I'd grab my mom's quilt. Each time I look at it, memories from my childhood come back. I can still see her working on the pieces at baseball games, at home, and sitting around my grandmother's kitchen table. Good times.
If you could give one piece of advice to a new etsy seller, what would it be?
Be yourself! Take advantage of custom orders and experiment with new materials to keep your creativity going, but always put your own style into it. Strive to create a look that is instantly recognizable as yours. Treat each listing as an opportunity to enhance your own personal brand, so that customers feel as if they were stepping into a lovingly tended boutique when they click on your shop.
What are some of the ways you promote your work?
I've never tried paid advertising, but so far I've been doing pretty well with social networking. At first the thought of blathering to complete strangers about my shop made me sweaty, but it's really more about letting people get to know you. Occasionally I do drop links to my shop, but people who are interested in you will naturally be interested in what you're making! I blog and use twitter mostly, and when I had more time I was able to participate in a couple etsy teams.
Facebook hates me, I've never been able to figure it out!
What are the three three websites you couldn't live without?
Etsy is a given, right?
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Supporting my family with my handmade business! Also maybe writing a book about embroidery.
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
The ability to eat and eat and eat and never get fat? Hmm that's shallow. I suppose I should say something like the power to heal, etc. But really I'd wish for boundless energy so that I could get everything done every day! [Lamest fantasy ever, right?]
Thank you sooooo much, Melissa!!! It was fantastic to get a chance to know a little bit about you and to see the great person behind the shop!!!!
I hope that have all have a chance to stop by SewSweetStitches and check out everything in this great shop!
If you would like to be considered for my weekly features, please send me an email or convo– I’d love to hear from you!!!!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!