Featured Crafter: Amy from ThePinkCamellia
In this Featured Crafter, we hear from Amy from ThePinkCamellia. Read on to hear how Amyâ€™s Mother’s creations opened her eyes to the wonderful creative world. Amy is also offering a discount to all FreeCraftFair readers so be sure to check out her shop!
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am a thirty-something career girl, born and raised here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Though I have a full time, very fulfilling job, I often have the need to create something. I think all of us need to find hobbies and interests outside of work, and The Pink Camellia has quickly become mine! My brother and I were raised by our Mom, a hardworking (and very talented) single Mom that always encouraged our creative pursuits. As a little girl I used to watch her sew. She was a very talented seamstress, and used to make us things to wear that would bring such lovely comments. I think that is where all of my creative juices really started flowing, sorting through my Moms “button tin”, helping cut patterns and ironing fabrics. I can remember getting sent home from school with notes from my teachers, thinking I was somehow in trouble, and wondering what I had done. When my Mom would open the letter however, it would be a compliment on a cute outfit she had made for me, my teacher wondering where she could get something similar for her own daughter! I still remember being so proud of that. My inspirations for items really all stem from things I have made for friends and family in the past. Or I might just see something sparkly one day and decide I HAVE to make something from it!
Where can we find you?
I can also be found in the 2009 “Handmade in California” Summer Gift Guide.
What first got you interested in your craft?
I’ve been making gifts for friends and family for a long time now. My urge to go into business though really began with custom gift baskets I made for my Brother’s wedding. Those were a hit, and I started getting a lot of comments that I should open up a custom business. I researched it a bit, and found it wasn’t the area I wanted to go into. When my Nephew was born, I made him some gifts, and quickly was asked to make things for my friends to purchase and give away themselves. When I heard about Etsy, I checked it out and finally found a place I could set up shop to make it easier for friends and family to pick items they wanted, and have me ship them directly to the recipient. The Pink Camellia is a name I chose just by picking one of my favorite flowers from my own garden (another hobby of mine). Slowly, and with much hard work, I’m making some sales, and am coming up with new items all the time. I never sell anything I wouldn’t be excited about buying, and I try and keep my prices reasonable too. It’s so exciting to know I’ve got people wearing and using my creations all over the world now! There is nothing better than giving or receiving a one of a kind gift that was created straight from the heart. And that’s the reason I do what I do!
Please describe your creative process (how, when, materials, etc).Well, the items I create really are usually created out of a need for a gift that I want to give, or by something I see that catches my eye. My Baby Wipes Clutches, Washcloth Lollipops, and Baby Bodysuits were the first items I decided to sell, and are things I give as gifts all the time myself. I was so inspired by my own garden this spring, and by spring fashion shows showing some beautiful floral headpieces, that I started my line of Hair Blossoms, and most recently, my line of Swarovski crystal hair pins that I like to call Hair Sparklers. I came across some beautiful crystals, and other findings I thought would be so gorgeous in a wedding updo, or just an accent with a great outfit. I have some more I’m working on now, I’m sort of addicted to these Hair Sparklers currently! Any interesting fabrics, or pretty findings I see can inspire a creation for my shop. On my weekends and after work I like to go hunting around at different suppliers, and imagine what I can make from what I see. My head sometimes swirls with ideas all day long! I keep a notebook with me at all times to write down whatever might pop into my head. Because I also have a full time job, it sometimes takes me longer to get my ideas translated into reality, but I’m always really proud of the way they come out.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I also really love gardening, and spending time with family. They both are my main inspirations when it comes to creating items that I sell. My family is very important to me, and they are so supportive of the time I spend working on my shop, especially my fiance, who has spent many hours watching me cut fabrics, burn myself with a glue gun, and work on marketing my shop. Such a wonderful support system! I’m also an avid reader, and can burn through books so fast it makes my fiance’s head spin. Because of this, he thinks I’m part robot, by the way…and maybe I’ll let him go on thinking that…
Is there anything else youâ€™d like to share?
Yes! I’d like to say that I have had such a positive experience opening up my shop. I get so much pleasure creating items and posting them, and hearing what people think of them. So, that said, I’d like to offer your readers a 10% discount on their purchases from my shop (before shipping). They just need to mention “Free Craft Fair” in the message to seller, and I’ll refund them the discount. I appreciate all the positive energy of the people I’ve met in the Handmade World thus far, including people like yourself! I think sometimes in our busy lives, our creativity gets stifled. In this day and age, we aren’t as encouraged to spend time following creative pursuits as much as we should be. Creating the items I sell is a way for me to unplug from the rat race and use my hands, something I think more people long to do, and I am lucky enough to have found my outlet!