I've been looking forward to today's post with Chie from Vivat Veritas because I simply love the girly, playful dresses and outfits she creates. I also got to learn a bit about her heart and passion to share profits with an amazing ministry in Thailand. She's such a busy lady but has a lovely spirit and amazing talent, she's definitely a designer I want to support.
I know that you'll get so much from her interview and once you finish reading about her check her Etsy shop, her Website and then give her a shout out on her Blog.
1) First just tell us about yourself and how you got started sewing?
Hi my name is Chie. I am Japanese and now live in Japan, Tokyo area after spending 5 years in Philadelphia, PA.
I've always loved sewing and crafting but it was not until 2008 when I really got into sewing clothes. My friend lent me her sewing machine so I could make some odds and ends for the house, like pillow cases. I was working a 9-5 office job back then but had a lot of free time. Slowly I started making clothes using online tutorials and other resources like Burda Style. I really liked sewing clothes and I really got into it, it became a nightly activity. The first time I made myself a dress, it took 3 days and most of the time, I spent on ripping seams to fix mistakes. Gradually I got better at it and the time it took me to make a piece decreased. After a little while I found that I had made way too many clothes for me to ever wear on my own, so my friend recommended I sell them. Heeding her advice I bopped around on the internet and happened to come across Etsy and decided to post some of my handmade clothes there.
Rahab Ministry is a Christian ministry based in Thailand that works with prostitutes in various parts of the country. I have a special feeling toward Thailand, having been there many times and having had many life altering/enriching experiences there. Before my first visit to Thailand a friend recommended that my husband and I visit this Rahab group during our stay in Bangkok. After a great first meeting we have had a number of opportunities to meet with people from Rahab and continue a relationship with them.
I love Thailand, it is a fun place to vacation and the weather is great (I love hot weather), and the people are very welcoming. But at the same time, I feel a darkness when I visit there. I was overwhelmed by the sex industry and saddened by the way it destroys the lives of men and women involved. Rahab ministry preaches life changing spiritual truths of Christianity while also helping to provide opportunities for women in the sex industry to break free and earn an income in other ways, such as jewelry making or hair dressing. After seeing all his and experiencing it first hand I could not do anything but help them as much as I could.
3) Are you full time with your Etsy shop? If so what point in your life where you able to commit this as your day job?
No. I have a full-time job, which I really like. It is not related to fashion or sewing at all, but it gives me a steady paycheck.
I work on my shop part-time, but with the amount of time I spend on running my shop, it is more like having two full-time jobs:)
I'm not sure when I will decide on going on full-time. For now, I plan on taking things slow and I like the security of my full time job. The FT work allows me to plan and prepare for the time when I can take sewing full-time.
How to treat the customer well but at the same time making profit and keeping myself sane:)
5) Right now what are your most popular items?
This sweet neckline cut out dress has been very popular. Also, Midriff cut out dress and Tuxedo dress. I get requests for them as bridesmaid dresses often.
6) Where do you get your ideas for a new design or style for a garment?
My imagination gets going when I go fabric shopping. I like to start by interacting with the fabrics or certain notions, like lace or pretty buttons before I have a set piece in mind. I like to think of the ways to transform those materials into three dimensional wearable pieces. As you can see from my shop, I like a simple garments with small twists, like a cut out in the back, or midriff. I also look for unique print fabrics, and I think I'm very lucky to be living in Japan, where there are more than enough unique, fun prints!