This Tuesday seems like a great day to post a new interview from another talented Etsy designer. Today I'm particularly excited to introduce Ashley from at Papoose Clothing. Ashley creates some incredibly adorable children's garments and many have a vintage, almost princesses feel to them. What little girl wouldn't want to be adorn in one of her designs?
You'll definitely enjoy learning little bit about Ashley and her experience creating her children's garments.
My name is Ashley, and my shop and I currently reside in south
Mississippi. I was born in Lake Charles, LA, raised in Montgomery, AL,
and went to college where I met my husband in Birmingham, AL. I have
moved around too often to feel one city was really home, but I would
definitely place the South as where I’m supposed to be. My mom first
taught me how to sew when I was young, but it wasn’t until college when I
was taking costume construction classes for my degree in Theatre that I
really started to develop my skills. I would sew a few things here and
there but never took myself seriously. It would take another few years
until my niece arrived to encourage my creativity and begin designing
children’s clothes. I loved the process so much and the miniaturized
results that I immediately took the plunge into opening an Etsy shop.
My process has definitely evolved over the years. In the beginning I was
taking in and tailoring clothes for me to wear since I am so short and
petite, which really helped me understand how clothes are constructed.
In my costume construction classes, we were taught to read patterns, so I
became comfortable with those when sewing my own personal dresses. When
I started making children’s clothing, I went to vintage patterns for
inspiration and help in pattern drafting sizes for wee ones. I have
learned a lot over the years and now draft my own patterns for my line.
It takes so much time to design, draft, and construct a single piece of
clothing, usually taking months in the making from initial idea to final
I have always loved watching old movies so it was natural for me to
prefer a classic aesthetic in my designs, but I feel my clothing also
has a sense of whimsy and imagination. Children’s clothing is special
because you can go a bit over the top in dramatic bows and frilly
ruffles and it still work for the design and be wearable. With the
Spring/ Summer collection I just released, I was inspired by Louisiana
bayous where I remember playing in my grandfather’s backyard. From the
cypress trees emerging mystically out of the murky waters to the smell
of French roast coffee from where I sat playing on the front porch
swing, I immersed myself in those memories and experiences to create a
very personal collection I sincerely hope I expressed well enough for
people to understand and appreciate.
It has taken me three years, but I am finally reaching the full time
goal I have been working towards. I have a loose timeline set in place,
and it looks like the Spring is when I will be taking the plunge. I have
been working as a preschool teacher for the past seven years, which has
really helped me understand children’s clothing and what I want to
bring to the industry, particularly in the South where it’s nothing but
smocked designs and pillowcase dresses with embroidered madness on them.
I have been fortunate to have a very loving and generous husband who is
as dedicated to this dream of mine as I am. He has had the
responsibility of a full-time job these past few years, and it has been
such a blessing to finally be able to pay bills instead of creating them
with new sewing machines or other inventory needs.
I would have to say the Long Sleeve Peplum Blouse with Peter Pan Collar
from the Autumn/ Winter 2013 collection is a frequent seller right now. I
was going for a neutral, timeless look when I was designing it, and
peplums were all the rage last season. I love the top, especially on my
niece during the photo shoot because I feel like she should be quoting
Shakespeare while wearing it: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
Perchance thou should buy her Papoose Clothing.” You know, something
I would have to say start out behind the scenes first and develop your
business ideas fully before sitting down at a machine. Figure out your
target audience and your design aesthetic, if there’s a market for it,
create your brand, put everything into place so you can hit the ground
running. I did not do that, and it would have been so much easier in the
long run. It looks easy to start on Etsy, but if you want a
fully-realized business, a plan needs to be set in place with goals and
timelines. Otherwise, you could look like a hobbyist testing out the
waters. It does take time and money, but it is such an important step if
you want to be taken seriously. Then you can start doing the fun things
like designing and constructing!