Thanks to Crown Town Handmade's new internship program, I got impart my entrepreneurial wisdom (haha!) on a bright, young artist named Stephanie Cole. For two weeks Stephanie helped me make buttons, create an inventory system, brainstorm new ideas for Not Made In China and write a guest blog post about her own crafty venture:
I’m a twenty-five year old, broke, art school graduate, who slings pastries for a living... and is still figuring out what she wants to be when she grows up. Seems life never goes according to plan, and in this economy, flexibility isn’t exactly a choice. It's forced me to take the frequently asked question, “What are you doing with your life?” in stride. In the meantime, I’ve decided that if I’m going to be broke, I may as well do what I love (and maybe even try getting paid for it).
I started reconstructing my clothes in middle school. Puberty had really started to take it’s toll: I was 5’4", one-hundred pounds, short torso-ed, long-legged, and thanks to genetics, had a chest that felt like I was carrying two baby watermelons. Fortunately, things have evened out now, but back then my blossoming body made it pretty impossible to buy clothes that fit right off the rack.
Later, in college, I wrote a paper on the amount of waste contributed by the fashion industry. The numbers were pretty astounding. That's when I discovered the joy of thrifting... much to my mother's chagrin. She grew up as child number five, in a family of nine. Hand-me-downs and gently used clothing were always a staple in her closet. Understandably she’s a little perturbed to know that her daughter would rather spend $10 on a gently used coat worn by a stranger, than buy a brand new one from a major department store. But whatever her thoughts, she’s always been incredibly supportive... even if I was snipping away, reconstructing new clothes, and adding my own flair.
For over 10 years I've enjoyed altering secondhand clothes. Finally, I realized that I didn’t have to find a career. My dream job has been staring me in the face. People constantly compliment my sense of style and drop jaws when I tell them I made the clothes on my back. Why can't I make my passion my living?
The real challenge has been figuring out how to start. This internship has been such an inspiring way to begin 2011. As my dad would say making “Making any move is better than no move at all.” I feel like I’m finally taking a step in the right direction and I’ve enjoyed working with Nikki and the uber-impressive Not Made in China. After picking her brain for the past few meet-ups, it’s apparent that I’ve got my work cut out for me but I can’t help but be pretty excited about it!
Keepin’ it Crafty