Monday, May 7, 2007
In my fantasy retail shop, Lori Sandstedt, aka lorimarsha on Etsy, would have her own corner for her fabulous clothing, handbags and jewelry. Lori takes vintage garments and found items and restructures them into new, fun and funky designs: vintage scarves become blouses, leather skirts become handbags and old game pieces become jewelry components. Lori’s design approach of “redefining the lives of discarded objects” is exactly what I was dreaming of 15 years ago when I first imagined my own retail shop. This goal feels all the more relevant and necessary now.
Lori started her life in the business of craft as a designer of handmade greeting cards. This work evolved into the design of clothing and accessories. In 2002 two of her pieces were nominated for Niche Awards, which celebrate excellence in American Craft. One of her handbags is featured in “Hip Handbags” published by Lark Books.
Lori’s designs feature joyful color combinations and bold shapes. Every piece seems a celebration. Her tagline says it all: Wear. Smile. Repeat.
Hiking in the mountains or lounging in the sun?
Lounging in the sun! We're going to Maui on the 19th for a week. We love it there. Tradewinds. Mai Tais. SPF30. Yes!
What is more fun: shopping for items to reinvent, or actually taking those items through the process of reinvention?
Oooooh..that's tough. I guess it depends on my mood. There are days that I only want to shop and days that I only want to sew. So I'm thankful for both activities.
When you are shopping for materials, do you already have a design in mind, or do you browse, waiting to be inspired by what you find?
I never try to find anything specific because that never seems to work out. I walk around and wait for the thrift god to shine a light on that special item just waiting to be scooped up.
Who is your favorite shopping partner?
I usually fly solo but recently met up with an Etsy friend and a flickr friend for some shopping fun. It was great to actually meet these women who I had gotten to know online. Big fun.
When did you learn to sew? Who taught you?
I took a basic class in junior high but am pretty much self-taught. Until a few years ago, I sewed primarily home decorative things like comforters, pillows, etc. Oh, and when my daughter was little, I sewed her dresses. About two years ago I started doing this deconstructing/redesigning thing.
What do you most enjoy making right now?
Last week it was collaged cashmere sweaters. At the moment, I'm focusing on handbags from recycled leather. Next week it will probably be something else. I love switching gears.
What is your favorite part of the process?
Finishing! I am very motivated toward the end product. Sometimes it's hard to get started, you know? But once I'm on it, I tend to stick with it until it's done. I've always been like this. My husband can work on a project for months and be perfectly happy. I'm not so keen on long term projects.
If you hired an employee, what would you delegate first?
It's funny but I enjoy all aspects of what I do and have a hard time delegating. When I used to do wholesale, I had a couple of employees to get me through the really busy times. At the time I was making handbags from fabrics of my own design and I contracted out the sewing of the bags. That was a whole different world than what I do now. Making one of a kind items is so much more intuitive and personal...and I have learned from experience that collaboration is not for me. But...in terms of the
"business" of craft, I could let go of the invoicing and shipping. Oh...and inputing all of the business expense receipts into Quickbooks- I could give that up. Haha.
Aside from card-making, jewelry-making and sewing, are there other crafts we should know about?
I enjoy doing mixed media assemblages. I did a series of five pieces based on our senses, each contained in wooden sewing machine drawer. It was fun to do something that I knew I would keep for myself.
What is your favorite Etsy category to browse?
Pottery. I love good clay work. The shapes. Textures. Glazes. So very different than what I do.
Please list three things you enjoy doing that are unrelated to your craft business.
I love photography and spend way too much time on flickr. I collect Mexican folk art and hope to take a trip to Oaxaca for Dia de los Muertos next year. I am devoted to Jazzercise and also work with a personal trainer twice a week.
Check out Lori’s Etsy Shop and website.