Friday, October 31, 2008

Designers Questions...Answered

Here are a few of the questions we asked our designers this week!

Out of the entire design process, which part is your least favorite? This includes each portion of the process, from choosing fabric, cutting, measuring, taking pics & editing, all the way to the finish: listing the auction!

Most of our designers LOVE the design process in whole, but if they had to choose their least favorite part, it would be cutting appliques! They said this process is very tedious & requires many measurements. Also not a favorite part of the process, listing the auction itself & having to create the same set/jewels/tote several times as the designers are usually excited to move onto a new design!

If you could "hire out" for your least favorite part of the process, would you?

Most of our designers wouldn't feel comfortable "hiring out" any portion of the design process as they are very meticulous & feel like it is important to complete the design themselves.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Interview with Beth of hollysmama

Where were you born and raised?
Hawkeye, Iowa an itty bitty town where the people are timeless and hold a special place in my heart

Where do you live now?
Cedar Falls, Iowa - A place with historic beauty and charm.

How many children do you have? Names and ages?
One sweet little Girl - Holly age 6

What are your hobbies (besides designing and sewing)?
There are hobbies outside of designing and sewing? OK, I love to bead, but don't have the time to do it anymore. I also enjoy sketching and playing with Holly. My most perfected hobby is drinking coffee and talking with my friends.

What is your eBay ID? Hollysmama

Do You Have An Etsy Store? Yes, but haven't started to list there yet. It is under Hollysmama, just nothing for sale.

How did you come up with your ID, is there a story behind it? Kind of boring - I'm Holly's Mama and I needed an ID I wouldn't forget.

Are you a member of a design group? How long have you been a member of that group? Lemonlime and I've been a member for about 3 months.
You were groupless for a while...what made you go back to being in a group? Peer Pressure
I was asked to apply to Gallerybay by Kelly - lexisboutiquecloset and was accepted. Shortly after I joined her health started to get worse and has since stopped designing. Now I'm in Lemonlime at the prodding of Kary - Gorrillabear and Alicia - Rainasdesigns.

How long have you been selling your designs on eBay? 4 1/2 years I believe.

What got you started? I had been making barrettes for Holly on alligator clips through the winter and I was told to try selling them on ebay. Selling on eBay gave me an outlet for the number of barrettes I was making each day. About 3 months after starting with barrettes, I branched out into designing clothes. It has become an addiction and the history seems hard to believe today.

Do you remember the first set you sold on eBay? How much did it sell for? Oh boy, do I ever! It sold for $33 and it was a Pumpkin Man overall with monster sized ruffled legs.

Have you noticed a change in your designs from when you first started? YES! I started out doing a lot of peasant shirts/pattern type of designs with lots of ruffles and since then I have just started cutting and seeing what happens in the end. I have gone from a "classic" look to a bit of funky and somewhat unexpected look for each new set I make. In one week I could work with frayed denim to lace and taffetta - my style is never the same anymore.

What is your inspiration for your designs? Holly for my own unique designs, but I have a lot of customers who just come to me and tell me what they want, colors, etc and I will create based on that. Many times I know the children and their personalities, so I try to design around them. Many of my designs for customers become their special Hollysmama OOAK, because it is difficult to recreate it for another child knowing it was meant for one specific little girl.

Are there any other designers you admire? I adore Angie - That*Funky*Boutique, Dawn - Ella*monde and the DIVA herself thedomesticdiva

What is your favorite design you have created? We are talking about 4 1/2 years here and this is just one? OY! Well, I have 3 designs and each one is special for my own reasons. The first one is a Red Holiday Gown, as I designed it for a SIDS charity for a friend's family. It never sold on ebay and sits in my store, but the local charity raised over $350 in a raffle.
The second design is a jacket and that one reflects my personality the most. It is a very classic cut in a gorgeous yellow/olive fabric. I believe it is in my store still and may have been a part of a poetry collection I did a couple years ago.
The third design is Holly's personality and it was just listed! She requested a rainbow fairy design using frayed denim and lots of ruffles. Considering she requested it, I had to make it. I'm anxious to see what other people think of Holly's design. :)

I see you are now doing more sets with appliques. What brought you to do these new designs? Holly - she asks for it and I do it. I always like to play with appliques, but have never considered myself a "true" applique designer. I'm working towards doing more into the future. We'll see what Holly asks for next.

Who is your favorite fabric designer? Quite honestly, I'm not big on one fabric designer anymore. I have SO much fabric in my house and am not allowed to purchase more until I use up what I have. This is truly easier said than done, of course. I do enjoy a good Euro fabric, but if it feels good and looks fabulous I am happy.

If you could max out your credit card at one store, what store would that be? Lowe's - I love to do home renovations & we desperately need a 2 stall garage. The other store would be a furniture store in New York City that totally had my style - don't know the name, but I bet I could find it again if I were in the SOHO, China Town area.

What can we expect from you in the future? Hmmm....I'm wanting to do some comfy lounge sets complete with robes for the yucky winter months coming up. I'm anxious to do some of the spring designs I had planned to do last year, so some skirt sets and halter dresses will be in the future.

I am always reading on the boards about you going and visiting fellow board members. How many vacations have you been on specifically to visit other eBay members?
Specifically - 2 vacations this year - Diva's BBQ and a trip to visit Kelly (lexisboutiquecloset) and that time we were able to meet up with Stacey as well. Last year we traveled to Colorado and Angie (that*funky*boutique) met up with us at the hotel for a couple hours. There are a couple fellow Iowans that I've had the fortune to shop with and hope to get a couple more to join in the next outing. It really is amazing to meet people in person that you've chatted with on boards for years. I have plans to head to Phoenix in February or March next year...who's going to meet up with me then???? Hey Stacey - when are you coming to Iowa? hee hee

Holly is just so adorable! Does she enjoy modeling or do you have to bribe her?
Great question! Technically, I had to bribe her recently and she is great at bartering already! She wanted an American girl doll and I gave in as long as she modeled 8 sets for me. She hasn't asked for anything since then, so I'm not volunteering to bribe her anytime soon - that was an expensive doll!
Does she still like to wear what mommy makes for her, or do you see her custom boutique days coming to an end soon?
She will wear my sets as long as they don't LOOK like they are "true" custom boutique. She wants more applique'd shirts, skirts and non-ruffled pants. I have adapted my designs to fit her desires & personality. If I can keep doing that, she may wear custom boutique until she's 16. ;)

Beth is offering free shipping through the month of November if you mention that you read her interview on the Boutique Buyers Blog!!

Ending in less than 24 hours


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

eBay Welcomes A New Design Group

It is so hard to follow design groups on eBay these days, with new groups coming and going all the time, but you will want to remember this group and mark it as a favorite! The name of the group is Sugar3, and within this group you will find lots of talented designers whom I am sure you will recognize. They will be having their first group launch on Tuesday, November 11th. Be sure to check it out! I just want to say CONGRATS to these fabulous designers on this new group venture, and best of luck! Below are some of their members previous designs, or designs that might be listed for this launch:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Favorite Auctions of the Week

Here are our members' favorites for this week!

Who's at the top $$$

1. bowznstuff_boutique~ "Ginger Love" ~ Sugar3

2. staceysstuffclothing~ "Forest Fairy" collection

3. smallsomething~ "Eclat Rouge" ~ Clovergirls

4. sweet_chilli_designs~ "Bear in the Big Blue House" ~Lemonlime

5. gigglez-n-grinz~ "Red Riding Hood" ~Ivylane

Featured Auction Of The Day

Today's feature is this gorgeous Feliz dress set by Gumdrop*Shop. Such a darling set for Winter!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Winner Of The PoppySt Gift Certificate Is...

Kori, of CutiepiesCouture! Congrats Kori, and thanks for playing! I would email Rene' of GirlyGirlOriginals, or Cindy of JustCindy68 to let them know you won. Have fun spending your $60 with PoppySt!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Boutique Designer...

Guest Writer Post

This month in our eBay group, we had the privilege of chatting with Nat of SmallSomething. Let me tell you that this girl is beyond talented, and just as lovely as can be! Thanks so much Nat, for accepting our request to do the Guest Writer position. It has been so much fun getting to know you better! Here is Nat's post:

You know...Custom Boutique Designers really have to LOVE what they do. They MUST love it, or they wouldn't do it...because it takes a lot of work! An eye for design...and an ability to design, sew and construct fabulous clothing is only the first step...there are SO many more tasks involved in getting a new design presented to the wonderful boutique buyers out there. In fact, if "Custom Boutique Designer" was advertising a job opening, experience in ALL the following would be listed as MUST have skills to apply:

Photo stylist, Photographer, Graphic Artist, Hairstylist, Photo Editor, Model Stylist, Web Page Designer, Customer Service Manager, Company Sales Representative, Shipping and Receiving, Marketing and Promotions, Customer Communications...and the list goes on....

Let's talk about just one of these area's for a minute shall we? The taking of photos...oh my goodness, so much work and time can go in to taking a great photo of an outfit! I sometimes literally think it takes just as long to dress up my model...find a great spot, take the pictures, edit the pictures, and list it--as it does to make the outfit in the first place! And let us just hope that we have a happy, willing, cooperative model on the day that we need to DO the photo shoot...ahem...

I want you all to think of a time when you maybe were trying to take family photos, especially photos of your children--everyone is dressed up, people are getting cranky, kids are tired or hungry...the lighting is going...panic is setting in that you won't get at least ONE decent shot, oh dear, it looks like it might rain...sound familiar? Try taking family photos every week or twice a week and see how much fun it is.....he he...

Photo-taking actually CAN be very fun...and luckily I have a daughter who thinks the whole photo thing is one big dress-up game and is more than happy to cooperate. That is not to say that I haven't resorted to bribery (smarties or the promise of an ice-cream cone afterward are acceptable bribes to me...) coaxing, and all sorts of creative methods for getting her to look happy (for some reason, my daughter laughs hysterically whenever anyone falls over or looks like they might trip over something...I use this to my advantage as I pretend to trip over any rock or vine in sight---I imagine it's quite entertaining for anybody passing by as well...looking like a deranged idiot is a small price to pay to get a great photo--I think I actually AM tripping over a blackberry root in the pic below...see how worth it it is??)

The other thing to consider is that your little model is dressed up in some fabulous outfit...sometimes something that is one-of-a-kind, and the last thing you would want is for THEM to trip and get the outfit dirty or rip it! And I hate to say makes me sound like an awful mom, but the first thing out of my mouth if it looks like Reagan is going to trip is not "Honey, don't hurt yourself"...but "Sweetie, DONT get the dress dirty"...

Speaking of tripping (literally) probably the most memorable photo shoot Reagi and I have had would be the time we took pictures of a Marie Antoinette costume. First of all, you are bound to attract some strange stares if you are out walking around with a little Marie Antoinette in full dress with a huge wig on--it's just not something people see every day! We've had people take pictures of US taking pictures...people ask all sorts of questions...and even people wanting to pose with Reagan and have someone take their picture...(here is a lovely bunch of people from Brazil...I couldn't really understand what they were saying, but they were VERY interested in what we were!)

For the Marie Antoinette photo-shoot, I took Reagi over to a fabulous old city building in a neighboring town. It had exactly the right "look" for a castle...but I had forgotten that there were usually a group of very interesting people (most looking like remnants from the 60's) that like to picket in front of the building on any given day, protesting all sorts of things. You should have seen their faces as I'm leading around little Marie Antoinette...most of them probably thought they were hallucinating...not to mention, at one point Reagi backed up and tripped over a root, and DID fall down and the towering wig fell off and went rolling away down the sidewalk, adding a whole new dimension to the "off with their heads/French Revolution" thing we had happening...those poor old hippies, we had them quite bewildered that day!

One thing about it, being a custom boutique designer allows you the chance to do all sorts of things you maybe wouldn't normally do...go to places for photo shoots maybe you wouldn't visit otherwise...and meet all sorts of fabulous people--both in person and online. I have literally 15,000 pictures of my daughter dressed in all sorts of fun oufits and costumes--documenting both how she's changed over the years and how my designs have changed and all the different places we've been--and how precious all of those pictures are to me. Those photos help me remember each design, and each lovely customer that purchased that outfit.

Yes...designing...and taking photos...and editing...and all of it IS hard work--but it is SO fun and such a privilege to have the opportunity to do it...and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sending A Plea To The Boutique Community

Ladies, a friend of ours is in need, so I wanted to pass the information along to all you amazing people that make the boutique community a special place to be a part of.

Lisa, A.K.A..The Domestic Diva, has a daughter that is in desperate need of a Kidney Transplant. Her family and close friends have all been tested for a match so they can donate a kidney to Marielle, but so far they haven't found one. This comes directly off Lisa's blog:

"Because my daughter received a liver transplant as an infant, she carries not only her own antibodies, but that of her liver donor. Therefore, she is a harder match than most. If you would like to find out more about being a kidney donor to my 15-year-old daughter, Marielle, please contact Joann Palmer of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia at (215) 590-2449.

Please help me spread the word. Feel free to post this to your blogs and web sites. I would be forever grateful."

Please consider contacting the hospital to see about being a kidney donor. And think about how you would want others to do the same for you, if this was your child. Also, keep this family in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time. The boutique community has worked wonders for so many people in need, and I am sure we can all come together for this family that has been such an influence in this well respected community.

Featured Auction Of The Day

Today's feature is a cute penguin theme Christmas set by Sara_Joe. It can be worn through the Holiday Season!

Handmade Kids Stocking Stuffers

This week in our eBay group, we were on the hunt for stocking stuffers for our kiddos. We know that it is so hard to find unique items for the stocking, so we wanted to give our readers a vast amount of items to look at. Below is what we found. Check back next week to see what new things we were looking for.