Bantam Businesses | Interlaced Goods

Hello Lovely!

Today I am introducing you to the wonderful Steph of Interlaced Goods! I met Steph at Texas Style Council last year. She was so wonderful and, thanks to the magic of social media, we’ve kept in touch! I’ve loved getting to know Steph and learning more about her business. Steph crochets the scarfs herself, each one taking about two hours to make, and sells them so she can give back to the community. Steph’s products are perfect for a little “treat yo self” gift or as a gift for a friend. You not only get a beautiful product but you also get the warm fuzzies, knowing you helped people.

Now let’s meet Steph!

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Bantam Businesses | Thousand Skies

Hello Lovely!
Today I am introducing you to the amazing Elda of Thousand Skies. Elda’s illustrations are honestly too cute to handle. I first saw her work at Renegade Craft in Seattle and immediately fell in love. I think that day I bought two prints and a pin. Enough about my love for her work, let’s meet Elda!
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Elda from Thousand Skies

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A: I was born and raised in Indonesia. I first moved to the US when I went to college at Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. After I graduated I got a job in San Jose, California and I’ve been living here ever since.
Q: How did you get started drawing?
A: I don’t know when it was exactly but my parents would tell me how I made a scribble all over our living room wall and that’s probably how it started. People always knew me as the kid who likes to draw, it became part of my identity before I even knew the concept of it haha.
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Thousand Skies Pins

Q: What has been most rewarding about owning your own business?
A: The freedom to do whatever you want. After working in the creative industry for 10+ years, you came to realize that is something that you don’t always have control of. Work is work, but this is your baby.
Q: What is your favorite part of making your art?
A: I love that feeling of being inspired, if I have to describe it, I feel like everything is so light and energetic, I know that I am truly living the moment, it’s just me and the art, none of my real world problems exist during that time. It doesn’t always happen though but when it does, it was a great day.
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Thousand Skies Pillows

Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: I work a full time job as a graphic artist at Gaia Interactive, so my free time is actually spent running my side business as Thousand Skies. When I’m not doing both, I will spend some good quality times with my husband and our dog Wifi.
Q: Where do you get the inspiration for your illustrations?
A: Mostly natures and animals, but I have to say some of  my strongest inspiration came from music and movies. They weren’t necessary about the visuals but more about the mood and feeling that I felt and I would interpret that in my own way.
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Thousand Skies Keychains

Q: What is your creative process?
A: I found my inspirations first and sometimes it would take me a day or two before I start sketching. The time in between is usually just a thinking process, like “how should I proceed?”, “will I like the idea the next day?” On a great day though, I will get inspired and executed it immediately, but that’s very rare.
Q: What made you want to branch out from drawings/prints?
A: Partially because I love crafts and I was trying to find a way to merge the two things together. More importantly because I considered myself as a practical person and I always wanted to make something that is somewhat more functional.
Thousand Skies Unicorn Pillows

Thousand Skies Unicorn Pillows

Q: What is your favorite dessert?
A: Macaron.
There was a time where it’s really hard to find a good macaron place because they weren’t popular yet so I decided that I will learn how to make one myself. I figured it’s cheaper and hopefully better? but let me tell you, it was quite a disaster haha but now I could actually make some legit macarons and they were pretty good. The recipe I used is from Pierre Hermes and he is my god of macarons.
I have to agree with Elda on her favorite dessert. Macarons are my favorite!! Thank you all for allowing me to introduce you to Elda and her amazing little shop. I adore her work and am so glad I could show off her talent to you! Of course, thank you so much to Elda for chatting with me and for being so awesome!
Please be sure to follow her on social media and stop by her adorable shop!!
Instagram | Facebook |Shop
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Bantam Businesses | Sweet & Sour Vintage

Hi Lovely!
My first Bantam Business post for 2016 features the amazing Natalie of Sweet & Sour Vintage. Natalie and I connected via Instagram and I instantly fell in love with her amazing dresses. Talk about vintage style! They are seriously wonderful! She works with really amazing vintage fabrics (and some new) to create fun vintage inspired dresses. How cool is that?! Now, let’s learn more about Natalie!
Note: You will want to read all the way to the bottom for a discount code!!
 Natalie
Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself?
A: Hey, there. My name is Natalie Galasso and I’m from northern New Jersey, right outside NYC. Living in such a diverse area has definitely informed my eclectic approach to fashion but I would call the style of my clothes feminine, vintage-inspired and whimsical with a modern edge. I’m 33 and run my aforementioned small handmade clothing business, Sweet & Sour Vintage. Most of the textiles I work with are vintage fabrics, but I do also work with retro and new materials as well. I have a background in art history and writing, but fashion has always been a constant in my life. Another love in my life is my boyfriend and my sweet and spunky pug, Layla, both of whom keep me on my toes. I wear mostly black in my everyday life, but live for designing colorful things.
Q: How did you get started with making handmade dresses and tops?
A: I got started making and designing clothes in high school, actually. I took fashion design classes there for a few years and learned basic sewing and stuff. It was there I made my first dress, a very late ’90s forest green minimalist jersey dress. But, growing up, both my grandmothers made clothes and so I was exposed to the process while really young. Also, it was the late ’90s when I attended high school and this is when vintage and thrifting really started to become trendy and viable. Actresses were starting to wear vintage on the red carpet and Marc Jacob’s famous grunge collection (he is still my favorite designer ever) had happened earlier in the decade too, so those were big influences on me. Additionally, the music I listened to (mostly punk and indie type stuff) informed my style and tastes. I eventually went to Fordham and graduated with a degree in English, but also took courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology on the side.
In my late ’20s while unemployed, I started selling strictly vintage in my etsy shop. It was fun thrifting for items for the shop, but I’d always find beautiful fabrics in the process too that were inspiring. I love the style of say, mod ’60s stuff, but a lot of that stuff is damaged, tiny or the fabrics are synthetic, so I wanted a way to preserve that very vintage style while modernizing and improving it. Thus, the Sweet & Sour handmade line was born. I had so many ideas and sketches for dresses and cool fabrics, but most of the sewing knowledge I had gleaned while younger wasn’t up to speed, so I advertised for and found a great seamstress I work with, Kathi, who makes the clothing. Basically, I find a fabric I like and then sketch and/or send her inspiration photos that I want to work off of and we discuss and come up with a design idea. Then, she makes samples and I style/photograph/ post them in the shop. Sometimes, we sell the samples themselves but mostly, we do made to order custom dresses. We also do some mismatched vintage style bridesmaid dresses.
Sweet and Sour dresses

by Kerri Sullivan

Q:What has been most rewarding about owning your business?
A: One of the most rewarding things about running my own business is working with brides. Helping them select the perfect vintage wedding dress or working with them on bespoke bridesmaid dresses is amazing. It’s such an honor that they choose to buy from and work with me and it’s a nice feeling being involved in someone’s special day in any small way. I also think there’s something really empowering about providing other women with custom, well fitting clothing. As someone who has struggled with their own body image, it gratifies me to help other ladies feel good about themselves and the way they look. Also, the creative community and friends I’ve made through doing this are great. Lastly, just seeing your designs and ideas come to life is fun. Sending off your pieces and seeing the way people style what you’ve made is so cool. I’m not someone who thinks my designs need to be worn a certain way. I don’t think I’m breaking the design wheel so to speak and my clothes are meant to be fun and playful above all.
Q: What is your favorite part of making your items?
A: My favorite part of making items is discovering a quirky vintage or beautifully wrought new fabric that I want to work with. I usually instantly know what I want to do with it and it’s that initial moment of inspiration and then eventually fleshing out my ideas that I love.
Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: In my free time, I enjoy seeing bands, reading memoirs I can get lost in, taking meandering walks, perusing style blogs, cuddling my pup and cooking yummy (mostly vegetarian) food. I do yoga sometimes and enjoy “slice of life” and indie graphic novels as well. I also have a keen interest in studying (and getting) tattoos, the art deco period and interesting subcultures. I believe in traveling as much as possible and being genuine because life is short.
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from Ryapie

Q: Where do you find your vintage fabrics?
A: I find most of my vintage fabrics at a local thrift shop or two in a neighboring town. They have a whole thrifty sewing section which I frequent. I also sometimes take apart vintage clothing and remake it into something new. There’s also a wholesale fabric place in an old Italian neighborhood about 30 mins from me that has both vintage and new materials. It’s amazing and will always be my secret and where I source most of the fabric! I also buy both vintage and new materials on etsy and ebay.
Q: What is your favorite dessert?
A: Ooh! I love this question. My favorite dessert is banana cream pie. Or wait, ice cream. Or…. You only said one, right? Haha.
Q: Who is your vintage style inspiration?
A: I have MANY vintage style inspirations but some standouts are Edie Sedgwick, Twiggy, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn (duh), Jane Birkin, Jackie O., Mia Farrow and Clara Bow. Some more modern style inspirations are Sofia Coppola and Liz Goldwyn (a director, writer, vintage/art history expert and all around creative) as well as Dita Von Teese and Gwen Stefani. I generally admire women whose style isn’t contrived and that lead full, exciting, creative lives in addition to being fashionistas. That’s so much more interesting to me.
Here is a HUGE thank you to the wonderful Natalie of Sweet & Sour Vintage for taking the time to chat with me! Please take a moment to go check out her shop and support this small business owner! Natalie is so sweet and is running a few discounts in her shop right now!! Use code THANKYOU for 40% vintage in her shop and use code CUTIELIFE for 15% off on handmade pieces!
P.S. be on the look out for an outfit post featuring one of her amazing dresses!!
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Bantam Businesses: Debbie Draws Funny

Hello Lovely!

I hope you are having a wonderful day! Can you believe it is already December? I feel like the year has just flown by! Today I am introducing you to the amazing Deb of Debbie Draws Funny. Her cards are absolutely amazing and are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. They are filled with humor, wit, and awesomeness plus they come in a range of topics from holiday cards to weddings and so much more. You can pretty much find a card for any occasion in her Etsy shop. Now the fun part, let’s meet Deb!!

P.S. Be sure to read to the end for a special discount code in her shop!

Deb Draws Funny

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself?
A: I’m basically an un-grownup. I mean yeah, I’m considered an “adult” by society’s standards what with the whole being married with 3 kids (13 yr old Jack & 8 yr old twins Charlie and Amelia) living in the burbs and pay my bills, but it’s a total cover up. I’m actually a 12 year old in disguise.

What else? I’m an animal lover and cats are my jam. But I’m not a species racist- ok, I’m still working on my appreciation for anything with more that 6 legs. It’s been a real challenge, truth be told. Recently I was seen gently escorting a daddy long leg out of our living room with a tissue. But I decided to take a trip to Vegan Town (psst, it’s not an actual place) and I’ve been living there for about a year now and it’s a pretty nice! Yes, there’s the occasional obnoxious vegan police ranting about, but overall it’s a very friendly place!

Q: How did you get started with your business?
A: After a few months on Etsy trying to sell my handmade jewelry with very little success, I got the kooky idea to make a Hall & Oates inspired greeting card for Valentine’s Day 2013. I hadn’t sketched much since college in the 90’s. I was rusty and super insecure about my skills since my art prof only gave me a C. I didn’t even know how to make greeting cards. I had a lousy printer. But I was compelled to create that Hall & Oates card along with about 8 other quirky and punny designs. I made some laser copies of my pen drawings at the local Office Max, cut them out and glued them to some blank red greeting cards I bought from Michaels. They sold almost immediately- I was floored! Glamour featured my Hall & Oates card on their website’s list of best Valentine’s cards- whaaaaaat?! I think that’s when I knew I needed to stop beading bracelets because apparently the universe was calling me to make quirky greeting cards!

Since then, the old days of literally cutting and pasting greeting cards are in the past, and I’m happy to report that once I made enough profits, I invested in a professional printer and high quality card stock. The resulting products are so much better than the originals, but the message is pretty much the same. I know people weren’t ordering from me because it was fancy and pretty, they were moved by the content.
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Q:What has been most rewarding about owning your business?
A: Being able to work for yourself is pretty awesome. Best of all, it allows me to work from my home studio and be here with my kids when they’re home from school. And even though there are days I long for the security of a steady paycheck, being available to my family with the bonus of doing something I absolutely love makes it all more than worth it. Plus, I get to play Neil Diamond loudly and singalong while I work- something that was discouraged at my old job.
Q: What is your favorite part of making your products?
A: It’s pretty damn fun. As a maker, there’s no thrill like when you create something and somebody wants to give you MONEY to buy what YOU made. I still pinch myself! I never know what will happen when I put out a new design. It could be a hit or total dud. I’m constantly surprised by what becomes a best seller. And I finally get to put my daydreaming skills to work. I used to get in trouble for doing too much of that in school. I mean, I get to be silly for a living. That’s not bad work if you can get it.
Holiday cards
Q: When not making your hilarious cards, how do you spend your time?
A: As you know Hilary, I have a serious Netflix habit. I really should write it off as a business expense. So many designs were influenced by watching sitcoms!
Q: If you had to choose, which card design is your favorite?
A: That’s a tough one! I think my Hall & Oates card would be one for sure, not because it was an instant success but because I was literally giggling when I sketched it while listening to their greatest hits. It seems that if I’m actually grinning or cracking up while I’m sketching it out, it turns into a best seller. The same could be said for so many other favorites of mine like the Mother’s Day card I made for my own mom two years ago and decided to put in my shop. It’s an awkward looking teenage girl (ahem, a 14 yr old me) with the text “Thanks for loving me through all of my awkward phases”. It was not only a big seller, to my surprise, but it was also loved by Real Simple.
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Q: What is your favorite dessert?
A: Cupcakes. Or birthday cake. Basically, if it has the word “cake” in it, my ears perk up. It’s a challenge finding a vegan version of my favorite indulgence, but we happen to have an awesome vegan bakery 10 minutes away from us called Vegan Sweet Tooth.
Q: What is your favorite television show?
A: You know I love me some Parks & Rec, (The Office, Seinfeld, 30 Rock are also faves for sure! And I’m loving The Grinder- oh my God, who knew Fred Savage grew up to be so funny?) But if I were stuck choosing one current show that I cannot live without? It would have to be The Walking Dead. I’m such a TWD nerd.
Deb is so incredibly talented and I am so glad I got to share her shop with you!! Deb was nice enough to offer a 30% off coupon if you sign up for her mailing list! Perfect timing for you to buy those awesome holiday cards! The coupon is good through the entire month of December (YAY!) so be sure to get your orders in!!
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Thank you so much to Deb for taking the time to chat with me and for offering such a killer discount!!
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Bantam Businesses: Calligraphy Cult & Giveaway!

Hello Lovely!
Today I want to introduce you to the amazing, Michelle of Calligraphy Cult!! Michelle is an incredibly talented calligraphy artist based in Katy, TX. Seriously. No joke here guys. Her work is gorgeous! I met Michelle when I stepped out of my comfort zone and traveled to Austin, TX for Texas Style Council. I went to this blogger conference on my own and was more than just a little nervous. I was terrified no one would like me.  I am happy to say that my fear was unnecessary. I met so many wonderful individuals, Michelle being one of them. We met during one of the meals over the weekend. She was crying, I wasn’t sure why, and without thinking I took my tissues out of my bag and offered them to her. Michelle and I had a few casual conversations over the weekend but didn’t interact too much more. It wasn’t until later when we started connecting via social media that we really bonded. Michelle is a strong, inspirational, wonderful force to be reckoned with. I am seriously excited to be introducing you so lets get to know Michelle!! I know you will love her as much as I do!
P.S. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for the giveaway details!!
Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself?
A: I’m from Alabama, I met my husband and my fur baby there. After several years I convinced them to move to Texas, where the majority of my family live. I love to craft, sew, knit, paint, make jewelry, I have recently been getting into stained glass and I even throw pots on a potters wheel. I suffer from craft ADD– self diagnosed, of course–where I just jump from project to project. I really enjoy learning new trades and meeting creative women in my community. I love to take workshops whenever I can. I highly recommend them, especially if it’s something you have never tried. I have so many on my craft bucket list.
Q:  How did you get started with your business?
A: My business is still pretty new. It is only a little over a year old and it has transformed so much based on my passions. I started out as a wedding and bachelorette paper goods shop. I still offer some items under this category but I’m more interested in designing invitations, logos, prints, and even artwork for blogs. I got started basically because I have kidney failure and I have to do dialysis 3 days a week for 3 hours. It leaves me exhausted and I need at least a 2 hour nap after right now. It’s not easy to work with all that going on so I decided to leave my job before we moved to Texas. I started my own business after our wedding to honestly just keep busy. I never have set any huge goals till this year. After attending Texas Style Council it’s like my dreams kind of wrote themselves. I am in the process of creating a community for calligraphers and hand letterers.
Q: What has been most rewarding about running your business?
A: The most rewarding thing about my business has been to literally follow my heart and do what I love. It has allowed me to meet so many amazing and talented people that I never would have had a chance before. I met Hilary because of my business. I’m pretty sure I was crying when we met, but she accepted me and let me sit at her table. I love to help people learn about calligraphy and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Q: What is your favorite part of calligraphy?
A: My favorite part is the simplicity of taking an image in my mind and putting it on paper. You don’t need anything but ink, a pen, and paper. I love having ink stains on my fingers, it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I will sit for hours and just write thoughts down. Its very relaxing.
Q:When not making super awesome calligraphy pieces, how do you spend your time?
A: I spend a lot of time practicing calligraphy. Its my favorite thing to do! I keep myself busy with lots of different crafts and art forms. I foster rescue dogs, get together with friends and family, and go to the movies with my husband as much as I can. We love to eat at new restaurants when we can too.
Q:What is your favorite dessert?
A: This is probably the hardest question. I have a really strict diet because of my disease so I’m not allowed chocolate or dairy. So I think if I could have anything any time I wanted it would have to be a big hot brownie with ice cream and hot fudge with extra cherries! Yum!
michelle

photo provided by http://www.makemynotebook.com/

The above notebook can be purchased at MakeMyNotebook.com and 10% of sales is going to prevention & research on Alzheimer’s.

Thank you to Michelle for chatting with me and thank you to all of you for supporting small business owners like Michelle! Please go check out Michelle’s store and connect with her on Instagram!
Giveaway: One lucky winner will win this beautiful print by Michelle! Visit me on Instagram to enter! My screen name is thecutielifeyou are so loved print for blog
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