I don’t for one moment think I am alone in my admiration for one of the sweetest ladies I have had the pleasure to meet on Ebay – Susan Lee – aka little*monkey. I first remember noticing Susan way back when I first started on eBay. Back then she was designing with the IT group the Boutique Yayas – I remember marvelling at her gorgeous little girl – dresses loaded with ruffles and cloche hats and her impeccable appliquéd tees and twirl skirts – I was in awe. These days of course Susan is with the indefatigable Ivylane and continues to offer week after week THE sweetest sets with a special touch that is unmistakably little*monkey.
I listed my very first set in July 2004.
2. One thing that really sets you apart is your ability to list so consistently – how do you manage this?
I LOVE creating new things, so I usually list sets which are OOAK! I usually aim to do list 2 OOAK sets per week.
3. Something that makes you really unique is your collection of OOAK’s with just the occasional custom. I am sure we are just all bursting to know your philosophy. Do you like to keep it fresh, hate repeating something, time constraints?
Honestly... I have a very difficult time creating the same thing more than once! I always have... I'm always itching to put something fresh & new up. I get asked this question often;) I am really trying to list more customs lately.. really!
4. I know I have very little time or energy for that mater for other crafts or hobbies but do you enjoy any hobbies or crafts outside eBay?
I love taking photos, scrap booking & reading.
I used to play the piano, I'd love to start that up again... but there just doesn't seem to be enough time in day as of late! I LOVE music.
Other interests are going to hockey games, shopping (of course), spending time with family & friends & working out at the gym.
5. One of the things I think we all admire about you is your impeccable applique – would you mind sharing your applique history – how you learnt, did someone teach you, do you have any applique idols?
Thank you! I love doing applique work. I did teach myself... I remember the very first applique set I listed was a dress with a little crown I had satin stitched to the bodice. I was thrilled I'd finally figured out how to do it! After that, I started doing alot of applique overalls. I have SO many applique idols.. Crabby*G, Tortoise*and*Hare*Clothier & Mylilpixie have always blown me away with their applique work.
6. One of the things I think about a lot is the traditional ‘eBay age’ Both our girls are getting towards the top end of the ‘eBay age’ –do you plan to push forward and create new boundaries for the boutique custom community or do you have other plans for little*moonkey going forward.
My absolute dream would be to one day have my own line that would be sold in my own boutiques! (May as well dream big!)
Once both my kids are in school, I plan to take Little Moonkey to the next level... I'm just starting to figure out the steps involved in doing so!
7. Can you paint a picture for us of when you first started on eBay? What was it like, who were the big groups, what kinds of things were popular?
First of all there were ALOT less designers than there are now. It has been so amazing to see all this new talent emerge in the past few years. The big groups when I started out were the StitchinChicks, the Yayas, ODOD & the Pixies.
Popular items was anything chenille, applique overalls, muffin hats & patchwork twirl dresses/skirt sets.
8. How do you think Ebay Boutique Custom has changed – styles, types of sets, number of sellers?
In the past 4 years I've seen alot of changes. A big one that comes to mind is how the designers have been presenting their items. I've seen designer's photography skills come a long way! I'd say there are at least double the amount of sellers since I first started out, there are also at least 5 times the amount of boutique groups.
9. You obviously have a loyal customer base – do you have any tips for people starting out on how to make sure you offer GREAT customer service?
I'm so blessed to have such loyal & wonderful buyers!
I have a mailing list where I have occasional specials & shipping discounts. I always have great communication with my buyers.. I've made wonderful friends with many of them! I always have my garments ironed, tags/labels sewn in, packaged & wrapped nicely. Items shipped in a timely manner. Customs done in under 2 weeks time.
10. What are the BEST things about Ebaying and the Boutique Custom Community?
Ohhh... SO MANY things I love!
First of all I just love doing what I do, I feel so so blessed that this allows me to stay at home with my children.
The people I've met.. both buyers & designers have been amazing... I've got to know so many of you that will be life long friends. I love checking out other designers work... you wonderful, talented ladies are SO inspiring to me, it's been so neat watching many of your children grow up before my eyes!
11. Do you have an absolute FAV set?
12. Your gorgeous daughter is certainly one of THE faces of the Boutique Custom Community – does she have any preferences for things she likes you to sew for her?
She does... she is now 5 years old! She loves dresses of any kind, but especially knit dresses! She is my little fabric shopping companion & has been since she was 2 yrs old. She is my inspiration for everything I do.
13. I know I certainly have people I really admire on eBay – people whose auctions I regularly haunt – do you have anyone like that?
I sure do!!
Of course all my wonderfully, talented Ivylane group mates... each & every one of them blow me away on a weekly basis with their hard work & creativity.
Others designers I admire:
Bowznstuff_boutique (of course!), smallsomething, modkidboutique, bellamarieboutique, srann, carolinesclosetboutique are some of my ebay idols!
14. I have noticed you using some of the Farbenmix patterns – what do you like about them and do you have a FAV?
I find the instructions very straight forward as compared to the ones you find at your local fabric shop. The styles are SO fun & you can add your own touches to make them super unique. My fav would have to be the Olivia pattern (knit hoodie dress).
15. Do you have any particular fabrics you like to use?
I love large scale euro prints, Japanese import fabrics & knits seem to be what I'm drawn to lately!
16. You have a very beautiful ME Page – who designed it for you?
Thank you! The very talented Leeziebee designed it. She was great to work with & I would highly recommend her.
17. Would you like to give a shout out to anyone?
My family for always being my number one fan & support. My Ivy group mates for their inspiration, support & encouragement. All the awesome designers I've got to know, the sweet emails you send mean the world! And last but definitely not least.. my buyers, thank you so much allowing me to dress your precious children.. I am truly SO grateful.
18. Any closing comments
Thank you SO much Cree for the fun interview! It has been such a pleasure chatting with you... I was thrilled you asked me as I am a huge fan of yours & I check out your blog daily!