1. Amelia, do you remember how you stumbled onto Ebay Boutique? I sure do! I was friends with a girl who bought a ton of name brand clothes for her daughter on eBay and resold them. She got me started selling my oldest daughter's clothes after she had outgrown them. She showed me this seller, SRANN, and I was in love.
1. When did you start listing your designs on eBay and what prompted you to take the plunge? I couldn't afford any of her stuff I was lusting after because I was a single mom, so I learned to sew and as it turned out I caught on very quickly and became addicted. I sold a couple things, but I didn't go hard core until I had my second little girl in 2004.
3. You were always such a consistent lister – new designs week in week out…how did you used to juggle this with raising your young girls? Awe thanks! I always felt like a slacker compared to those who had 2 and 3 listings per week! LOL So my balancing secret was that I gave up sleep for a few years and sewed all night long. Honestly, I just loved it so much I made time any way I could. As the girls have reached ages where they want more interactive time with me, I have seen why I had to slow down. It was a VERY hard thing to do, and I still ache to return one day.
4. Could you share with us the birth of a sweetfeetboutique ensemble – are you driven by fabric? Do you sketch out your design or just plunge headlong in? Fabric inspires me, but I often have ideas for outfits at the most inappropriate times. I will be sitting somewhere and think "oh I have never seen this or that, I should try that." I jot down designs on scraps of paper and various envelops, in fact I finally learned to carry a small notebook with me at all times...so at least I feel more organized. Once I had the idea, I would hunt for the perfect fabric. A funny aspect of my design process is that I always imagine the way I would model the set, before I even cut or sewed a stitch.
5. 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? When I first started, SRANN was the number one, hands down she was amazing and stood out on every level. The group to be in was ODOD and The YaYa's were also very elite. By the time I got my foot in the door selling and really made it a career, the Clovergirls were a group I most admired and also the Pixies, who I was so blessed to eventually join!
6. How do you think Ebay Boutique Custom has changed – styles, types of sets, number of sellers? Honestly, I search it so rarely I can't give a fair opinion. What I see is impressive. There are a number of sellers creating new and fresh things. I really enjoy seeing sellers who carve out their niche with a style that can't be mistaken for being anyone else's, like Mamapatrice! I am overwhelmed by the volume, that was actually one thing that lead to my decision to take a break. There are so many talented people out there selling, I feel like it's a buyer's market on eBay now for sure!
7. What are the BEST things about Ebaying and the Boutique Custom Community and what do you miss most of all? Well I can't lie. I miss the sell. I miss getting the emails from happy customers and pictures of their cuties in something I made. I LOVED that. But equally.... I miss my online chatting and friends. I miss having a reason to sit and answer emails all day and talking with these amazing women who knew exactly what I did and we had everything in common.
8. You have three beautiful daughters – do they have any special requests when it comes to sewing for them? Yes! Especially now that I am sewing for them! LOL, they love getting more clothes now that mama is not selling it all. :o) Avery is 9 and her only request is that what I make does NOT look babyish.
Masyn is my funny girl, she requires pockets, skirts that spin, and usually wants to pick out at least ONE of the fabrics involved. She is very into fashion, even at the ripe age of 4. ;o)
Evelyn is only 2, but she also has favorites. Currently she likes to wear pants the best, but will wear a sundress if it buttons, because she hates when things have to stretch over her head.
9. Do you have an absolute FAV set? I loved and still love these two sets. Actually, I just bid and lost a resell of my "Sunny Days" set, (left) which is also my hubby's favorite I have ever made...he was watching the auction with me hoping to see Masyn in it. The "Guess How Much I Love You" set (right) was special to me for a lot of reasons. The book is super special to me and it inspired the outfit and I just adored it. It felt new and fresh to me also, which always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. :o)
10. There is no denying your auctions were always total eye candy. The pictures of your sets were always so beautiful. Do you have any tips for when it comes to chasing toddlers around trying to photograph them? Thanks!! The best thing I can offer is "let them be." Make it fun by letting them explore and just follow and shoot. Wait for the moments, don't force it. Forcing gets grumpy faces. Also, bribery was totally acceptable when I was shooting with Masyn... she got lots of rewards for her pretty pictures.
11. I know I certainly have people I really admire on eBay – people whose auctions I regularly haunt – do you have anyone like that? I do, so many! I have to first and foremost mention my girls Patrice and Tracy. Mamapatrice and Junk2Jewels to put it in eBay terms. Those girls have been my rocks and mentors...I love them both DEARLY! I always loved BarkAtTheMoon too and now that I know her, she is just as precious as her clothing. Daria, who runs Boutique Cafe is my soul-mate-friend. I love her to pieces, she is awesome. I could go on and on forever. I'll just name a few more I love~ Eva (Fresh&Vintage), Chelsea (VintageChicBoutique), Nic (SweetTeatBoutique), Emily (SugarSweetBoutique), and probably so many more I am missing.....ugh puttin' a girl on the spot!
I love Michelle, who is a customer, but her work on her blog in the boutique community is SO cool and she is just a great girl, I can't wait to meet her next month.
12. You have recently started a photography business – can you tell us a little bit about that? I can.. It's called Intimate Photography (which sounds risque, but it's totally innocent). ;o) I take pictures on location in natural light.
13. What made you decide to move away from ebay and to take the plunge into photography. This was definitely one of the top 5 hardest decisions I have ever been forced to make. With all the pressure to keep up on eBay and create something new, display it, sell it, remake it, and be a good mom.... I took a long hard look and I realized that the latter part wasn't where I wanted it to be. I took a step back from selling before deciding to go into photography. I'm still second guessing myself. :o)
14. What sorts of photography are you specializing in? Do you have any fav shots you'd like to share? I specialize in photos that look real, not too posed, but not fully abstract. I call it "real life portraiture." I enjoy seniors, because they sit still, but I love kids too. Families are tough because it's so much more work getting 5 people to look good than just one. I will attach a favorite to this email.
15. What are your goals for your photography business? I'd love to have it be a passion and take on a life all it's own..... I don't want a job, I want a joy. That's my ultimate goal. And after that I want world peace. ;o)
16. Who would you say were your photography idols? Leigh Taylor and my good friend Natalie, who is AMAZING!
17. Do you think you have left Boutique Sewing behind completely or might there be a chance we could see a rebirth of sweetfeetboutique? Well I am not promising anything, but the thoughts never leave me. I still sew and I even sell *gasp* to some who ask.
18. Would you like to give a shout out to anyone? Well I did a lot of name dropping above, but I would also like to shout out a "Thank You" to those who comment on my blog and those who have stayed close even as I have made this wacky shift. I love and appreciate you guys SO much!!!
19. Any closing comments That you ROCK Cree! This has been so touching, to really feel missed blessed my socks off and left me in tears. I am so grateful for the kind words and interest in both my past and future. THANK YOU!!!!