Sep 20, 2012

Customer Spotlight - Doll Baby Boutique


It's time for our customer spotlight, featuring Katrina from Doll Baby Boutique. Trina, take it from here.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Katrina. I am a mom of 2 little ones with big personalities ... my girl, Aitana, and my boy, Gabriel ... with a new baby girl on the way, making her arrival at Christmastime! I'm a Southern California native. Lived there 32 1/2 years until my husbands job up and moved us to Nashville, TN, this past summer. But that's totally ok for this citified country girl! It's the first time I've ever lived away from "home," and it's certainly an adventure. Before life with kids, I was an editor for medical education and building codes. What a far far cry from my life as a "sewing mommy" (as my kids say). Did I ever think I'd be at home with almost 3 kids and sewing up a storm? No way. I've always been creative, but I never knew I had THIS in me. What a pleasant surprise it was, too!
I'm a lover of vintage. I have photographs of my loved ones everywhere. The color red shows up in almost every room of my home (except my girl's very pink bedroom). My favorite colors are fuchsia, olive green, ivory and gray. I love "Fancy Nancy" almost as much as my daughter does. For as much as I love to PLAN, I'm learning fast how to sit back and just go with the flow. My kids are my most favorite people in the world (with my hubby being a very close second)!

2. Is there a story behind your shop name?
Doll Baby Bowtique was really the first and only name I could come up with. My mom had always called my sister and I her "doll babies." I think that may subconsciously come from my grandmother (her mom) calling all her little ones and their little ones "her dollies." When my daughter was a baby, she had that chunky little round face and we just couldn't help calling her a doll baby. So, that's where I got it. My own little Doll Baby. I started out simply making bows and now it's just grown and that's the least of my business these days! I've been considering changing the name to incorporate my other kiddos, but so far, we're still "Doll Baby Bowtique."

3. What is your sewing story? Who/what inspires you?
There were many who sew in my mom's family. My great-grandmother, my grandmother, aunts, great-aunts ... and more. My sewing story starts way back 22 years ago. I used to "sew" paper together to make vests/shirts for my stuffed animals and dolls and I got a toy sewing machine and played around with that, as well. When I was 10 years old, my mom found out that there was a sewing class being given nearby and enrolled me. I took one sewing class ever in my life. I made a drawstring bag, a skirt, a pillow and a half-finished tank top. I played around on my mom's machine here and there but lost interest because it was a "beast." I always enjoyed looking at patterns and fabrics and always thought it would be fun to really know how to sew. Fast forward to 2008 and I started my business by making bows for my daughter and soon after I got a small following through friends and family and their word of moth. Then someone I knew, who admittedly had never sewn before in her life, made a pillowcase dress for her daughter. I realized with my little bit of knowledge, there was no reason I couldn't be sewing, too. So, Christmas of 2009, Santa brought me my very own sewing machine. Now very few days go by that I'm not at that machine working on something, trying new patterns, throwing things together, daydreaming away about what I can't wait to make!
My inspirations are my grandmother Angie and her sister Jackie and my aunt Caroline. These women have made some of the most beautiful things and I always wanted THAT talent. And I was the lucky recipient of some of their craftsmanship. Most recently, my own children are my inspiration of course. My daughter has such a unique taste in styles and fabrics. She'll often tell me which fabrics to get and which to not, and most often what she loves is a huge hit with my customers! And I just can't get enough of my son and daughter asking me to make them something special. It makes me giddy.
4. What was your first sewing project?
My first sewing project ever was a drawstring bag at 10 years old. Fast-forward and my first sewing project for my daughter was a basic skirt ... I soon played with a couple of other store-bought patterns and it was easy and ok. Then I found a very easy dress pattern because it was time to make something different, so I decided my first BIG sewing project would be to make that dress for my daughter. It took me 4 hours, but I did it! I'm glad to say this dress now only takes 1.5 hours max and that's if I add some "flair" to it.

5. What was your biggest sewing disaster?
Biggest? Well, I'm not sure I've had any HUGE disasters, but certainly lots of little ones. There was one customer that I was making a dress for and I didn't use the good ol' standard of "measure twice, cut once." and I cut about 3 inches too short on my last remnant of a hard-to-find fabric. I think I just about died. At the moment, all I could do was go to bed and sleep off the twisted gut feeling I had. I was thankful I was able to add a border and make it look all pretty. Phew! I've had many other blunders ... from trying to adjust a pattern to do something a little "different" and having it either be too big or too small. One time I tried making my daughter a shirt from a store-bought paper pattern and thought I knew better about the length I needed for the elastic - she wore it once out of pity for mommy. And not to mention the numerous times the skirt of a dress has ended up being sewn "inside-out." Let's just say I've come to learn exactly what kind of seam ripper I like!

6. Tell us about your fabric stash, sewing space, and/or favorite sewing supplies.
My fabric stash? Oh man ... it's not just a stash, it's an addiction. I live, I mean love, to find the newest and cutest, must have, can't-live-without fabrics.But I'm happy to say that my MOUNTAIN of fabric is all neatly stashed away on bookshelves, a tall cabinet and an old giant vintage 5-drawer dresser ... with a few stragglers on the floor of my storage closet. When we moved and bought our new house in Tennessee, that was the biggest must-have for me. A space I could call my own. I ended up having to share our basement with my kids with this house. BUT I have 2 beautiful desks to work on, with lots of cabinet space, next to a huge window overlooking our back yard. And my pride and joy is my fabric CLOSET. An entire walk-in closet devoted to just my stuff! Out of all the stuff I have, I think my 2 most favorite supplies are my disappearing ink marking pen and my seam ripper ... I couldn't live without either of these! And my most favorite fabric has to be Michael Miller fabric. I love so many other designers, but there is something about Michael Miller ... I believe it makes up at least 40% of my fabrics!

7. Aside from sewing, what do you enjoy doing?
I love a good mystery show. Psych and Murder She Wrote are my favorites. I love to read a good Nora Roberts novel and just be swept away in the romance. I love to make a really nice dinner - anything so delicious that it makes your tummy growl at first wiff. My daughter once told me, "Mommy, you make smell-good food." I knew I'd done something right! Besides that, I love coming up with fun and different things to do with the kids, whether it be a random trip to the bookstore so my son can play with the legos table or putting up the kiddie pool on the deck for some bug-free splash time ... whatever puts a smile on their face is enjoyable. Oh, and let's not forget a good night's sleep ... I'll take one of those any day!

8. What advice would you like to share with new sewists?
Advice ... hmmm. I'm not an expert at sewing by any means, but I take a lot of pleasure in it. My best advice is don't give up and ask for help. Whether the help means asking the pattern maker for advice or asking someone to watch your kids while you finish a project. Also, take it easy ... doing anything too overwhelming will take the joy out of the craft. And only make things you truly love to make. I've had customers ask me to make certain things I was always interested in trying. Come to find out, I couldn't stand making it once it was done. And I learned quickly that if I didn't truly love to make an item, I just don't make it. Take risks and be creative ... do the things you are afraid to do. This is your own craft, you might as well enjoy it.

9. Where can we find you online (FB, Etsy, blog, etc.)?
You can find me all over. I am on facebook at www.facebook.com/dollbabybowtique ... and I'm on etsy at www.dollbabybowtique.etsy.com ... and I do have a blog that is far from updated, but you can find that at www.dollbabybowtique.blogspot.com.

10. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
I supposed one of the things I want to say is that without finding Little Lizard King patterns, I may have given up on the whole sewing situation! I've purchased many pdf patterns from a variety of wonderful pattern makers and many are quite fun. But, LLK's by far are the easiest to understand and I've often referred to them when trying to figure out how to put something together and get it just right. On top of this, my most requested outfits from customers are using LLK patterns!
Over the past 4 years that DBB has been in business I have met so many wonderful people ... customers, other boutique owners, suppliers and pattern makers. Quite a few I've become aquaintances with and some even friends, and I couldn't be happier about that. 5 years ago when I was eagerly awaiting the birth of my Doll Baby, I could have never imagined how busy, crazy, fun and enriched my life would be now. I couldn't have done this without the support of my family, friends and customers and I feel such an overwhelming sense of gratitude to everyone who has simply encouraged me and my craft. Thank you! 
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Thanks, Katrina for taking the time to let us get to know you and yours a little better!! P.S. I used to be a huge fan of Murder She Wrote. Anyone else?

If you are interested in being featured in our customer spotlight, send us an email at littlelizardking@gmail.com.

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