Sunday's featured shop is Max and Magnolia! Now, I'll admit, I'm not a mom, but the adorable onesies and baby items in this shop make me swoon. I love that they aren't the typical gender-specific pastel pink and blue -- and the graphics? Forget teddy bears and think drum sets and roller skates.
The woman behind Max and Magnolia is Rebecca Lee Brownstein, who lives in Pasadena, California with her husband and two young boys. Here's what she has to say...
|Drumset Stencil Onesie|
CM: Tell us a bit about yourself...
RLB: After 7+ yrs working as an HR Director on Wall Street I really looked at my life and decided working 14 hours a day wasn't how I wanted to spend the rest of it. I told my then-boyfriend if he was serious about us being serious then I wanted to be back closer to my family on the West Coast. Fast forward 5 yrs and I am now a Domestic Goddess (my preferred title) working from home in So. Cal. and caring for 2 little boys (3yrs & 1yr), 1 husband (35 going on 12 most days) & 2 dogs. I'm lucky most days if I get 1 complete hour to myself for my Max & Magnolia products, but I wouldn't change it. (ok, maybe I would ask for 1 more hour).
CM: When did you start sewing and/or making clothes? Did someone teach you, or did you teach yourself?
RLB: I grew up with a mom who could quilt like nobody's business. She did show me a few tricks but I was way too impatient as a kid to absorb enough of it. These days practice, a really good machine & sticking to stright lines helps. Just kidding, I have gotten much better over the last 5 years and actually make a bunch of clothes for my boys using their dad's old clothes. As far as my dyed/stenciled onesies are concerned It started with a craft night at my house & a great group of friends. 2 of the gals showed us how to dye & voila an idea popped into my head. Add that to a fabulous friend who agreed to co-own an Etsy shop and there you have it. From there most of it was trial and error for us. Hours were spent perfecting the dye process, trying out stencil designs, and testing paint products. A lot of chocolate and diet coke was consumed as well. Sadly, my friend moved away and couldn't dedicate time to the shop anymore. Thank goodness for FaceBook to help us keep in touch!
|The Elephant in the Room Onesie|
CM: You started making baby clothes because of little Max and Fallon Magnolia. How old are these two now? Still young enough to wear your adorable onesies?
RLB: Max & Fallon Magnolia are now 3 1/2 (please be sure to include the "1/2" or they will be very upset). Max is 20 days older than Fallon Magnolia. Although he can't squeeze into a onesie anymore, his little brother Tate can so he is now my go-to-model. and just so Max isn't left out I do make the same designs for him on t-shirts. Naturally they both have their own custom I SPY bags & LOOK BOOKS as well.
|Earth Day Onesie|
CM: What is your works space like?
RLB: My works space is not quite big enough and never has enough storage, but I do get my own craft table in the corner of the family room & have slowly taken over the storage closet as well. Being organized is key to making the most of the space I've got.
|I Spy Bean Bag|
CM: What's the best thing about selling on Etsy? The most challenging?
RLB: I love the forum Etsy offers for so many talented crafters, artists, bakers, etc. Where was I on that idea? It's fabulous to be able to shop and know that I'm buying from someone who really puts a lot of work into what they do & that I'm getting something really unique and cool in return. I hope people feel the same about my shop.
My challenges with Etsy change. For a while it was managing my shop, then they came up with new options to help with that. Then it was being patient. I felt like I hit a plateau and the sales were not exactly pouring in. I found myself thinking I needed to start making things that were selling in other stores. Lame, right? It might not sound like a challenge, but it is. The childrens market on Etsy is really saturated so it can be easy to start thinking that way, and it sure seems like a few stores may have done just that. but then I thought, that's not what Etsy is about is it? It's about showcasing your own unique stuff or twist on something. So I'm sticking to what I think is cool and hopefully it works. On a plus, things have really picked up lately :)
|Childs Artist/Crafting/Baking Apron|
CM: What's your favorite item in your shop right now?
RLB: My favorite item in my shop right now is my Look-Book. My boys absolutely adore theirs and love flipping through the photos of family members or their favorite toys I've put in them. I think because I see how much they enjoy them it makes the time that goes into them worth it. They really are a labor of love because they are one of the first inspiration items I had from my children but just didn't get around to making them for some time. I like thinking of other kids toting theirs around in the car or to church like mine do.
|Look Book - Child's Quilted Photo Book|
CM: Do you have any favorite shops or items on Etsy? If so, what are they?
RLB: I love vintage, retro and comfy. The shops below are currently my top 3:
|Onesies Available in Many Coloros|
A big thanks to Rebecca! Stay tuned for the next post....
(All photos in this post copyright Rebecca Lee Brownstein)