Meet PetalPetal!

Posted Thursday, September 15, 2011

Today we introduce you to EtsyKids Team Member Brianne of PetalPetal
  • what motivated you to start your shop?
My first official line of children's apparel was PetalPetal, a line of flower girl and occasional couture mix and match tops and skirts. I started the line soon after helping my sister-in-law shop for a modern flower girl outfit. We came home with your typical sparkly silky dress which just didn't match her natural outdoor wedding and which her flower girl, Ella, has never worn again. A week after her wedding I came up with the Biggest Flower skirt on a whim and she immediately said, "Why didn't you make that before the wedding? It would have been perfect for a flower girl!" Then the designs just kept coming! Eventually, they flowed over into my new line of vintage-inspired everyday wear for the modern child, VintageChild:Modern.
  • what is the story behind your shop name?
Well, flower girls are known for tossing petals down the aisle, and I think the word "petal" is a great word, so I just used it twice. Really, I don't remember thinking through the name, it just came to me and I ran with it.
  • do you have a favorite Etsy Shop (non-child related)?
So many! I love paper, so RubyRedDesignStudio and imeondesign. I stalk Coldfish because I love her vintage finds, but have yet to buy. HazelVillage has little creatures so incredibly full of personality and they are just as gorgeous in person. I want everything from Nadinoo and OhhhLuLu. I could go on and on, but I'll stop there!
  • what surprised you most about having your own craft / online shop?
How connected I would become with my customers, especially the brides I work with through PetalPetal. I LOVE when I get photos back from them that they just have to share with me because they loved their flower girl outfits so much! I have been known to cry over thank you notes.
  • what do you find most challenging about being an Etsy seller?
Again, how connected you become with people. Anyone who pours their heart into their work takes a risk. It is a vulnerable spot to be in. I have built great relationships with my customers, but the handmade business is never just about the tasks of designing, sewing and marketing. It is about getting to know people and working to bring their dreams to life.
  • what's your personal philosophy behind your shop / products?
I love things that are playfully sophisticated. I don't like things stuffy or that have no life to them, but I do love structure. I think the designs from PetalPetal have an almost architectural feel to them, but are still perfect for twirling and running and being silly. My philosophy for VintageChild:Modern has been clear from the beginning. I love the quote from Leonardo da Vinci that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." And yes, I do think sophistication and childhoods can go together beautifully!
  • how would someone (other then yourself) describe you?
Hmm, well I would love to be described as a playful, free spirit and I think there is definitely that side to me, but I think that during this time in my life as I work to build my two new lines, I think that my friends would say I have become a workaholic, often late and very focused. But I am working to bring more balance into my life right now and I think that I have a deep love of life and of joy and of play that shows through in my work and will hopefully show through in my everyday life again soon!
  • what music do you have on while you are creating?
Well, I often like to work in quiet as sewing has its own rhythm to it, but whenever I am working on editing photos or doing other computer work, I love listening to The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Cat Stevens, The Hollies, Roberta Flack, Peter, Paul and Mary, etc. on my record player and Fleet Foxes, Andrew Bird, The Felice Brothers, Arcade Fire, etc. etc. on my iPod.
  • what do you do when you aren't working?
I feel like I am always on call with work, but I try to squeeze in some meals and coffee dates with friends and I adore the fantastic live music that can be found all over Portland. I also have a deep love for everything that has ever been produced by the BBC, good, bad or ugly.
  • anything else you'd like to tell us or share?
Before beginning PetalPetal I worked for a nonprofit focused on eradicating human trafficking. It opened my eyes to how few opportunities women have around the world so while I love to design and sew, the greater focus of my business has always been to build a company that helps support other women entrepreneurs. Almost all materials from fabrics to buttons to business cards I use for PetalPetal and VintageChild:Modern are purchased from other women-owned businesses and 5% of all profits from both lines are invested in microloans for other women entrepreneurs through Kiva.

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