Designer of the Week - Petunia Plum

This week meet Julie Kronen of Petunia Plum. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband and 4 children; Jackie, 6; Gabe, 3; Oliver, 3 months; step-daughter Reed, 10 years

See Julie's current eBay auctions: Petunia Plum and add Petunia Plum to your favorite eBay sellers list: Click Here:

JM: When did you get started crocheting?

JULIE: My mother taught me how to crochet when I was 7 years old. I was house-bound after having hip surgery and she taught me things that I could do while immobile. I learned counted cross-stitch and crochet that winter while recuperating and through many other surgeries I had quiet entertainment.

JM: What are your favorite types of yarn to work with?

JULIE:My favorite kinds of yarn to work with are 100% cottons, especially the nicer Egyptian cottons I recently found. Once I started working with cotton I decided never to go back to acrylics. Cotton survives children better and it just feels nicer overall. I don’t have a particular brand I am partial to because with each project I use many different types to create the final product.

JM: When did you start selling your designs on eBay?

JULIE: I started selling my crocheted accessories on eBay last June, 2005. In January of this year I began selling to a few children’s boutiques and I have participated in a few craft/vendor sales locally. My son’s preschool has a "Boutique Week" before Hanukkah and again before Passover and after participating there I received invitations from the local boutiques. People would ask where the mothers where they bought their handmade accessory and they would refer the people to me. It generated a great deal of special orders. Most of my sales currently are local people who see my designs on my daughter, son or on other children.

I closed my eBay store temporarily in February to prepare for the birth of my newest son Oliver. During that time I started building my website with the intentions of selling on it in the future. Oliver has been a very easy going child who fell into my family’s schedule easily so I have been able to return to eBay earlier than I thought. I missed the excitement of eBay!

What did you do before eBay?

JULIE:Before eBay and before I had my daughter, I worked at a trade association in administration. I was a Spanish translator on a team that handled the distribution of hazardous materials in the chemical industry. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Maryland, College Park with a BA in Spanish Language and Literature. I "retired" from my job prior to my daughter’s birth so that I could be a stay at home mom to her and to my step-daughter, Reed. Reed has special needs and we needed someone to transport her to and from therapies. I stepped up to the plate and had the privilege to be the primary care giver.

JM: Do you remember the first item you sold on eBay? How much did it sell for?

JULIE:The first item I sold on eBay was a pink summer barrette. I sold it for $5.00 to someone who later started carrying my barrettes in her boutique in New Jersey (thank you again Bridget and Keely of Keeks and Brie!) Bridget bought it for her daughter but ended up wearing it herself. It was a simple design but versatile for summer.

JM: How did come up with your name, Petunia Plum?

JULIE: Petunia was the middle name of my childhood cat, Frisky Petunia. All my cats growing up had two names for some odd reason. The plum was a tribute to my favorite color purple AND I liked the alliteration of "Petunia Plum." Ultimately I wanted a name that would lend itself to other endeavors in the future. I used to make a lot of dresses for my daughter and thought I might return to it in the future. I left my business open-ended so that I could branch out with other creations when and if I needed more creative avenues.

JM: Do you belong to any boutique group?

JULIE: I just joined SoBella Boutque! I was tired of going it alone on eBay and wanted to branch out with my creations. I wanted to be a part of like minded women and liked what I saw with the designers in SoBella Boutique. They were seeking new members, I applied and here I am! While I have only been with this group for about two weeks (at the time of this interview), I really admire and appreciate all the women in the group. Everyone has been more than welcoming to me and helped me feel comfortable immediately. I feel like they are all working towards the same goals and aspirations that I have. They are a group of very talented ladies!

JM: What is your favorite thing to create?

JULIE:Right now I am really enjoying the tote bags I have been making. All of my nieces are getting them for their birthdays. I like playing around with different colors, different yarns, different sizes to make a unique bag just for the intended child. I just love to make custom-made. Don’t get me wrong, I like to create designs that suit a certain purpose but it is nice to put together something that is unique to one person. Their appreciation fuels my passion for crochet. I tend to stick to classic, "goes with anything" accessories, providing items that complement a child’s entire wardrobe. I can always dream up new things but it is always nice to collaborate and implement something for someone else. Custom designs are learning experiences for me and change up life so I don’t get bored.

JM: If you could learn some new skills, what would they be?

JULIE: If I could learn a new skill it would be to learn how to cook! While I am creative in other areas of my life, cooking is not one of them. My husband was the cook until a recent job change and now it is my responsibility. Nothing causes me more stress than to figure out what to fix for dinner every night!

JM: If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?

JULIE:I would go back to Spain. I spent a summer living in Madrid with a host family and would love to return with my husband and revisit everything I saw then. I went with a group from my school and studied there. We would read a Spanish novel and the next day would go see all the sites mentioned in the text. I had a lovely time but it would be nice to be a true tourist rather then just studying. Nothing would be more lovely than to return.

JM: What other things do you enjoy besides creating?

JULIE:I love reading and spending quality time with my husband. I spend way too much time on the computer with nothing to show for it other than knowing the latest entertainment news. I talk too much on the phone, especially to my sister. And, right now I love Sudoku! My husband got me hooked on it last year and we have races weekly to see who can finish first. I’m such a nerd I bought a book and worked from start to finish in order to "perfect" my technique. I have to put it down so I can get my real work done, crochet.

JM: Anything else you would like to add?

JULIE:Yes! I’m shocked and thrilled to have been chosen as a Designer of the Week! I haven’t been out there in eBay land that long so I am very honored. I want to thank my family. My husband Mike has to endure my crochet talk and he is ever patient with me. My twin from a parallel universe, Stacy, thank you for your friendship and your ear! Jodi, many untold thanks for your help with Petunia Plum and for penning the design! Most importantly, the little people who have to put up with me constantly, thank you for being my little models, especially Jackie and Oliver. I waited nine long months to have a baby model and the poor thing hadn’t left the hospital before he was being photographed!

Do you have a question that you are dying to ask Julie? Comment about something she said or designed? Post it here and she will answer it!

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Dawn (bug*a*boutique) | Wednesday, July 26, 2006 6:21 AM | flag
Beautiful work Julie! It's nice to see your handmade crochet items and accessories.

Bridget | Tuesday, July 25, 2006 2:01 PM | flag
It is so nice to see Julie and her Petunia Plum designs featured on this wonderful website! I have had the pleasure of purchasing her gorgeous handmade creations for our boutique for the past year. Our customers just love her flower barrettes! They are so pretty and the quality and design is simply outstanding! Her products appeal to a wide range too... my 9 year old loves to wear her designs as much as my 2 year old (me too for that matter) The icing on the cake is that she is a super nice girl who is such a pleasure to work with. Wishing you much continued success with your wonderful company Petunia Plum!!!Sincerely, Bridget Marcato

| Tuesday, July 25, 2006 11:30 AM | flag
Wow! You do amazing work.

Some past Petunia Plum Designs

To view past Designers of the Week
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