Designer of the Week - al'aboutme Couture

Name: Karen

Where do you live: Vancouver, Canada

How old are you? 39

Do you have any children, if so what ages? 1 daughter, Caitlin, she is 4 ½ years old.

Current auctions: al'aboutme Couture

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1. When did you get started sewing and creating? Who taught you?

I started sewing when I was about 8 years old. It was the mid 70s and bolero jackets with matching skirts were the hippest thing. I wanted one in a big way but my mother refused to buy me a set. Instead, she insisted that I learn to sew a set for myself. She drafted the pattern, I cut it out and I sewed my very first outfit. I made it out of baby blue eyelet fabric. The outfit was pretty much unwearable because the holes in the eyelet made the outfit "see-through". But at eight years old, I wasn't bothered by it. lol

I've been sewing ever since but in all honesty, I haven't always enjoyed it. In fact, I found sewing to be a chore. It was in my senior year at high school that I actually started to enjoy sewing because for the first time I was designing my own outfits.

2. When did you start selling your designs on eBay? Do you sell anywhere else besides eBay, if so where? (example, web site, local boutique)

In my early 20s, while attending fashion design school, I designed and sold women's evening and cocktail-wear clothing to The Block, a local boutique in Vancouver. Shortly thereafter, I left the design field for a "safer" career in the field of Finance. However, my passion has always been a creative one.

In June 2000, I began reselling my daughter's name-brand clothing on ebay. And while I toyed around with the idea of selling my designs on eBay I essentially did nothing about it. For one, I had a full-time, professional career in Finance that took me away from home frequently. The other was because I had no clear idea as to what I wanted to do; some days I wanted to design Children's apparel, and on other days, women's wear. While I found my career highly rewarding, the travel was hard on my daughter, Caitlin. So I prayed. I prayed that the Good Lord would guide me and tell me what to do.

Early one morning in April 2004, while away on business, I awoke with a burning desire to get to my laptop computer and type. Within 2 hours, I had, in front of me; the concept of a children's clothing line. I returned home after that business trip and began sewing my very 1st design.

2a. Do you remember the first outfit you sold on eBay. Do you have a picture? What was it and what did it sell for?

The very 1st outfit sold on ebay was "Nantucket Romance". It was a Euro inspired Sun-Dress and Pantaloons set done in Blue Floral Chintz and Red and White Gingham. It sold for approximately $64.00

3. How did you decide upon your name?

I wanted a name that captured the essence of a child. For children… no matter who they're with, or what they do, it's always about them… hence the name, al'aboutme Couture.

4. Do you belong to any boutique group and if so which one?

I belong to a wonderful group of women called the Boutique Dreamers. I had been selling my designs on eBay for about 2 months when I received an invitation from Angie (that*funky*boutique) to join their group. I had never been in a group before and was somewhat apprehensive. But the Dreamers turned out to be a fabulous group and I am very proud to be a part of them. The women are highly creative and super supportive. We're currently working on a very exciting project. The ideas that these women come out are out of this world. I can't wait for you to see it! In short, the Dreamers Rock!!!

5. What is your favorite thing to create? (example: vintage style dresses, totes, overalls, etc) Why?

I don't have a favorite style. Most of the time, I allow the fabrics to speak to me. The fabrics dictate the style of the outfit. However, I particularly love the look of dresses with pantaloons on my daughter hence; I tend to design those a little more often.

6. What are your favorite types of fabrics or fabric designers?

I work primarily with 100% quilting cottons. I have occasionally worked with embroidered corduroy and velvets. I have a penchant for color and design. I love combining colors and patterns for an unexpected style. My favorite designers include Alexander Henry, Amy Butler, and Jane Sassaman.

7. Where and when do you do most of your sewing? ? Are you neat about it or do you have fabric covering the floor!

I sew almost nightly in the family room with the TV on. I have my fabrics stored in my daughter's room. The room looks neat provided that you don't open the closet door! lol! The sewing machine and serger are stored in the store room and are taken out as needed. We installed hardwood floors throughout our home last year. This makes clean up a lot easier. I sweep almost nightly after I sew… so I have to say, my sewing area is pretty neat. However, it wasn't always this way. The family room was carpeted prior to the hardwood installation and the carpet looked hideous covered with thread, hence the hardwood floors.

8. What other things do you enjoy besides sewing?

Besides sewing, I love to read. I read everything from architecture to fashion to food to travel. I also love to travel; not for business but for pleasure. I also love shopping - particularly for my daughter Caitlin. But most importantly, I love spending time with my family.

Anything else you would like to add?

Firstly, thank you very much for giving me this wonderful opportunity to be on Journal Modiste. To be considered for an interview amongst eBay's top Children's Boutique designers is truly an honor. Thank you.

Secondly, thank you to all the wonderful ladies whom I've had an opportunity to do business with. I hope you'll be back to check out my new designs.

Finally, while I continue to have a career in Finance, I hope that my children's line would one day become successful to the point that I may be able to leave my current profession. In the meantime, I'm truly enjoying what I'm doing. While some days are tougher than others, I'm learning a lot about myself and about the children's boutique clothing business along the way. Thank you once again to the Boutique Dreamers for being my Rock.

Some past al'aboutme Couture Designs

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