Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Interview with Garage Couture

Lovely Erin Stevens of Garage Couture shared the nuts and bolts of her clothing design with me, and so it is with pleasure that I share this interview with you!

Tell me a little bit about your shop. Where are you located?And how did you come up with the name for your shop?

My shop is located in Vilnius, Lithuania (I am American, but currently live in Vilnius). Recently, I changed my shop name to “Garage Couture”. I like how it sounds. I can’t make “Haute Couture”, but I can make awesome “Garage Couture”: one-of-a-kind, detailed, fashionable and affordable upcycled clothing.

How long have you been making reconstructed, recycled clothing?

For about ten years. At first, I made clothes out of vintage and retro fabrics I found on ebay and sold them at various boutiques in Seattle. Lately, I have been focusing on using recycled clothing. I love it. I like starting with a piece whether it is a button, shirt, necktie or whatever and creating something around it, from it, with it, etc. It is my canvas.

What was the first item that you sold for your business and how did you feel when you sold it?
On Etsy, it was a necktie camisole. Happy and honored that someone liked my creation and wanted to buy and wear it. The customer was from Seattle, and since I lived there for many years, I thought for sure it was a friend of a friend of a friend who bought it. But it turned out that she just found my clothes on Etsy and liked them.

What makes you excited about reconstruction or upcycling instead of using new materials? What inspires you to create? What is your creative process if you have one?
I like to fantasize that I am Andy (Molly Ringwald) in “Pretty in Pink” (teen movie from the 1980’s) and I am making the coolest prom dress ever and going with the hottest guy in school. No really, I am excited to know that the pieces I use have a past as well as a future. Plus it feels good knowing that my customers and I are playing our little part in helping preserve the environment.

Garbage [inspires me to create]…when I see so much waste, I try to think of ways to reuse things or make something from something. Just to clarify, I do not use any garbage in my creations, it is just my inspiration. As for my creative process, rarely do I have the end result mapped out in my head before I start my project. I usually just start with something and see where it takes me.

How do you balance you business with other things in your life, including other jobs, family, friends, or other interests? Do you find it difficult or have you found that you are able to balance everything?

I can’t do it, had to quite my day job first.

What has most surprised you about creating and running your own business?
I am surprised at how much I enjoy interacting with customers, helping them choose the correct size, color and even doing custom work. I love the fact that I have control over merchandising, product shots, copy etc. Everything is my vision.

Favorite kind of summery dessert?
Favorite summery dessert would have to be a margarita although I can’t get good tequila in Lithuania. Next best thing is dark chocolate, good anytime of the year and luckily widely available in Lithuania.

Where can we find your work?

I have my work in a Boutique in Vilnius, Gedimino 9.

What is your favorite way to connect with others?

Word of mouth. It is nice when someone tells me they saw my top on someone and want one too.

Last thing, what is one tidbit of advice you would give to anyone starting their own business?

I need advice. Anyone want to offer some?

1 comment:

  1. Erin: What was your impetus for moving to Lithuania? How is clothing/fashion viewed differently there (or is it)?

    Great write-up; thanks so much for posting this?