Friday, October 23, 2009

Fridays Featured Artist: Kiki from

Todays featured etsy artist Kiki from  Kikisthings. Kiki makes awesome children's  dress up clothes and costumes. As she says in the interview "They're not just for Halloween anymore", they are great for themed birthday parties, school plays and functions, or just for longs days of pretend and play. So take a moment to relax and meet Kiki as she describes her shop, her wonderful items, and how she got started in the Etsy community. Make sure you take a moment to check out her great shop too. Thanks and have a great day.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. (Please include your location)
Well, I'm currently living back at home, just outside of Philadelphia PA with my dad and my dog, Hemi. Right now I spend most of my time in the spare bedroom-turned studio. When I'm not sewing I love gardening and just being outside doing just about anything. I'm one of those "can't sit still" people. 

Tell us about your art/craft. What is it that you create
I make handmade children's dress up clothing and cstumes. Notice that I say dress up clothing--They're not just for Halloween anymore! 

How long have you been doing this? What led you to start creating your art/craft?
I've been running Kiki's Things since 2006. I started with winter hats. Stocking caps, character hats, just crazy pompom hats. But I really began making the costumes years ago. It was the summer after High School with nothing to do and my mom suggested I make up some costumes and sell them at the local community day. They were an instant hit! So I did that for a while but it was only at Halloween (pre internet) so I really couldn't make a living at it. Eventually I drifted away from that business and did other things. I came back to sewing in 2006. I was in a not so good marriage and needed something to do so I started Kiki's things. If you want to know how long I have been sewing... I don't ever remember not sewing...

Are you the only artist/crafter in your family or does it run in the genes?
NO WAY! Everyone in my family does something... One grand mom does hook rugs and is excellent at crocheting, the other grand mom does embroidery and ceramics, and mom is always coming up with some little crafty thing...

Is your art/craft your full time job? If not, what else do you do for a living?
As of June of this year Kiki's Things has been my full time job. I lost my day job and decided to give this a go. It's been so much better than I could have imagined! Its long hours but I LOVE it!

Who or what inspires or influences your work?
Well, I'm always looking to see what kids are in to. (I have none of my own) I look at the toy sections of the stores and also I just listen to what people are asking for. For example, my Mermaid Tail Towels, Last year was my first year on Etsy and I can't tell you how many times I heard "I'm so happy to have a Mermaid Costume- now I don't have to tie a towel around her to pretend" or something like that. That gave me the idea of the mermaid towel. Things like that influence me a lot

Is there anyone you would like to thank for being your biggest fan/supporter/cheerleader?
Well, that's an easy one.... My Family! Mom for giving me the idea, Dad for putting up with Kiki's Things being in his house, Aunts, Uncles cousins who help spread the word!

How did you learn your art/craft?
I learned from my mom at the beginning. When I was little she made a lot of my clothes and I was always "helping"

Do you have any formal training or education in fashion design?
I do. In High School we still had sewing class which I just about lived in. Then I went to The Craft Fashion Institute (a trade school) to learn Tailoring. I also attended the University of The Arts, here in Philadelphia where I majored in Photography. I'm much more of a Fine Art Photographer than a studio photographer. I think the study of Photography gives me the eye for detail that I use in creating these costumes. My art background, I think, gives me the ability to look at a cartoon and pick out the necessary elements to make the costume on sight.

You make and sell several different types/lines of children's costumes.  Which do you find yourself most drawn to and why?
I'm really proud of all of my works. I'm most proud of the things that are totally "mine" like the mermaid tails, the binkie-pahnts simply because they are my own ideas that people happen to like enough to purchase. That's an awesome feeling!

What is your favorite material or medium to work with?
Plain old simple cotton. It's so easy to work and you can make it do just about anything, it can be plain or fancy. It's my fav.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to try to learn your craft? Are there any hazards or dangers associated with your art/craft, for example working with certain materials or tools, etc.?
I would say that you just have to try it and start simple. Make a pillow first don't try to make a wedding dress your first time out. Sewing is pretty safe. I mean I do have cuts  from not being careful with the scissors and I stab myself with pins (not on purpose, of course) a lot but I'm not the most graceful so that's just me.

On average how long would you say it takes you to complete a piece?
Most of my pieces take about 1.5 -2 hours from start to finish.

What is your favorite item from your shop? Why?
I Love my Mermaids, both the costumes and the Towels.  I think I love the costumes because they were one of the first things I made way back when... and like I said, the tails are totally designed by me.

Can you describe for us your creative process and or what a typical day is like in your studio.
Right now my day starts around 7:30 am; I answer emails, do some online marketing and pull out items to be packed for shipping. Then I just sew, sew, and sew. Walk Hemi (my dog) at lunch time, then more sewing. I usually take a couple of hours off around dinner and just chill out. I'll answer more emails and do more marketing in the evening. I also get myself ready for the next day by cutting out and lining up items to be made for the next day.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat.....

What motivates you to create?
 I have no idea. It's just something I feel I need to do. Like breathing for me...

Do you do custom requests for your art?
I do most of my work this way. I've made ghosts, candy costumes, dogs, cats, video game characters, you name it...

What is the most unusual custom request you have gotten?
Last year I was asked to make a Hurricane for a 6 month old baby. I pulled it off and it actually came out really cute.

How did you discover etsy?
Last year my mom gave me an article from, I think, the Wall Street Journal talking about etsy and a few other online venues for crafters (I told you this was all her idea). I read the article and checked it out. .The rest is history...

How do you promote your business?
Anywhere I see an opportunity to promote I do. On line (if it's free it's me) I'm on Facebook, Craig's list, Twitter. I post to the Etsy forums almost daily, I do craft shows where I make sure everyone who comes to my booth leaves with something with my web site on it. I even put up flyers on community bulletin boards.

Knowing what you know now about online selling and running your own business, if you could start all over from scratch would you do anything differently?
I would never have stopped like I did in the beginning. I wish I was a little more organized but that's just how I am. (I know where everything is!)

Do you have any advice for other artists?
No matter what other people say, just keep doing what you feel you need to do to express yourself. And never stop trying...

Where else can we find you online and/or locally (i.e galleries, boutiques, etc.)?
 In addition to Etsy, I'm on Artfire.
I have my own site as well as several consignment shops on line.
I'm always looking for new places and boutiques!!

Who are some of your favorite Etsy sellers or indie artists?
PEEKO apparel & vintage I love her clothes!
Carolhanna- She's on Project Runway- what's not to love!
HollywoodSpotlight- has great vintage jewellery!
There's just too many on Etsy to mention!

Kiki's Things

1 comment:

VeganCraftastic said...

Super cute shop, I love the mermaid costumes!