Today we have the great Shaina Mote from Los Angeles, CA of Elfland. She sells handmade clothing, bags and occasionally jewelry made from found metals or everyday objects. All the clothing that she makes is made from reclaimed materials. As you will see...she does not sacrifice style in the process.
What is your real life like?
I am only nineteen (twenty in a week!!!) so I don’t have any kids or anything like that. I hang out with friends- I intake as much art, in any and all forms as possible to fuel my creative endeavors. I play in my darkroom, in my journal, on canvas and on my sewing machine.
As far as my work schedule goes, I work for Elfland most days a week- working weird hours (ie: 4pm-4am) and one day a week for my father’s tree moving and preservation company as a photographer and marketing manager. (check him out: he moved and saved the largest tree on earth!)
What is your process?
My process starts with finding the right materials and let me assure you—I am very picky. I can’t stand fabrics that are scratchy, non-breathable or stiff. I always go for beat-up, faded men’s t- shirts, vintage silks, rare fabrics like woven gold, metallic thread, vintage hardware (buttons, zippers etc) anything that has true personality is for me.
Once I find the materials, I look at my inventory of fabrics. Some colors and textures play off of each other- I take it from there. Usually I am not sure what I am going to make when I walk into my studio, it just happens.
Business Goals and Vision...
My main goal for Elfland is to maintain integrity, hopefully that means making enough money for me to survive on!
My long-term goal is to start another line called mote (my last name, the smallest fairy in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream, meaning a minute speck of dust). Mote will be comprised of more “handmade couture” items if you will. This line will be a bit more polished and experimental versus Elfland’s everyday, ready-to-wear attitude.How do you market your business?
I market mainly through etsy.com and I rely heavily on word of mouth from happy customers. I also sell at an awesome boutique in the arts district of Culver City, called Indie Collective owned by a fellow etsian.
Do you subscribe to any business related blogs,zines or magazines?
Not at this point. But I love picking up art, fashion and photography magazines like: Blindspot, Artforum, Zink, Nylon, (the upcoming designers section), Another Magazine, etc.
Who is your favorite musical artist? (click on artist to see video)
Hard question… I’ll have to go with the B-52’s.
What inspires you?
Everything, but here are the highlights-
My mother, fairy tales and myths, circus, Anais Nin’s writing, junk, Henry Darger’s illustrations, dream life, off hues or diluted colors, bright or oversaturated colors, circles.
What are two of your favorite things from your shop?
The Secretly Aerodynamic Socialite because of it’s unique shape (third picture)
and The Halo Sculptress because of the rarity of the types of fabrics used. (second picture)
Am a fan of these places...
www.peoplescouture.etsy.com my friend, owner of Indie Collective boutique and gallery
www.sennatree.com my fathers tree moving company
www.fashionspot.com view independent designers collections here
www.lonelyplanet.com the dream of traveling
www.bottlevillage.com the inspiration for my bottle house
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