Friday, October 31, 2008

MyImaginaryBoyfriend

Today I am featuring Erika Kern from Bakersfield, CA of my imaginary boyfriend. She makes bags, pillows, logs and such. Most items feature felt, embroidery, and hand applique. All items are inspired by my love of vintage goods and traditional techniques . I stumbled across her work while on somebody's blog (forgive me- I forgot who it was) and her log pillows were shown in an Etsy mini of the bloggers favorite items on Etsy- I saw these log pillows and I was in LOVE!

What is your "real" life like?
I started the business when I lived in Brooklyn and worked during the day in the city. About a
year ago, I moved back to my home town of Bakersfield, CA so that I could work on "the boyfriend" full time. Since I've been here I've just been sewing like mad!
Other than the boyfriend. . . I live in an awfully cute little house with a very understanding roommate and 2 sweet dogs we're fostering for a local no kill animal shelter.
On the rare occasion I'm not working on items for the boyfriend I like to cook, watch tv and movies and listen to all sorts of music (though I do a lot of them while working), ride my bike, haunt the thrifts, collect all sorts of odd do-dads and knick-knacks, and decorate my home.

What is your process?
I usually start with the thought "Wouldn't it be funny if ___?" which is usually followed by "was made of felt." Or I get an idea for a bag or I see a fabric that wants me to make something out of it. I usually start with sketchs for bags and embroidery pattern but for something like the logs or the rocks I just sort of organically start painting or stitching. I use a ton of felt and boxes and boxes of DMC embroidery floss but I also love to work with vintage fabrics that I find at thrifts, from old clothes, at flea markets, or on eBay. As for special techniques. . . I use a lot of blanket stitching to construct my more soft sculpture items (like the logs or rocks) and I also screenprint my own material for the logs. I used to hand paint them but my friend, Hannah, of "Made with Love by Hannah, showed me the light and taught me to print.


What are your goals and vision for your business?
I'd like to become more focused on my work. I get a bit scatter brained at times. I'd also like to update the shop more often and more regularly, maybe pick a day every week to do updates. . . like every Friday is date night with the Boyfriend! Make it an event. I also need to figure out a way to deal with demand. Especially with the logs. . . people LOVE the logs and it's hard to keep up. I get a lot of wholesale requests that I have to sadly turn down because I just can't fill them printing and sewing all of them by myself by hand. My mom has recently started to help me which has been a huge relief but it's just a drop in the "I need help!" bucket.

As for long term. . . I honestly don't know. I know it's bad but I'm the least business saavy person you'll ever meet. I dream of meeting someone who knows all about business and who will help me make this into something I can truely do as a living. Right now, though this is my only "job" I rely a lot on help from my family and roommate and the random odd job here and there.

How and where do you market your business?
Again, I'm bad here. I've been lucky enough to get a lot of blog attention without even looking for it and with each blog post I get sales. I also do a lot of indie craft fair all around the country. Every show helps me get more press and fans. I know. . . I'm really lucky!



What inspires you?

Nature, trees and wildlife, especially when I lived in the city. One summer, I went with friends to Hunter, NY and the picks from that still inspire me. I also have friends in Woodstock, NY and I always get ideas when I visit there. I'm mad about bright colors, especially greens and yellows. I love going to close-out fabric stores to find kooky fabrics and to run my hands through the big bins of buttons and zippers. I love Christmas and old Christmas decorations from the 50's and 60's. Actually, I love all sorts of things about the mid-century aestetic and collect vintage fabric, magazines, clothes, home decor items, and books from the period.

Who is your favorite musical artist? (click on the artist name to see a video)Only one!?!? Okay. . . easy. . .Elvis Costello! I'll link to "Alison" since my only tattoo says "my aim is true."


What are two of your favorite things from your shop?
Robot Christmas Ornament: pictured above
The Happy Day Tote:pictured above
If this doesn't sell this year, I'm sooooo taking it for myself!

I am a fan of:
Tell us 5 of your most visited websites, on-line stores or Etsy stores (include links):
www.televisionwithoutpity.com - For my TV based snarking needs.
www.jezebel.com - For all sorts of lady related awesomeness.
www.dinosaursandrobots.com - So many wonderful things live on this blog!
www.craftzine.com - The folks who currate this site find the most wonderful craft projects from all over the web.
www.ebay.com - For all sorts of collecting finds, especially when I don't have the time to poke around in the thrift stores around town.

Find me:
Website and clearing house for all things MIBF related: www.myimaginaryboyfriend.com
My blog: myimaginaryboyfriedlovesme.blogspot.com
My shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=14938
I also blog about crafting and post projects on over at www.craftstylish.com

4 comments:

Trin said...

Man, your blog is such an awesome resource; those logs are cuuuute.

Stereoette said...

My Imaginary Boyfriend is AWESOME (and not just b/c Erika is my good friend). If you think her robot ornaments are cute, you should see the stuffed ones she makes - people are always trying to steal mine when they come over to my house!

Zamzam Design said...

The logs are so funny! I saw them before they are very original.

The Pear Project said...

Loving the logs! If I had kids I would buy those right now.

 

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