This week I've asked several of my sponsors to answer a few interview questions. First up is Designed by Gina Louise. She makes one of a kind dresses and accesories with upcycled materials. Find her on etsy here and her website here.
1. Tell us about yourself & your shop.
My name is Gina Louise, obviously, hehe. I live in NY with my 2 beautiful children.
I was named after my wonderful Grandmother. She was the one who taught me to sew, to love old things, and recycle. She would take me to yard sales, estate sales and junk stores. I would see vintage clothing in fabrics and colors I loved but I didn’t like the style or old ornate items that were broken. I would buy them and redesign them into something I loved. Sometimes they would end up being pillows, chair covers, curtains, doll bedding, headbands, scarves, lap quilts, tote bags, etc. Sometimes I would keep them for years before I knew what I wanted to make out of them.
I am a self-taught artist and I know how to work with many mediums. I can machine sew, serge, hand sew, paint, make jewelry, decoupage, scrapbook, embroider, soap making, and more. I like to combine a few or all of these things in my designs. I think that’s what makes them so unique. Most artists like to work in one medium. I like to cross over & dabble in it all.
Although I had a passion for design I worked in TV & Film my entire life. As a young girl I modeled & acted and it wasn’t until college when I decided I wanted to work behind the camera in production. I have worked on many commercials, documentaries, Music Videos & films. I’ve been involved in several films that have won awards from NY to California. That's why my clothing labels have a comedy & tragedy image on it. I like to remember where I came from.
I had sold my designs for over a decade on small website called The Posh Cottage and on eBay. It was always my side job to make extra money for my children. When the fees got too high I stopped. So about 4 years ago a friend of mine kept bugging me to open a shop on etsy. She pushed me for 2 years until I finally gave in and I thought… Why not? What do I have to lose?
So I opened up and within a month my shop took off like crazy! I never expected that to happen. I was getting emails from boutiques all over the world asking me if I would wholesale my designs to them, and before I knew it I was shipping all over the world.
It’s the greatest feeling to wake up in the morning to find emails from people I have never met telling me how beautiful they think my designs are. That makes my heart dance.
I am now going on my second year as an Etsian and it has been a blessing in disguise. It is now my only job and I am stepping into fashion manufacturing and will have my own label soon. I have made many wonderful friends thru Etsy. I am a proud member of Designing Artist Women, Etsy Everything Wonderful In Life Group (EEWIL), It's Better Handmade, Upcyclers, Boutique Challenge Group, and Trade-A-Holics.
3. What is your favorite item in your shop and why?
Although my Princess sweater coats are my big sellers I would say my headbands are my favorite. I get bored easily and making the same thing over & over again bores me to tears. My headbands are all One of a kind and for that reason I love to make them. They are time consuming because I hand sew all the embellishments and I make all my own flowers from those vintage pieces of clothing I was talking about. I find it very therapeutic, and I when I am finished I just love how they pop out at you with all the bright colors and shiny doodads I add.