I'm asking the questions you didn't even know you wanted the answers to! Running a successful shop doesn't just depend on having good business sense. You have to have the personality and the perseverance to pull it off. Let's get inside the hearts and minds of up-and-coming artists, as well as those who are long in the tooth. Between all of us, maybe we can figure this thing out!
Miss Marelle is the inspiration behind my wanting to showcase Etsy stores that benefit charities. She is the classic example of Carpe Diem! That's "Seize the Day!" in case you were wondering. What wonderful words! (Seize: to take hold of suddenly or forcibly) Although I'm perfectly healthy, as a dear friend once pointed out, some of us die healthy. You never know what the day will have in store for you.
Pictured here is a beautiful purse, Miss Envy. I adore the compact mirror on the front! Read on to find out why I adore Miss Marelle even more!
I read on your profile that you have a disability. Based on your work, you look pretty able to me! Would you mind sharing with us what that disability is?
For most of my life, I had very high blood pressure, 225/115 was normal for me. Finally at the age of 34 it was found that my aorta was completely shut, co-arctation of the aorta. Usually it is found at birth and is a narrowing of the aorta, mine was completely shut. I had massive open heart surgery and my surgeon told me I should have died on the 7th day of my life. I was adopted and the only record I have about this is, I was a blue baby. I am a miracle. I still have a bi-cuspid aortic valve that is not yet fixed, and a non related birth defect, chiari malformation. The combination of these health issue make it impossible to have any other career besides art. I was born to create and I cherish and value each and every day. I look at it this way, if I wasn't so ill, I wouldn't have time to make all these beautiful pieces. I do work as fast as I can, because, that 7 day lifespan has changed to 46 years, I don't want to waste one minute.
Share with us about the Hopscotch Hands on Exhibit for the Blind and what was your motivation for founding this charity?
I spent 3 years after my surgery just painting. I wanted to exhibit my art and got a collection together. Finding it very hard to get my art shown, I got very down about it. As I was running my hand over one of my 3d pieces, With Child, it just came to me, I bet the blind would like to touch this. I sent e-mails to every blind council I could find to see if it was something they would like. I was invited to their yearly convention in Harrisburg PA. The president touched a 3d portrait of a little boy and said, he had not had sight since he was 5, but, he got an image when he touched that painting. I was over joyed. I have shown this exhibit several times. Once with the Trans Siberian Orchestra and another with the Blind Boys of Alabama. Not too bad for a gal that just wanted her work to be viewed. Blind and sighted people absolutely love my work, I couldn't be happier about that. I would love to include other artist work. The only stipulation is, it must be 3d portraits, preferably celebrities. The blind understand faces. They don't get sunsets, landscapes or colors.
Where do you find your purses that you breathe new life into?
The purses I use come from estate sales, auctions and online sites. I am currently trying to put a purse drive together so others can contribute to this charity as well. The just have to be perfect on the inside, I can turn any flaws outside the purse into a work of art.
I love the idea of naming each purse after a lady. Do you ever run short of names?
I have been naming these purses for 6 years now and I have yet to run out. I don't ever plan to use the same name twice. There are variations used, Kate, Kaitlyn, Kattie, but, never the same. Each purse comes with a certificate with the name and number of the purse on it. I keep a running list of those names and numbers to make certain a duplicate doesn't occur.
Do you have someone that helps you in your shop or are you the only bag lady?
I make all the purses, accessories, and paintings. Also, I do the photography and the website. My daughter and her teenage friends help out with naming purses, shipping and tagging. Every box we ship out is recycled from a local art supply store. They cover any logos or text on the boxes with pretty pieces of paper. Their boxes are really quite beautiful. We all really like the fact that a good 95% off all materials used at Hopscotch Couture are previously loved vintage items. Going green was and always will be our goal.
When I say Couture, I really mean that. There isn't one item I have made that even I can recreate. All the jewelry, fabrics, trims, and accessories are true vintage items of the highest quality. Only One for the One and Only You. That is my slogan and my promise.
Hopscotch Couture offers more than purses! She has headbands, jewelry, and vintage items, too!