Here in Indie Fixx Land it’s what is commonly referred to as “ass cold” outside…that’s the kind of cold that makes your ass literally numb. I’m doing everything I can to keep myself warm while trying not to look like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”.
If you are trying to keep warm and remain stylish too, check out Lulette for cute & stylish knitted scarves available in a variety of fun motifs and messages including hearts, acorns, pirates, skulls and more. You can even create your own fun message scarf. Lulette was created in 2003 by designer Diane Naegel, you can read more about Lulutte and Diane below in this week’s Indie Artist Fixx interview.
1. What’s the name of your business and what do create and sell?
My business is called Lulette (after my favorite silent star, Louise Brooks), and we sell customized scarves with your own messages and our cute motifs!
2. How did you get you start!?
I studied fashion design in college, so that’s where I learned to knit…when I was finishing school, I carried around this fun thought of being able to knit scarves with words in them…it never really went away, so when I graduated and had time to work that out, I went for it! Lulette started with me knitting all of the scarves in my apartment in Cincinnati and making lots of mad dashes to the post office during the holiday season…my family was also very encouraging of me starting my own business since I didn’t want to jump right into corporate design.
3. What pearls of wisdom can you share with newbie indie artists who are just taking the plunge?
Just do it! The toughest part is just committing yourself in the beginning and really believing that you can make it all happen…I would also say ‘think like a business person’! If you want your craft to take care of you, you have to value what you do and not sell yourself short…and take advantage of networking online…I’ve met so many amazing artists here, and everyone is so willing to swap links and support one another- its necessary and great! Oh! And bartering is really helpful…at the beginning, I didn’t have money to pay a professional photographer for my photos, but I did have web design skills…everyone has great skills you can barter with others to help you get your business going!
4. What’s your design process like?
In the beginning, it was a lot of figuring out knitting tensions, correct yarns, pattern sizing, and all of that good technical stuff…when I finally had the formula worked out, it became more about coming up with fun phrases and lettering to use for the messages…now, a lot of the business is custom, and I’m constantly inspired by the color combinations my clients choose! So I’m mostly whirring away making the patterns and keeping the website looking fresh!
5. Tell us one funny/goofy/silly thing about yourself.
Oh, man! There’s a lot to choose from there…hmmmm…well, I’m a big holiday junkie…a few Halloweens ago, I spent about 3 hours carving this ridiculously intricate pumpkin…it was a witch with a cauldron, moon–the whole deal…I didn’t want the pumpkin to rot inside the house in the heat, so I put it on the balcony of the apartment I was in at the time…the next morning, I woke up and went outside, and the entire thing had been eaten by squirrels!! There was just a giant hole with gnaw marks around it on the front of my pumpkin. (Meanwhile, of course, my friend’s pumpkin with the simple triangle eyes sat next it it, unscathed!) Maybe this is more of a funny occurrence, but this stuff always seems to happen to me!
6. What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?
Well, the best thing is meeting new people! I’ve met so many great designers and artists through having a sort of crafty business online…and a lot of people in Cincinnati know me because of what I do…that and hearing that people smile when they see the scarves…that makes me really really happy! In the beginning, I did this solely (I have a design day job now as well)…the hard part was realizing that you have to work crazy hours and 10 times as hard as most people, and the money is still tight! You have to be willing to deal with this for at least awhile if you do a crafty business full time!
7. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at? List as many as you want.
Magazines : Craft, Martha Stewart Living, Milk (childrens fashion), Amelia’s, BUST, Venus, WAD.
8. Were you an artsy craftsy kid? If so, what kinds of things did you do?
Definitely…the thing that pops out the most was making lots of earrings for craft bazaars at my parents’ church…I stamped my own little cards for the earrings to hang on, and would go to craft stores to get hooks and affix them to just about anything…my Mom was a fashion jewelry buyer, so she always had weird trinkets hanging around the house that could be made into jewelry…the things I remember the most were these giant rubber goldfish I affixed to earrings, and little plastic Coke bottles dangling with beads.
9. If you could have one wish from a genie, what would it be?
More wishes! Of course! But if the genie told me no ‘more wishes’, then I would have to wish for a stop to global warming.
10. What does indie mean to you? You can give a literal definition, choose to be a little esoteric or a combination of both. 😉
To me, its something that springs out from an individual- from someones own hands, without the molding of a corporation or someone in it just for the money. Something ‘indie’ can grow into something else, but the heart of it is with the person who started it all. Hopefully, this means making things in a socially/environmentally sound manner with an emphasis on the beauty of handcraft!
11. What are you reading, watching and listening to?
Reading : not enough! it’s been mostly magazines and DIY books lately…
Watching : lots of DVDs! lately its been Gilmore Girls episodes, Reality Bites, Beetlejuice, Before Sunset, and lots of strange documentaries…
Listening : Yo La Tengo, The Stone Roses, Mirah, The Sonics, Fairmount Girls, Versus, Madder Rose, Sleater-Kinney, Rosemary Clooney
12. What are your inspirations?
Tchotchkas, pumpkins, children, Japanese toys, glitter, rainy days spent indoors, illustration art, handmade plush, Sonia Rykiel, cupcakes, twinkle lights, houses with too many lawn ornaments and especially holiday decorations/lights, gnomes, large bows on anything, pugs, candy/confections, the East Village, other DIY businesses/crafters/artists, my own childhood, beautiful yarns, Dries Van Noten, flickr, Tarina Tarantino, vintage clothing/jewelry, Louise Brooks, Charley Harper, owls, my mom!
13. What future plans are you cooking up?
Well, I’m hoping that next year, I’ll be adding custom hats and maybe some more fun knit home items to the shop…! Keep your eyes peeled! 🙂