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Shops that Shine- Smidgebox

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So thrilled to welcome Lesley from Smidgebox here today! Her shop caught my attention right away when I first came across it a couple years ago. It's a bit of modern and classic charm all in one. I've enjoyed getting to know her t& am happy to share a little peek into her world. 
Welcome to my Shops That Shine Series! I love hearing where makers draw their inspiration from, can you share with us where you find yours?
Thanks for having me here Allisa! I must say that my inspiration comes from all over, and evolves depending on where I'm spending most of my time. 
Like many others, I find loads of inspiration online. When I've got the time to read the blogs that I love and chat {on twitter} with other creative minds, I find myself brimming with thoughts and ideas.
Architecture is an obsession of mine, as well as clean, modern, and mid-century interiors. I tend towards very clean lines + simple shapes in my work, and that is definitely an extension of my love of mid-century design.
Of course, my surroundings are hugely inspiring to me. Living in what I consider to be one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world, Vancouver gives me a ton of inspiration. Even on rainy days, I can pick out an amazing shade of grey! You may notice that I favour moody greys + blues in my designs, punctuated by a healthy dose of bright colour. There's a reason for that, as I'm often surrounded by cloudy skies + ocean blues, and I crave a pop of colour to round it out!

I’ve loved Smidgebox the moment I laid eyes upon it! Your brand really stands out to me in terms of your modern appeal and eye for prints. What do you feel differentiates your shop?
Thanks so much! The smidgebox aesthetic evolved quite naturally for me, simply based on the colours I love and the prints that catch my eye. I usually favour really graphic prints, with a tendency towards art-deco or mid-century influence. The colours and shapes started to repeat themselves in my work, and from there my "style" was born, so to speak!
For kids, I love to add a bit of whimsy with the fabrics that I choose to pair with my basics. I can't remember a time when I wasn't obsessed with fabrics, and finding just the right prints to add to my always-growing collection. I'm sure you can relate to that! 
I think one thing that differentiates my shop is the way I pair my fabrics. I shy away from pairing fabrics from the same collection, and prefer to mix and match from many different designers. I often create a colour combination that creates a little bit of tension, because I feel like it draws your eye, makes you want to look at it a little more closely.

Which aspect of running a creative business is the most enjoyable to you? And which has challenged you the most?
My favourite part of running this business is the interaction I have with my customers. I do a lot of custom and personalized work, and working together with a customer to create a one-of-a-kind gift {usually for babies!} is so rewarding. My customers come away with a real sense of connection to the gift they are giving, and I get to create something completely unique for every custom order! It is always  different, and always a lot of fun. The feedback I have received from custom orders is absolutely the best part of my job. Hearing from happy customers is like nothing else!
The most challenging parts for me are finding the time to work, while balancing running my household and looking after my two kids. I chose this avenue for my business so that I was able to stay home with my children, and while I feel lucky to be able to do that, it is often difficult to find the time to fit in as much work as I'd like. The kids come first, and I love the fact that my days consist of trips to the park and playing lego + dollhouse! As many creatives will attest, I have too many ideas, and not enough time to execute them. I suppose there could be worse problems, but this is my biggest challenge at the moment!

You have a new organics baby line launching soon (yay!) can you tell us a bit more about this collection and how you developed it? (sneak peeks of some items above)
My baby organics line will be launching at the One of a Kind Show in Vancouver this December. I am so excited to introduce this new facet to the smidgebox brand! 
At launch time, there will be three products in the line, which are a direct extension to my regular smidgebox products. I plan to add to the collection in the spring, with a few fresh new items, including some pieces for older children.
I developed this new collection for a few reasons. I am always on the lookout to use more earth friendly products for my family, whether it's in the clothes we wear, the food we eat, or the toys I choose for the kids. I know that conventional cottons account for a huge percentage of the world's pesticides. I decided that I'd like to introduce an organic baby collection to offer an alternative to parents looking to choose organic for their kids. Over the past year especially, the availability of organic cotton prints has exploded. Finally, there is an abundance of choice with many different manufacturers, both small and large, choosing to print on organic cotton.This is so exciting, as now there is more choice than ever for unique organic cotton prints! I have been collecting my fabrics, waiting for the right time, and I am so excited to share this collection so soon!

What is your biggest dream for smidgebox?
My dream for smidgebox is quite simple. I am striving to create a foundation for a company that can be sustainable, growing slowly over the years to come, to fulfill my need for creativity and contribute some income to my family. I aim to launch a wholesale line in the next year or so, starting slowly, and building once my children are both at school full-time. I am not about to rush this, they grow so fast, so I will continue to enjoy my children, and urge my little company along as we go!

Thank you Lesley for sharing a bit behind your inspiration & story! Looking forward to all that lays ahead for you! 

You can find more of Lesley and Smidgebox here: 
shop, Twitter, blog

{{do you know a shop that shines? would you like to be considered for a feature? Please send submissions to  allisa.jacobs [at]gmail [dot] com }}


Heather said...

beautiful! I love the storage cubes...these are much cuter than the ones I bought at a bigbox. Wish I'd known of them six months ago!

Live a Colorful Life said...

I love reading interviews. What a fun shop. And wow! Do her points ever come together perfectly in the center!!

Rosa @ Flutter Flutter said...

I can't wait to check out the One of Kind Show now!! And I totally relate to the balance of family and work, and wanting to maintain a creative outlet. Oh, do I relate!!

Tracey Ayton Photography said...

Great interview! I just love the fun patterns. I think it's wonderful to have a creative outlet and be successful at it. It's one of the best things that can happen to us creative peeps.