Saturday, March 28, 2009

INCrowdteam Interview - Lauren Murray aka totertot

Totertot? Yes, I asked. Read on and you'll see why. Lauren's work is really fun and vibrant, with simple lines, practical designs, and enough oomph to get many moms & dads out of the parenting doldrums. I know you'll love what she has to say AND her work.

Where were you born & raised?

Lafayette, Indiana. I've lived here my whole life.

What's the origin of your shop's name?
I was trying to come up with something that was cute but not too obtuse. When I began sewing, I made mostly tote bags, so I was thinking of a way to use the word "tote" as part of a phrase. It wasn't too long before I hit on the Tater Tot/totertot wordplay. Also, who doesn't like Tater Tots?

Where are you now & what led you there?
I'm still in Lafayette. I went to Purdue instead of moving away to go to college, and met my husband while I was in school, so we settled here.

What types of creations do you sell in for your Etsy shop(s)?
My Etsy shop features tote bags, clutches, handbags, and messenger bags.

What's your educational background, as it relates to your work?
I have my BA in English literature. I don't know that it really relates to my crafts so much, other than an eye for references to handbags or traveling cases in old literature. I'd love to start making Victorian-style valises.

Does creating stuff run in the family? Were you taught things on purpose or by osmosis from prior generations?
My mom says she's glad I got the "sewing gene" because she never had it. She loaned me her sewing machine when I started getting interested in sewing, and I used that until it finally broke down. It was a Singer from 1977. She always kept a bunch of things in case we needed costumes or Girl Scout patches sewn on. My dad is a graphic designer so I learned a lot about art and design, what's pleasing to the eye, from him.

How'd you get started creating?
I read an online article about making bags from tea towels, and then found a bunch of Christmas-themed towels at Target. I began making bags as gifts for the holidays, and that has turned into making a lot of different kinds of bags, which has turned into my Etsy store.

What's your muse, or what turns that little creative light inside you on?
Fabric! Any time I see a fabric that has an appealing color or pattern, I immediately start thinking of what to pair it with, what sort of shape it could take, and what I could do with it creatively.

Do you belong to any Street Teams (other than the INCrowdteam)? If so, which ones and why?
I belong to The DIYscene Team. They're an extremely talented group with a lot of diversity, which inspires me to keep experimenting.

What's your favorite thing about selling on Etsy?
It's great dealing with other people who craft. It seems like Etsy shoppers appreciate the time and care that goes into handmade items because they have a background or experience with creating items themselves.

Recommend your five favorite shops on Etsy.
1) manGoavocaDo
2) LoudMouse
3) SWStitchery
4) FabulouslyFierce
5) CardsandNotes

Show us three of your own favorite pieces, from your shop and work.

Apple Trees mini messenger bag: This is made of an awesome Asian apple tree print that's matched with a burgundy/cherry colored solid cotton. The colors just pop and the bag is super functional.

Sweet pleat nighttime sheep purse: This design was somewhat of an experiment, and it turned out to be almost sling-shaped. I like to use pleats, and the sheep are just the right combination of cute and creepy. The fleece is super soft; I'm really happy with how it turned out!

Bananas for monkeys tote: Your basic rectangular tote, but with a stripes of contrast fabric. I have a lot of trouble passing up monkey fleece. [Ed. note: who doesn't?]

Do you sell on consignment? If so, where?
I don't yet have any consignments.

Anything else to brag on?
Not much else, I haven't been featured on any blogs except this one. I do have a MySpace page that I update pretty frequently with product information.

OK, here's the deal, Totertot: SELL ON CONSIGNMENT NOW! Your designs are deceptively simple but really functional and lovely, and your taste in fabrics rocks. I am sure that lots of our readers have ideas about where you can place your work...anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Carolynn aka nilochlainn aka wolfgangzehen

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