1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Rebecca, I’m the designer, seamstress, photographer, artist, model, admin, etc. behind retrofied. Currently I live and work on Saint Simons Island off the coast of Georgia. I graduated with a BA in Art and a BA in Psychology from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA. Starting retrofied was definitely bag therapy! Fall is my favorite time of year in Georgia and this is my first one after 5 years spent in the Midwest.
2. What made you open your shop and why Etsy?
In 2007, while visiting my Mother, I asked if she would teach me how to read a real live sewing pattern. She used to sew the most beautiful dresses for my sister and I to wear to Church when we were children.
Hooked on patterns I started buying vintage fabrics. On free weekends I would make a variety of bags using a couple different pre made bag patterns. After a bag or two I started changing the patterns up a bit.
My sister Anna found Etsy and told me the bags would be perfect for it. She took my original photos and even made my shop banner. I listed only a few bags the first 6 or 7 months and never even logged in to look at the shop. Had my first sale some time a few months later and have no idea how the customer even found the shop. Mostly I was making the bags because I was obsessed with the fabrics and almost did not want them to sell so I could keep them all.
The bag that made it all happen is the Large Reversible Hobo in Optic Linen/ Mustard Martini. I bought a half yard of the two fabrics and knew only two things - I wanted a large bag and I was stuck because I could not decide on which fabric should be the outside. So, a large reversible hobo was born and my first original bag pattern.
Every time I wore the bag people stopped me and asked where I got it from. Then a friend asked if I could make it with pockets to use as a diaper bag. The diaper bag pattern came about and the shop pretty much took off from there.
I think the first hobo was listed sometime in March or April 2008. My sales were doubling every month and I was in shock. By June 2008 I went full time with retrofied. Every day I wake up I can not believe how lucky I am.
3. Where else do you sell your bags?
Retrofied bags have been in about 10 different shops throughout the US and a couple in Canada, but the majority of my sales come directly from Etsy. Some of the retail shops are listed in the profile section at retrofied on Etsy. I am most proud of the bags at Light Years in North Carolina. They are a small chain of 3 stores and each store carries the bags. There is something fun about knowing you have bags in a chain of stores.
4. How did you choose your shop name?
Originally the shop was going to be called RetroGirl, but fortunately that was taken. My sister came up with retrofied after we tried to brain storm ideas with the word retro in them. It started with wanting the word retro because the shop with vinatge fabrics from the 1930's, 40's, and 50's.
5. What are you favourite things to do?
I like to ride my bike around on foggy days and wait to hear the Great Horned Owls hooting. It is a beautifully spooky noise that stops everyone in their tracks. Running, hitting flea markets with tons of good, cooking (and eating) and throwing pottery are a few more. Other than that I am a big nerd who loves to sit on the beach on a breezy day, drink coffee and read stacks of good books - usually biographies because people are fascinating.
6. What inspires you?
Just about everything inspires me, but most of all fabric themselves are inspirational. Some fabrics just know which bag they should be created into. I usually see a fabric and have a melting feeling - like ooh, that fabric must be this bag or else! Or else what I have no idea.
Every single piece of fabric looks like a bag to me. Even vintage clothes look ready to be deconstructed into a new bag. No fabric is safe.
7. Of all the different types of bags you make, which is your favourite one?
Currently that is the new reversible knitting bag. I just added this bag design. It is an alteration of the reversible diaper bag with slimmer pockets perfect for knitting needles, scissors, and notepads. It is perfect to carry art supplies like linoleum cutting tools and pads of paper to the beach so I can work outside.
8. Which is the most popular bag you sell?
The most popular bags are the Large reversible hobos and the Large reversible diaper bags. It is a tie between the two. In both bag styles the fabric combinations of Optic Linen and Mustard martini is the most popular hands down. People love that fabric combo. It is very vintage yet modern all at once.
9. What handmade possession do you cherish?
It is a large stoneware bowl my class made as a group at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago. Everyone contributed to it. Someone threw it, another trimmed it and so forth until completed. We were supposed to draw for it, but they all decided to give it to me while I was gone. It means a lot to me.
10. Name 3 other Etsy shops you love to visit.
Ok, this one is tough. I will admit to being an Etsy shop stalker! Hearting shops and items relentlessly is a passion. These are my favourite fabric shops:
For Japanese fabrics I love digging through ThisandThatFromJapan. The Japanese fabrics are so fun and happy and of course well made.
Scarlet Fig is one of my favourite hand made fabric shops. Just bought a piece of yellow fabric with amazing blue couches on it and it was worth every penny. I want to make about a million things with it.
Finally, for screen printed fabrics getting inspiration from FreshFabricAustralia is the best. I just finished the art work for retrofieds first fabric. I love love love the look of screened fabrics, so seeing work from others who love it as much and are so talented is very inspirational.
Thank you so much to retrofied for being my featured Etsy shop this week. This is a shop that I just discovered this week. I saw one of her bags on the front page of Etsy and had to investigate. I found myself drooling over every bag and knew that this had to be my favourite shop for this weeks interview. Every fabric, every design is just eye popping and drool worthy. I wouldnt know which to pick for my favourite one. I can imagine if you own one of these bags you would get stopped all the time and asked where it came from. I challenge you to take a look in this Etsy shop and pick just one favourite. I bet you can't do it.