Hi Erika! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live, and what you do for a living besides blogging and making your totes?
I'm Erika and I'm a self-professed creative. I live in a 1940s bungalow with my husband and my crazy little Corgi dog that we nicknamed Monster. (His real name is Nesby.) I do have a day job at a big ol' company in downtown Seattle in marketing but my blog and shop are my true passions and satisfy my creative needs.
How did you become interested in making tote bags?
I've always been a little purse obsessed and my mom is actually a very talented seamstress who has made me gorgeous bags in the past. She no longer has time to do that for me, so she encouraged me to start making them. I wanted to create something that was handmade but that didn't necessarily look handmade - so I chose to do leather handles, rather than fabric handles, and choose solid colors or minimal prints for my bags.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
I love working with leather and I really hope to do more so with it. I'm just dabbling right now with leather handles, but wish to expand. I also have a big fabric obsession and can spend hours browsing designer fabric online.
What types of things inspire you in your work? Are there any other artists or businesses who have influenced you?
My mother is a huge inspiration. At age 50 she began her dream job of rehabbing foreclosed homes and has been very successful. Her drive and creativity inspires me. Other business-savvy ladies - Leonora of Yellow Heart Art and Julie of Julie Ann Art, have been huge cheerleaders for me. Inspiration-wise, I love prints. I am in no way a graphic designer and seeing the color pairings in shops like Mary Kate McDevitt and Laura Amiss are huge creative boosts.
The Bubby and Bean blog focuses on living a creative lifestyle. Aside from making your bags, are there other things you particularly enjoy creating?
My husband and I own our house and it's a bit of a fixer. Creating a home (on a strict budget) has been a beautiful yet challenging process. I also really love to cook and am attempting to garden. (So far I can only grow lettuce.)
If you had to pick one of your designs that was your favorite, what would it be?
My coral and gray bag is actually my all-time favorite. I love the coral color and the ditsy yellow print inside makes me smile.
Where do you see yourself and/or your business in 5 years?
In five years I would love to be self-employed with my bags being carried nationally somewhere other than my own shop. I would love to be blogging and writing, maybe considering print publication? And maybe, just maybe, there could be a baby somewhere in the picture or near future..
One of our most popular series on Bubby and Bean is 'Friday is For Favorites.' Tell us your favorite of each of the following: color, movie, food, band
Color: coral // Movie: When Harry Met Sally // Food: Pie // Band: Florence + the Machine
Thank you Erika for sharing a little about yourself and your work with us! Make sure you guys pay Erika's shop a visit so you see all of the pretty handmade bags in her collection. Erika has also generously created a special coupon just for Bubby and Bean Readers >> Take 15% off your entire order in the Rouge + Whimsy Shop through June 30th with code BUBBYANDBEAN
You can also find Erika on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter. And be sure to check back later this month for a pretty awesome giveaway featuring Rouge + Whimsy!
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