Monday, October 27, 2014

The Heart of Handmade // Katherine from Out of My Head Designs

Happy Monday, friends!


31 Days. Yeah, I know, I'm very behind. But I did not give up! Something much worse happened - I caught strep! Most likely from volunteering at Luke's school. I was flat on my back for two and a half days, and then I had to scramble to catch up on preparing for Jake's party this past Saturday. It's been a whirlwind of a week, and this one promises to be similarly busy. So, I will catch up. I just may not.....achieve all of the posts happening in October. And I'm sorry! I say it all the time - real life just happens!

Speaking of Jake's party - - I tried to keep the theme a bit of a secret as I posted about the plans here and there, though anyone with the slightest knowledge of Hogwarts and the world surrounding it probably could have guessed from my very first hint. So yes, Jake's first birthday party was a Harry Potter party! And putting it together was tiring, but SO fun! I even made friends in the process, which is kind of the coolest part for me. I'd love to introduce you to another one of them today!

Her name is Katherine, and she's the owner and artist of Out of My Head Designs. I was pulled into her shop by the adorable Hogwarts Crest Bib she had - knowing it would be adorable on Jake as he smashed his cake! I love it so much, and I can't wait to show you the pictures from the party when Jake was wearing it (which I will do later this week!)

Here's Katherine's story (don't you just love tales from a fellow Potterhead?):

Harry Potter is near and dear to my heart. My sweet husband read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone out loud to me and our first child while she was still in utero. Since we were away from each other all day at work during my first pregnancy, we thought it would be a good way for our baby to learn his voice. My husband and I both fell instantly in love with the world of little Harry. Now with our family of two girls (age 14 and 11) we are ALL Potter fans. We even made sure our youngest received her Hogwart’s letter this past summer on her eleventh birthday! (Thanks, Etsy!) 

I have always been creative and drawn to sewing and fiber arts. From making new capes for my Star Wars people as a child (don’t judge) to crocheting miles-long scarves for my Dad for Christmas, I have always enjoyed keeping my hands busy. As I grew older, my creative pursuits turned to dance and acting; I am the proud holder of a B.A. in Theatre/Dance. After college and getting married, my creative pursuits turned to jewelry making. During some time spent living in the south, I was proud to be juried into the famous artisan section of the Charleston, SC Farmer’s Market. I was thrilled to sell out of my unique bead and button jewelry each weekend. After moving back home to Maine in 1999 to start our family, I once again turned to sewing. As the new mother of two little girls, and on the tight budget of the stay-at-home-mom, I started sewing things for my girls so they could match. I am a huge fan of baby wearing and natural parenting; Doll Carrying Ring Slings were the first items I offered for sale online in 2005. They continue to be one of my most popular items and something that still gives me true pleasure to make. 
My Etsy shop features many different kinds of Doll Carrying Ring Slings (for Boys and Girls), Matching Doll Cloth Diaper, Wipes, Blanket and Diaper Bag Sets, reusable fabric Pirate Maps, Lunch Box Cloth Napkins in fun patterns, Warmies, American Sign Language “I Love You” symbol-wear and baby accessories, nerd and literature-inspired baby accessories, and an ever-expanding line of Harry Potter themed baby bibs, burp cloth sets and hand towels…pretty much whatever pops “Out of My Head!” 

Looking out for the children of the world is very important to me so, to that end, I donate at least 10% of my profits to charities supporting children. Some of my recent donations have been to our local food cupboard, La Leche League International, The Smile Train, our local library’s children’s section, the Food For Thought Backpack program, the St. Jude Children's Hospital and the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers. 
I truly love my job. I get to create handmade things with care and love and share them with thoughtful people gifting them to those they love…every holiday time I am TRULY humbled thinking of all the sweet littles out there who will be opening things made by me (!) on their special holiday mornings! I am so thankful that my little business allows me the flexibility I need to raise my two girls and helps contribute a little to our family income. With my husband working full time and pursuing his Master’s degree in Social Work, my flexibility and income are more important than ever! 
My work has been featured in several natural parenting blogs, and recently made a Buzzfeed list for Top Literary Baby gifts! That was so exciting! 

My ultimate goal is to have a little boutique in my home city to share my handwork and that of other mom-owned businesses. Two years ago, I was proud to have been awarded a temporary Holiday “Pop-Up” storefront in my hometown. Alas, the emergency appendectomy of my youngest forced me to miss a few deadlines and I chose to postpone my retail dreams until my girls are older.

Success to me means balancing the needs of my family with my desire to create and grow my business. Sometimes I might not have the tidiest house, but I am trying hard to prioritize my children, husband, and business…and those dirty dishes just might have to wait! I will have my little shop someday…I am a firm believer in women having it all, just not maybe all at once! 
Building a brand takes time, patience, and a lot of trial and error. Our society doesn't always value failure, but I’m a huge believer in happy accidents and mistakes. Online craft sales can be really competitive. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I encourage new businesses owners and makers to really learn your market, to think like a buyer, and be passionate about your craft.

Thank you so much for letting me share a little bit about myself and my process...Namaste!

Where you can find Katherine and her adorable goodies for little ones:

It's probably no secret that all of her Harry Potter items are my favorite, but if you ever need somewhere to shop for a baby shower with unique, well-made items? This is your shop, friends. This is also a great one to bookmark for Christmas this year! Lots of goodies for the littles on your list!! Such a bonus that she donates to children at the same time - love that!

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Katherine! :)

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