Friday, May 13, 2011

Spotlight On: Kelly LaRoche of SpecificallyRandom

Thank goodness Blogspot is finally back up after being down since last night.  I thought I would go insane if I couldn't blog again soon (I've really taken to blogging like an illustrator to ink, much to your misfortune).

Anyhoo, today's blog is about another lovely April's Army member, Kelly of SpecificallyRandom, a shop specializing in headbands that pretty much cover every range of tastes, in terms of color and pattern.  I also love the name of her shop, because it reminds me of my favorite word, serendipity, which means finding fortune by accident.

Tell us three things about yourself.I love vintage retro goodies and architectural salvage.  My husband and I have rehabbed our home, built in 1894, and I love finding new ways of adding vintage character to the decor.

Mustard Yellow Hairband

I have two children, and my youngest will be starting kindergarten next year.  I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with myself once he starts school since I haven't been alone in the house since 2003.  I imagine it won't take me long to figure it out though!

I sew all of my headbands on a vintage 1950's sewing machine that I absolutely love.  The machine was destined for the trash when my husband salvaged it and it has become one of my favorite possessions.

What's your medium and how did you get into it?My first craft was sewing.  When I was a little girl, my grandmother made almost all of my clothes and continues to create incredible quilts to this day.  She taught me the fundamentals and I dabbled a bit before moving on to drawing, then jewelry.  Recently however, I've come full circle and find myself back behind the sewing machine.

What's your favorite thing you've made?I'm not sure if this counts since it's not something I could sell, but my favorite creation is my bathroom.  I had everyone pretty worried when I announced I was going to use wood stain to create a navy blue and brown diagonal checkerboard pattern on the newly laid wood floor.  But it turned out beautifully and I'm so glad I took the risk.

From where do you take inspiration?Getting inspiration for my headbands is a bit different than it is for many crafts because my product appeals to such a diverse clientele.  I try and think beyond what I like personally and feed from my customers and what they request and purchase most.  Fabric headbands can have such different looks, from preppy to bohemian to hippie, based on the fabric chosen and how they are worn.

Knit Raspberry Headband

What are you doing when you're not crafting?When I'm not sewing I'm trying to keep some sense of order in our household. Keeping the house clean, caring for our two children and trying to cook as many homemade meals as possible keeps me pretty busy.

If you had to give up your medium and pursue another, what would it be and why?While I love what I do, if I had the opportunity to rehab older homes I would definitely do that.  I love old homes, their inherent character and the stories they could tell "if walls could talk".

Tell us about a time you were making something that came out better than expected and how it happened.Actually, Specifically Random headbands were made quite by accident.  My daughter had a headband that she had worn out and I couldn't seem to find a comparable one anywhere.  So, I came up with a design I liked and made a couple of headbands for her.  She immediately began receiving lots of compliments and she was so happy with how comfortable they are that I got the idea to try and sell them on Etsy.  I immediately received a positive response and my business has continued to grow ever since.

Who is one person living or dead, famous or not, who you wish owned one of your creations and why?I guess I'd have to say Oprah because, honestly, who has more power to propel a product towards success than Oprah?

How would you explain how to do what you do to an eight year old?Actually, my seven year old daughter is pretty familiar with the process behind my headbands.  In fact, she loves helping me pick out fabric and assembling the headbands.  She'll be thrilled when I let her graduate to using the sewing machine!  However, I put more effort in teaching my kids how I run my business.  I like them to understand why I work hard and how my efforts pay off - with actual money!

What's your favorite part of the process?My favorite part of making Specifically Random headbands is the interaction with my customers.  Whether they're telling me that they've finally found a product that stays on and remains comfortable all day or that they just love the new look it gives them, it's always fun to put a smile on someone's face.  Many women who purchase from me are suffering from some form of hair loss and I love knowing that I'm providing a fun and fashionable accessory that helps these woman be more confident with their hair style.

Vintage Look Hairband

If you could go anywhere in the world, at any era in time, for one week, where and when would you go and why?My favorite book is "Jane Eyre", set in early nineteenth century England.  I can't help but be drawn to the rhythm of life, the simplicity of the time and most of all, the architecture.  I would really miss modern conveniences, but I think I could swing it for a week.  Especially in exchange for an invitation to a formal ball and a dance with a dashing young gentleman.

One random thing you think people should know.I love the show Survivor.  I've seen almost every season including the very first.  If I wasn't quite so wimpy I'd love to audition to be on the show myself.

If you want to keep up with Kelly or see if she's got something to match your wardrobe, check out the links below.

Keep on following us for more April's Army member interviews coming soon, along with the latest on my artwork and more about what's going on in the craftworld.

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