Only 45 days until our favorite day of the year! The best way to get your shopping list ready is to check back here every day and see just what we’ll have in store for you at the Bazaar Bizarre!
Today’s feature is a favorite of all the organizers, Pansy Maiden! From our perspective, Laura is the epitome of a perfect vendor. She makes the highest quality products, has a strong brand that is easily identifable, and she constantly developes new products. We love having her at our shows because YOU love having her at our shows.
Read the interview below and learn a lot more about Laura…I’m sure you’ll love her too!
Hi there! First things first: What’s your name, what’s your business name, where are you from, and where are you currently located/crafting?
I’m Laura Collins, the lady behind Pansy Maiden Cruelty-free Bags. I grew up among the corn fields of Indiana and now live and work out of my home in Medford, MA.
How did you get your start? Please tell us a little bit about how your business went from an idea to what is today.
My DIY dream began with a quarter-life crisis. I was on a career path I had never envisioned for myself, one of limited creativity. I wanted to make a living doing something I was passionate about and something that allowed me to make some sort of positive change in the world. Garnering much inspiration from artists selling their wares on Etsy and at super-amazing craft fairs I would attend as a buyer (such as the Boston Bazaar Bizarre), I decided to teach myself to design and sew handbags and open an Etsy shop. I had hand-sewn a couple bags of my own design using reclaimed materials while attending college but that was the extent of my experience. I just jumped right in and didn’t look back.
What inspires you the most to create?
First of all, I like to make pretty things. Second of all, I love the pride that wells up inside when I see someone enjoying my creations. Third of all, I like to think about how many animals I’m saving by enticing people to choose animal-skin-free bags!
What are your favorite materials to work with?
Waxed canvas is my muse. It’s so easy to work with and best of all, it’s an all-natural alternative to leather. It really looks like leather/suede! I can’t count the number of times someone comes into my booth at a show, touches a bag and says, “OH! I thought that was leather!” I also love to work with recycled fabrics. My vegan suede is made from recycled plastic and I just started using a fabric for the interior of my bags that’s super lightweight, water-resistant, wipe-cleanable, and is made from recycled nylon. I’m always looking for ways to make Pansy Maiden as eco-friendly as possible.
Who are some of your favorite indie artist/crafters and why do you love them?
Impossible! I know that’s the PC thing to say but it’s so true. I will say, though, that ever since joining the crafting community four years ago, I feel like I have a crafting family. I was talking with my friend Liz from Made in Lowell at a show last holiday season and she mentioned that one of the best things about vending at shows, especially the larger holiday shows, is you get to see your friends! Liz nailed it on the head. You get to see some folks on the “craft show circuit” that you only get to see once or twice a year. While frantically setting up their booth’s (I am always frantic while setting up my booth), friends and fellow venders will stop by each other’s tables before the show starts to catch up, give hugs, and admire each other’s work. The crafting community is full of warm, talented, supportive people. Such a gift!
Any exciting future plans or developments in the works for your business? (Nothing TOP-SECRET, of course!)
I’m developing a brother company so I can make man-bags! Since most men, other than my loyal husband, probably wouldn’t carry a “Pansy Maiden” bag, I’m creating a sub-brand called “Alva DoRight.” I’m looking at launching in Summer of 2013, fingers crossed!
What are some other things you like to do when you are not busy making awesome stuff?
Ride my bike, Boot Camp (amazing workout!), watch just about anything sci-fi (Fringe is my fave), attend music concerts, try new vegan recipes, hang out with my husband, hang out with friends, pet my dog Clementine, walk Clementine, come up with new ridiculous nick-names for Clementine, Instagram pictures of Clementine…
What are the top 3 reasons someone shopping at the BBB 2012 should be sure to stop by your table?
1) If you gift a Pansy Maiden bag that you picked up at the BBB, you are going above and beyond by showing that person you care about funding artisans, you care about the environment, you care about animals, and you want her to feel pretty good carrying all that love on her shoulder. (And she’ll look amazing doing so)
2) I will have many bags that aren’t currently available on my website.
3) I love to talk to people! Come on by and say hello!
What is your favorite background noise to listen to while working?
Podcast, Podcasts, and more Podcasts. I feel like I personally know Terry Gross, Ira Glass, Linda Holmes, Jad Abumrad, and Robert Krulwich.
What is your favorite mythical beast and what do you think their favorite crafty past time is?
Until one month ago, it was the Narwhal but then I found out they are real! Dreams do come true! Searching for a new favorite mythical beast.
What advice would you give to a new vendor selling at the BBB for the first time?
Bring snacks, get a lot of sleep the night before (yeah, right), bring a helper, introduce yourself to your neighbors.
Make sure you check out Pansy Maiden at all the best internet locations: