From the moment I laid eyes on them, I’ve been OBSESSED with the whimsical creations of the lovely Annie, mastermind and creative force behind Gift Shop Brooklyn. The fact that all the clutches, makeup bags and shoulder bags, amongst other things, are hand-made in my home town of Brooklyn, NY (and made to order) just sweetens the deal. I recently ordered one of the pieces as a birthday gift for my best friend. After it arrived (beautifully packaged, might I add) I promptly learned why the tag line for G.S.B. is “gifts you’ll want to keep” – parting with the beautifully designed yet functional clutch has proven to be very difficult.
After I reached out to her and professed my love for Gift Shop Brooklyn, Annie was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about herself and her creative process. Oh, and she is also giving away one of her fabulous clutches to one lucky reader! I can’t enter my own giveaway…can I?
So here’s Annie’s interview with the giveaway details right after!As a child, what did you want to be when you grow up? There was a time I thought I wanted to be a judge.. ”because all you have to do is make the final decision, and tell people what to do”. I then found out you had to first be a lawyer; I quickly changed my mind. When I was very young I wanted to be a hair dresser, which I think was a more accurate path for me than a judge. I think sewing, styling hair, and designing graphics are all a similar art form. Working with one’s hands, and problem solving the same way. I was always working on some type of art project growing up. I remember I had a ‘nail art station’ set up in my room with acrylic paints and paint brushes, and I would paint all sorts of designs on my nails. When and why did you decide to start your business? I think I always knew. I needed to spend time in the real world of corporate companies first however, to gain the confidence and knowledge to actually try something on my own. It was only about a year ago I started Gift Shop Brooklyn. I was miserable at my job, and my husband couldn’t deal with seeing so depressed all the time. So we decided I would quit. I was unsure what my next step would be, so I just started creating. I knew I wanted to start an online shop, and I had so many ideas in the beginning, I wanted to try everything! I did actually try most of my ideas, people seemed to be most interested in the bags, so that’s what I moved forward with. To be honest, I didn’t really know how to sew that well when I first started. I read a lot, and watched online videos, and basically just learned from trial and error. I have always loved working tediously with my hands (basically things that would be torture for most people), I think that’s why I took a liking to sewing. I really want to try jewelry soldering also, but my plate is pretty full at the moment. What keeps you creatively inspired to come up with new designs? I usually get ideas in the middle of working on something else. I will see some pieces of fabric together, making an interesting combination; or all of a sudden get an idea for a new shape. Sometimes I stop what I’m doing to try it, other times I have to jot it down so I can think about it for a while. I also do this thing in which all of a sudden I say ‘I need to see some new colors in the shop immediately’, so I will go to my suppliers, and see which fabrics and leathers I respond to. (This is not exclusive to my shop though, I do it around my apartment too) I will love love love something, then out of the blue I will say ‘ I can’t look at that anymore!’, and do a revamp. Apart from design what are your other interests/passions in life? Dates with my husband, Alex. Vintage and antique shopping! It can be a problem haha. There’s so much good old stuff out there!! Taking pictures of my cats and sending them to Alex while he’s working. I also LOVE pinterest You must get pretty stressed running your own business, how do you unwind? I’m still learning how to do this. I usually run on motivation and adrenaline like a crazy person, then my body will basically crash and burn. Then I start the cycle all over again. I’ve been trying to pace myself and stop working at a normal hour, and not do so much on the weekends. I’ve recently started going to kick boxing class, which is amazing!! You basically kick and punch as hard as you can for an hour which definitely relieves any frustrations from the day; and it forces me out of my apt / workspace for a while.
The winner is…. Linda Mayers-Gabbard! Congrats and please e-mail me with your info!
Please leave a comment letting me know that you did all of the above (a separate comment for each entry) and wait patiently until a winner is chosen on Monday July 9th! Pretty simple, non?