You run two shops on Etsy. What is the difference between the two and how do you decide the inventory for each?
My shops vary quite a bit from each other, though both offer items that I love. BabooBabeau was the first shop I started. It holds vintage clothing & accessories, handmade felt objects for the home (wreaths, dolls, ornaments), and knit baby booties. I have a master plan to start some kids clothing/costume sewing and I believe those things will be in BabooBabeau as well. I opened my other shop, Trapped In Time Designs six months after BabooBabeau. I'm a costume designer by education and quit my day job to focus more on my stores. It quickly became obvious to me that my custom and ready made costumes, accessories and clothing needed a venue all their own so they now live in Trapped In Time Designs. Roman holiday skirt
I love the idea of taking something old and repurposing it into a better version of the original. How did you get started with this? I went to college for theatre and stumbled into a work study job in the Costume Shop. One of my favorite parts of the job was managing the extensive costume stock. I quickly fell in love with all the vintage items, trying on those that fit, and drooling over those that didn't. (and they PAID ME TO DO THIS--I still can't get over it!)
Some items had to be discarded for various reasons; usually they were too damaged to be worn or we had too many of that particular item. I snatched up a number of things that were labeled too damaged because I simply couldn't send them to the dumpster. I held on to them over the years, meaning to do something with them. When I opened up BabooBabeau, it dawned on me that I could re work some of these pieces and give them a brand new life with someone who would love them as much as their original owners. Now I keep an eye out at thrift and antique shops for those well-loved items that could find a new home with just a little effort on my part.
I love that you make costumes in addition to everyday clothes. Do you have a typical customer? Do they buy both? I don't really have a "typical" customer. People from all across the board--and the world--have purchased costumes and clothing from me. One thing they have in common is the desire for something different and unique. I also tend to have a higher following of women that are looking for a fabulous costume that doesn't show their boobs or bum, especially during Halloween season. Your typical store bought costume is short, tight and low cut. While that can be fun, not every woman wants to wear that. Plus you really can't beat a costume custom made your your specifications. The right color and fit makes a world of difference.
Does the town you live in (Lacombe, LA) affect your designs? Honestly, my town doesn't affect what I create. Despite being just an hour from New Orleans Lacombe is still a sleepy little town. I love Lacombe and have since I was a child. I'm from Minnesota but spent my summers here since the age of four. I always felt at home in Louisiana and am so happy to have been able to move here. Lacombe, while not being a fashion or costume capital of the world, is a great place for me to be right now. While it doesn't directly affect what I create, it does offer me the peace and tranquility that I need TO create.
I'd say old movies, vintage photographs, fairy tales and some fashion designers (Alexander McQueen, John Galliano) are where I gather most of my inspiration. I also love any kind of costume play that's happening out there. Gothic Lolita styles are currently my favorites. There's something about all that frill and poof that seems so very perfect.
Define southern style. To me, Southern style is the perfect juxtaposition of elegant and casual. There are so many different people and cultures in our amazing area that I simply cannot pin point a particular style that defines us. Southern style is a state of mind, darling!
In addition to her two Etsy shops Mairi also does theatrical costuming. Custom orders are always welcome and she would love to start selling items in local shops.
Also any Slow Southern Style reader that makes a purchase from either store from now until May 15th will enjoy 15% off any item. Enter the promo code "SlowSouthernStyle" in the Note to Seller section of the transaction and you will receive a refund for the difference.