July 11, 2013

Handmade Marathon - PeetSwea

Tell us about your business

PeetSwea offers handmade totes, bags and household décor, featuring beautiful and fun fabrics.  Items are available on Etsy, and in April they also became available in a local shop which features handmade goods.

How did you get started?
I have been sewing since high school, where I took a semester-long class and fell in love.  My mom tells me that I inherited my sewing talents from my grandmother, which is very flattering because she was an amazing seamstress! 
In 2011, my business started as a way to share beautiful fabrics with others.  I enjoy turning gorgeous textiles into something functional – tote bags with a pop of color, jewelry bags that make a travel experience even more exciting, and grocery bag holders to spruce up a closet or pantry. 

The girl behind the business - Tell us about yourself, how do you spend your mornings, a little glimpse into your life, your family etc.

I have been married to my wonderful husband for 12 years, and we have a beautiful daughter who will be 8 in July.  In addition to my PeetSwea business, I am also an IT project manager.  My day job keeps me very busy during the week, so by the time rolls around I am longing for time to spend in my studio at the sewing machine!

We purchased a home in Northern Virginia a year ago, and we are working to experience all the activities and beauty that are available in the Washington, DC area.  This summer we plan to enjoy bike riding and time out on our deck, along with a few vacations to visit family.  I am also working on running – I’ve never been an athlete and ran my first mile ever without stopping a little over a year ago.  I have aspirations to finish a 5K in the next year.

What inspires you? Where does your creativity come from?
I am constantly inspired by fabric – the variety of color, pattern and texture on a bolt of fabric calls out to me, and wants to be made into something new.
Since starting PeetSwea, I have discovered just how inspiring my customers can be as well.  I have had the opportunity to create several custom orders and their desire for something unique really gets my creative juices flowing.  Sewing always calms me, but designing with a specific person in mind has a way of bringing me to the next level of creativity.

What's one thing you would like to improve about your business?
This year I have a goal to be more outgoing with my business and improve my marketing.  I have a tendency to be shy and downplay my work when speaking with friends or family, in fear that I am trying to push my products.  If I can conquer that fear, I think that I will become a better all-around marketer for my business!

What is the best gift you have ever given or received?
When my husband and I were dating in college, I wanted our first Christmas gift exchange to be extra special.  I decided to do a take on the Twelve Days of Christmas song:  one shirt, a pair of headphones, three magazines… all culminating to twelve pairs of boxer shorts that I handmade.  I had so much fun coming up with ideas, and was beyond thrilled when he opened each of them.

How do you celebrate special occasions?
Family, family, family!  Whether it is just the three of us celebrating at home, or the opportunity to have our extended family together, celebrations are always centered around family.  We usually plan a nice meal, with our favorite family foods and enjoy each other’s company. 

What do you do when you make time for yourself (you and only you)
My quiet time will likely involve a book and a glass of red wine, although you may find me shopping in a book or fabric store, or catching up on my favorite TV shows.  My husband would tell you that I have a horrible inability to relax – if there is free time where I have nothing that I must do, I usually find something to do anyway.

You can find more PeetSwea here:

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