My July Lemon and Raspberry sponsor is my long-lost kindred spirit – as we discovered not long after I posted about my love for Anne of Green Gables …
Shortly after that, Gabrielle opened her etsy shop – The Green Gables – and made her wares available at not on the high street and I’m so excited to give you guys this interview with her, now that she has a couple weeks of business under her belt!
(note: I made some edits, but most of the text below is hers. With her sweet British choice of words!)
Hi Gabrielle! Please introduce yourself!
I’m Gabrielle and my handmade business is called the green gables. I create all my pieces – bags, mini pinnies and bunting so far – by hand in my garden studio in rural Surrey in the UK, where I live with my husband and little dog, Georgie.
Why did you start The Green Gables?
Although it’s been a dream for a long time I only launched the green gables last month.
I still have my day job at the moment as a journalist and writer but I really wanted to express my creativity in a more tangible, hands-on way, and sewing makes me happy! I have plans in progress for paper as well as fabric products but more of that in the future!
(editor’s note: I LOVE that she’s working towards her dream job while still working at her day job. … so inspiring!)
What inspires you?
I took inspiration from my favourite book of all time – Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery – for my business title.
If you’ve never read this book – do! Even though it’s set decades ago in Canada (quite different from my upbringing in the 80s in the UK) I can identify with the main character in so many ways, even now as an adult.
Anne is a kooky, dreamy, feisty, courageous, passionate, honest, loyal girl who, even if you didn’t want to be her, you’d certainly want her as your friend.
Plus, for a couple of years I’ve been writing a blog, called the green gal, discussing practical ideas on living a more sustainable life – growing my own food, shopping for secondhand treasures and my make do and mend mentality. So all in all, the green gables was just meant to be!
(editor’s note: I want to be Anne)
Tell us about your products!
First and foremost I make products I like.
I may not use them all (I’m not mini enough to fit a mini pinny but my house is covered in bunting) but I won’t make something I don’t love. I don’t believe that a truly creative person can churn out a money-making item that they don’t really care about.
Plus, I want to make pieces that will last. Not just because I don’t want to contribute to the ever-growing waste mountain but also because if someone has spent their hard-earned cash on one of my pieces I want them to get a lot of use out of it!
What is the process when designing a new piece?
Inspiration for my pieces can come from anywhere: I may spot a gorgeous piece of fabric and think of something to make with it; I may have an idea for a product and go looking for fabric or secondhand clothing; just playing around with bits and bobs in my studio sparks ideas and sometimes I’ll be talking to someone about one idea and a new one will form while I’m mid-sentence!
The new fabric I use is sourced locally (I try to support my local independent businesses as much as possible) and where I can I recycle fabrics. I’ve just created a new range of tote bags that satisfy my eco-mindfulness completely – the bags are made from Fairtrade organic cotton and I use leftover scraps of fabric to create the bunting decoration, plus it’s a reusable shopping bag so no need to pick up a plastic carrier bag again!
Although I appreciate the world is shrinking and customers purchase from me from all over the world, I minimise the environmental impact of the packaging by using only recycled paper (including the tissue paper), jute string and reusing padded envelopes.
Heaven help me, take a minute and check out her adorable garden studio …. This is exactly the kind of thing I would like someday when we have a house!
(text continues below)
Do you offer custom pieces? What can a client expect?
As well as creating new pieces I also offer customers a bespoke service, remaking old clothes into new treasures to use, display or give as gifts. Parents have told me that they keep some of their outgrown children’s clothing for sentimental reasons but they don’t want to store them in a box, only looking at them once in a while. I can turn a treasured item of clothing into something that can be used and displayed and so bring the childhood memories to life every day. You can see examples of dresses I’ve remade into bags and cushion covers, skirts and shirts remade into bunting, by looking at my flickr album http://www.flickr.com/photos/gabriellec/sets/72157624271096456/
(here’s an example: 2 girls’ dresses remade into bunting)
I work closely with each customer to create a remade treasure that suits the original item and will give back the joyful memories.
Thanks so much! Where can we find you!?
You can find links to my blog, etsy.com store and notonthehighstreet.com store at http://www.thegreengables.co.uk
Do pop along for a visit and drop me a line if you’d like a chat, I’d love to hear from you!