Sometimes life happens, I think we can all relate to that. But the call to be creative doesn’t really go away. If being around Hayley has taught me anything it’s that creativity is like steam and if you don’t let it off here and there you’ll practically explode like a confetti-filled piñata. This is similar to the experience of Roula, the founder and maker of Sewcialite, a beautiful collection of handstitched rope baskets available on Etsy. Her creativity effervesces as much as the radiance behind her smile. I’m not sure you will ever meet a more upbeat go-getter with such a zest for life, her family, and her craft. Currently, and for the near future, a one-woman show, each and every rope creation she stitches is uniquely individual and made with so. much. love! We adore our Sewcialite baskets and use them, literally, all around the house. We had the great pleasure of meeting Roula for coffee (and cheese danish for Blair, because, snacks always!) and as the minutes wizzed by we were so inspired by her passion and drive.
See our interview with her below!
Happy weekend! Blair + Hayley
SS+C: What was the spark that started Sewcialite?
Sewcialite began in 2010. I was working full time, and decided to enroll in pattern design classes. I met an amazing woman (my mentor) Janith Bergeron (Designs by Janith). She taught me the fundamentals and fueled my passion for design. I am so grateful to have met her and to have had the opportunity to learn from her. At the time my focus was on designing women’s clothing. I was selling my designs on Etsy and blogging about my experience. I coerced my good friends to model my designs and we did a photo shoot in Portsmouth.
With the birth of my first child in 2011 I put Sewcialite on hold to focus on my family. Honestly, I had not seen my sewing machine since then, but 2 months ago I realized I desperately needed a creative outlet, something just for me. So I decided to make a rope basket and I haven’t been able to stop since.
SS+C: What has been the most rewarding aspect of starting/owning your own business?
I have been working in corporate settings as a business analyst/project lead for the past 13+ years. I am still working full time as I try and grow my business. It’s been amazing to have the opportunity to be my own boss. I love the freedom of calling the shots and setting and achieving my own business goals.
SS+C: What were/are the most important elements to you when you set up your creative environment?
Complete chaos! My creative environment typically involves breaking up fights with my 2.5 year old and 5.5 year old, or having my 2.5 year old sit on my lap while I sew. There is a lot of stop and go, disruption, and multitasking that occurs as I design, photograph and post my pieces. Sometimes I think to myself if people could only see what is going on behind the scenes they would laugh hysterically!
SS+C: Where is the most exciting place Sewcialite has taken you?
Social Media, especially Instagram has been such an amazing space. I feel so fortunate to have met so many talented and awe inspiring artists and entrepreneurs. Including Eklund Griffin! Instagram is an awesome community that I am proud to be a part of.
SS+C: How do you gather and process inspiration?
I grew up on the southern coast of Maine and NH. Having always lived near the water I feel it has truly shaped my modern coastal aesthetic. It’s very fitting since my medium is rope and it’s a natural material. Growing up in Maine and NH allowed me opportunities to enjoy nature, the outdoors and all 4 seasons.
SS+C: How has your style, aesthetic, and/or business changed/evolved since you first started?
When I first began designing my aesthetic was very trendy. Today, I am much more classic but with a modern twist. My lifestyle is so different, being a mom and working full time. Today my business goals are much more conservative, I am hoping for a slow and steady growth over time.
SS+C: What is the best piece of business/life advice you’ve ever received?
Work hard and be nice to people. You have to put in the time, nothing happens overnight, and you have to be kind and honest, that goes a long way in the business world.
SS+C: What has been your happiest moment owning your own business?
Seeing my designs in someone’s home. How they have styled it. It brings me the greatest joy when someone shares a photo and appreciates the workmanship and time I put into one of my pieces. I feel like I put a little piece of myself into every design.
SS+C: What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?
Set realistic expectations and goals that you can accomplish the first month, 3 months, 6 months, the first year. It’s important to pace yourself so you don’t burn out.
SS+C: What is something about your business people should know, but probably don’t?
That there are many late nights, a lot of juggling and multitasking that goes into building this business and allowing me to follow my design dream.