Friday, February 4, 2011

Interview with Leslie of Retreauxgirl

I met Leslie aka Retreauxgirl online via Twitter or Etsy. I think it was Twitter. Anyway, since meeting a few months ago, we've become pretty good online friends. We're also members of the Etsy Recyclers Guild team, which is honestly one of the BEST Etsy teams I've ever been a part of. Leslie makes really amazing upcycled jewelry from all different things.

TVT: Tell us a little about yourself.

RG: I am a proud mother of 3, born and raised in Southeast Texas by two creative parents, in a beautiful "antique" home in the country.

TVT: When did you first start crafting?

RT: Working in Visual Merchandising gave me the opportunity to be creative and crafty every day, making displays from cardboard, foamcore, flowers, paint and pretty much anything I could find. I've been dabbling in jewelry design for over 10 years, but just became serious about it recently.

TVT: Please describe your work in detail. What's your favorite type of crafting/art?

RG: My work changes all the time. I find something I like and make it for a while and move on. I get bored easily. Right now I really like working with antique hardware, like old padlocks adorned with old brooches, or drawer hardware dangling from a chain. I have even attached a HUGE absolutely beautiful door hinge to some burlap and adorned it with rhinestones. I love the juxtaposition of old and tarnished with new and polished. Kind of Country Chic. I also enjoy taking apart old broken jewelry and repurposing it into something new and unexpected. Skeleton keys, antique watches and brooches are things I am drawn to.

TVT: How has your work evolved from your earlier work?

RG: When I first began making jewelry, I did a lot of wire work, curling and turning the wire into interesting designs which is what has helped me with creating the new pieces I work on today. Most of the hardware pieces I work with need hangers, or loops made so that they can be hung from chain.

TVT: Where do you get your inspiration?

RG: I am very visual. I usually browse blogs, magazines and search Etsy for hardware. A day at the Flea Market will also send me home with a ton of ideas. A beautiful rusty piece of hardware will usually get my creative juices flowing.

TVT: Where are your products sold (online/stores)?

RG: I currently sell at Retreauxgirl on Etsy. I also have pieces in two local boutiques on consignment and will also be in another boutique at the end of March. I plan on expanding this year and participating in local Flea Markets and Craft Shows, probably in the Fall.

TVT: What advice can you give other crafters when selling their items?

RG: Jewelry is tough to sell online because people like to pick up and try on and feel it. It's imperative that your pictures look good enough to touch, your descriptions answer all of their questions and you are approachable and friendly in your communications.

TVT: Describe yourself in three words:

RG: Creative, Crazy, Determined

TVT: Is there is anything else you'd like to share with us?

RG: Leaving retail after 25 years was a scary thing. I have had a steady income since I was 18. Call it a mid life crisis if you will, but I am 44 years old and I thought it was time to follow my dream and be creative and true to myself. My "true calling" as Oprah would say. Life's too short to be miserable.

You can find Retreauxgirl online at the following places:

Retreauxgirl on Etsy