September's Shop of the Month
The Gingham Life
Hello everyone! I'm Mary Beth, the owner of The Gingham Life on Etsy. I also am the creator of the Vintage Sewing Pattern Directory. and Fabric Up to My I enjoy writing the Shop of the Month features when they are about other shops. Writing about myself is another story. I will do my best to paint a good picture of my workspace, what I do, how I do it, and the future of my business. I have several exciting (to me) projects that I am trying to make time for. I think that they will be a great addition to my shop. I will give you a peek later in this post!
First, for those of you who don't know me, let me catch you up. I have three
grown children. The oldest lives in Washington State and works for Nintendo
in the QA department testing new games. What does he do? No Idea, he
can't tell me anything. Tell your kids those jobs DO exist! I have twins
Twin A - is a sergeant in the Army in N. Carolina and his twin works online
training AI (Artificial Intelligence)
I got divorced in 2004 and moved back to California from Hawaii with my kids.
I had owned 2 natural food stores on the Big Island of Hawaii with my now
ex-husband. He kept them and bought me out. That was the end of working
in a stressful environment. I got my kids through school and started another
business. I started sewing kids' clothing and selling them after my husband's niece had a baby girl. That turned into selling vintage sewing patterns. My now husband never questions how many patterns I buy or have on hand! I question it! I have been selling sewing patterns since 2010. I love what I do and I love working with people.
My sewing room is half office/patterns and half sewing room.
As you can tell, I like bright,
cheerful colors in my workspace.
I have too much clutter but, it works
for now. I can watch the birds and
butterflies outside my window while
sitting at my desk getting orders
ready or working on new listings.
I have most of my shipping supplies
within reach so my Post Office days
go more smoothly.
My desk is old and sturdy with tons of
room! I absolutely love it.
This area is where my checked patterns are kept. Well, some of them. Some are upstairs in plastic bins. These are sorted by brand and in numerical order. My mailing supplies are to your right, the bookshelf has my collection of vintage magazines and some books. More books to the right. I love books!
The fabric on the shelves and in the 2 bins
is all listed for sale in my shop
Fabric Up To My on Etsy. I have so much
more to list!!
My flatbed scanner is on my desk. I have
had it for over 15 years and it keeps going!
I love it. I scan all of my patterns, front and
back for my listing photos.
On the shelves are some pattern counter
catalogs. I don't have many but I do love
the ones that I have. I also have a decent
collection of home catalogs and magazines.
I have several vintage sewing machines
scattered around the room. My favorite
is my Singer Slant. I used it to sew new
covers for some outdoor furniture and
Now on to my listed patterns. They are stored in
pattern cabinets. By brand and in numerical order..
I have been lucky enough to get five of them over
My favorite and the first cabinet I ever got, is my Butterick - It was trashed. It lived outside in coastal San Diego. My husband got to work on it and painted for me.
I promised at the beginning of the post that I would share something new that I was starting to work on. Again, my wonderful, supportive husband bought me a book scanner for Mother's Day. I've played with it a bit and wow it's amazing. Of course, he got the next level up from the one I was looking at. So I plan to scan some of my very vintage books and catalogs and offer them in PDF format.
To the left is my book scanner! It's so compact and so powerful. All I've done is play with it so far. Soon I will spend a few days scanning!
Now I must include my interview Q&A! It was a riveting Interview.
Q. What is your favorite part of what you do?
A. When I find a pattern that a customer has been looking for and hasn't been able to find. That is my favorite! I love helping make people happy. Even just knowing that a customer is happy makes my day.
Q. What is your least favorite part of what you do?
A. Checking patterns with over 20 pieces. I put those off! When I do count them, I always wonder why I put them off so long,
Q. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
A. Selling patterns looks easy. It isn't. There is a learning curve if you want to be good at it. Styles change quickly, terms are complicated, sizing is different, and so on.
Q. Do you have a favorite decade? What is it?
A. I really love the mid-sixties to the early seventies. The mini dresses, bell bottoms, hip huggers. I think I like that time period because it takes me back to my childhood.
I love what I do. I have worked in customer service jobs my whole life and whether I was waiting tables or the owner of a brick-and-mortar store, I know how important each customer is to my business. I will never take a sale for granted.
for those of you who read the whole post, here is a coupon code!
SHOPMONTH - 20% OFF (good thru 9/17)
Thank You for letting me tell you a bit about myself