Brand new to Watermelon Wishes, Wednesdays are now reserved for a column I have dubbed ‘Meet the Maker’. Since it’s my gig, I’ll go first; however, in the future you can look forward to reading profile excerpts from other artists in and around the Etsy community.
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
My name is Andrea Chapman and I am the founder of Watermelon Wishes. I was born in Spokane, Washington and migrated to the east coast in the early 1980’s. Nowadays, I reside in Haymarket, Virginia with my amazing husband of 15 years and our four fabulous children. Sewing is my craft of choice and I have established a niche designing custom diaper bags and accessories. My commercial studio is located in the quaint town of Middleburg, Virginia.
How did you learn to sew?
Largely self-taught, I have many fond memories watching my great-grandmother sew clothes for those she loved and my grandfather craft leather into beautiful holsters, chaps and bags (which I believe he also sold). For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for bags and an attraction to textiles. In 2006, when disaster and opportunity collided, I founded Watermelon Wishes. Initially, I planned to market other people’s handmade goods under one umbrella. As my inventory began to arrive, the perfectionist in me was quick to spot any flaws in craftsmanship that existed. It seemed so obvious to me how to avert these mistakes. Not one for following directions, I do not enjoy working with patterns and instead create all of my own designs.
Where do you get ideas for new diaper bag designs?
My youngest child is 22 months and serves as daily inspiration. All of my products are born of necessity and tried and true. The diaper bag which I carry doubles as my purse; so, I can appreciate the need to have a stylish bag that is large enough to accommodate baby’s things as well as my own.
What types of materials do you enjoy working with?
Amy Butler fabric is my all time favorite material for diaper bags because it is colorful and washes beautifully. I recently started working with canvas and I especially like the look of those two mediums combined.
Besides sewing, what other crafts and activities do you enjoy?
Crocheting, scrapbooking, drinking coffee and chauffeuring my children from one activity to the next (not!).
What one piece of advice would you offer others who aspire to sell their handmade goods?
Write a business plan. The Small Business Administration is an invaluable resource and offers many online tools: www.sba.gov