Link:lore (Me and Matilda)

I'm happy to introduce a new feature here on my blog today.  One of the things I love about buying handmade is that I'm buying from a real person, and I thought it would be fun to find out a little bit about the people whose work I admire, and so I introduce...

Link:lore   The story behind the links
Welcome Tonia, from MeandMatilda...

1.  Why did you decide to open an online store?
Before opening my online store I worked from home as a software support and sales specialist.  The company I worked for sold the software I supported and offered me a position that required a move to another state quite a distance away.  My husband and I decided the move would be devastating to our family so we chose to simplify rather than move.  Though transitioning to one income was difficult I believe it was the right decision for our family.  My online store was born out of the desire to continue to work from home, the need to contribute to our family financially and the desire to do something creative.  I come from a legacy of strong, creative and resourceful women.  I wanted to honor that tradition by creating a business of my own that allowed me to be present for my family.  Designing and sewing was a natural choice for me though I'm not exactly sure how I ended up making neckties.  It started out as a children's clothing business and has evolved from there.  Our house is full of boys/men so I guess that explains it a bit.  I absolutely love what I do.  I definitely work more hours than I ever did before but it is worth it!

2.  Who/what inspires you?
I am inspired by so many things for so many reasons.  Once I started making neckties I started seeing them everywhere.  Every time I look at fabric I start seeing neckties.  So I am inspired by the many artists out there designing beautiful fabric.  I am inspired by the color and texture of natural fibers.  I especially love to observe the colors as the seasons change.  If I had time to make every item I dreamed up I would have twenty shops.  Sometimes I have to try not to be inspired so I can remain focused.

I am inspired by my customers.  I really enjoy working with wedding couples to find the right look for their big day.  I love the personal relationships I form with my customers and am thrilled to play a small part in their magical event.  I get to share their joy and excitement which is a real treat for me.  It is also great fun to see little guys wearing my neckties.  I love it when moms share pictures of their little fellas all dressed up.  Running a small business really allows for a personal connection with your customer and that is a huge inspiration for me.

I am inspired to work long and sometimes crazy hours by my family.  I love that I never miss special events in my son's life, or that I can have a spontaneous lunch with my husband.  I like being the dugout mom, and camping with the cub scouts.  The ability to be present when my family needs me is what drives me to head to my studio and sew til midnight.

I am inspired by the legacy of strong women in my family.  It is an amazing feeling to grow a business born of my own creativity and drive.  I feel like I am honoring the hard work of my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.  My sister is another source of inspiration.  I think back and it seems she was always making something with her hands.  A huge crocheted bedspread for my mom, beautiful needlework, knitted treasures, amazing beadwork, and now lovely pottery.  She was a fantastic source of support when I started my shop and still offers me lots of good advice.

I am inspired by the amazing community of artists and craftsmen out there.  The whole hand-made movement is inspiring.

I am so happy to do what I do.  I still believe in the idea of working hard, that my prospects in life will be defined by my talent and energy.   This is my little piece of the American dream.

Let me know if you'd like to tell your story...


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