I love that we have so many international stitchers among Urban Threadsters, and it seems like a lot of them have a very entrepreneurial spirit. This week’s Urban Entrepreneurs feature comes all the way from Finland, with the awesome and punktastic stitching of Laura Lipponen from the online store Susitaika. We’ve seen Laura’s work before, when she took the amazing plunge into digitizing her own work. She’s since taken on her own business, both on Etsy and on her own website.
Today Laura joins us to talk a little about her online store, and shares some of her self-modeled embroidered wares…
What started you into embroidery?
My path to embroidery starts with my love of making my own clothes. When I was a kid, I made some curtains into cool tops. Got teased at school, OF COURSE. But still kept my individual voice like a boss.
I wanted to make clothes, but my mom’s Singer and I – we did NOT get along. So I begged for my mom to buy me a new machine. (Actually, the Singer DID have some sort of a fault that even a repair guy couldn’t do anything about it – they would’ve needed a new part, but since the machine was so old and that particular part had the tendency to break, nothing could be done.)
When we went to the store to buy a new machine for me, they were getting rid of every Husqvarna Viking machine, they stopped carrying that label. I wanted a cool looking Bernina, but there was one sewing machine with an embroidery head (Husqvarna Viking Platinum Plus) that was on such a ridiculous sale price that my mom made me try it. And I fell in love! That’s when I was introduced to embroidery.
Where did you first find Urban Threads?
I found UT on Craftster! Niamh had posted the fantabulous tute of the wood burning leaf image. To this day that is still my FAVOURITE wood burning project – such a beautiful picture. Not surprisingly I’ve embroidered that picture of the leaves a hundred times…
What made you take the plunge into starting your own store?
My parents have had a business of their own since forever and I have many friends who have their own companies as well. It’s very common here in Finland to start your own business. So I did. Some of my friends told me they’d order stuff from me if they could deduct it in their taxes, and for that I needed the VAT number.
What kinds of folks are your customers? Who do you hope to cater to?
Gothic chic and geeky types. I look for people with a sense of humor and a touch of the dark in their souls. People who understand writers such as Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. The kinds of people who I automatically feel are my friends.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?
Errrms… I’m sure I just learned a lesson this week… Ohh, it might be scheduling things. It’s VERY important to have a strict schedule, so you can keep up with seasonal sales, the markets you’re going to go to sell at and all that. The more structure you have in your life the better. I love TO-DO lists and even painted a black board on my door so I can wipe things off when I’m done.
Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?
I’m hoping that in a year I will be mostly done with school and can actually start providing myself with my business. At the moment I’ve had this problem of doing definitely too many things at once, so it has taken its toll. I’ve had two jobs on top of my own business and now I’ve had one job, business and school! It’s definitely been hard. But this summer anything has started to seem possible again. For a year I wasn’t so sure. But now I am! The thing that I’m looking forward most is that I’ve been talking about some cooperative things to do with some local artists. Kinda like your UT Labs.
I love the dark and punk attitude that Laura puts into all her wares, and the big possibilities for the future. With the guts to not only try digitizing, but jump into her own business, I’m sure the future projects and collaborations Laura takes on will be just amazing! If you want to grab some of your own gothic stitchy wares, check out her Etsy store or Susitaika.com.
Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!