Monday, June 01, 2009

Handmade artists: Ureshii

I am excited to introduce to you a new regular series, featuring artists and makers of handmade goodness. And beyond excited to kick this series off with my very favorite clothing designers at Etsy: Ureshii. You've probably noticed Ureshii's stunning photography with beautiful colors, flowing lines, gorgeous background and the model with the incredible posture and lovely wings tattoo!

I hope you enjoy reading about Emily and Amanda as much as I have, and please take advantage of a very special discount code at the end - one use only!

Names: Emily and Amanda

Shop website:
Your blog: Still secret - there are plans
Twitter: ureshii

Tell us a bit about you: who you are, who you want to be, what you make, what makes you unique?
We are Emily and Amanda (two aspiring hermits), three medium-sized children, two cats (Cat and Annie), some sheep, and many many plants. "Who we are" is currently the same as "Who we want to be," but we make no guarantees that this will continue to be the case! We love to make clothes that are thoughtfully designed, flexible and flattering, and subject to all sorts of customer reinterpretation.

What do you think it is about you that makes your shop successful?
We work really hard and do our best to pay attention, our new motto is "no excuses!"
Is Etsy your fulltime day job, or do you do this on top of a day job (and if you have a day job, what is it)?
It is our much-more-than full time job at the moment. Amanda still works a few days a week as a Barista, so she can have a bit of a break...
Do you have partner(s), employee(s) or family members who help with your business? If so, what roles do they fill and how do they make your life easier?
Emily: My mom comes over for two hours three mornings a week to take over some of the sewing duties. I pin and she sews, which helps a lot when we have large batches of garments in the same colour. It's also good to spend that regular mother-daughter time together. Otherwise, Amanda participates in all aspects of the business except sewing. I can't believe how much it helps to be able to talk things over. We work together really well and I am really looking forward to spending the summer at home together and actually having a garden this year!

Which do you prefer: artist, artisan, crafter or other?
How did you learn your particular art/craft form?
I learned by obsession and probably by genetic disposition. Amanda learned by vicarious obsession. When you finally find the thing you are supposed to be doing, you realize that everything you did leading up to it was an important part of the process. Further explanation could take years, so I will stop there.
What was the most difficult thing for you to learn when you initially set up your Etsy shop?
I had already quit my job so I think the pressure was mostly on Amanda, and that was hard for her. Finding a computer and a camera, learning to take pictures, PayPal, and graphics, were all completely new territory for me. I took one day at a time and worked all day every day. I can't believe that people bought from me so early on, my pictures were so bad!

What do you know now that you wish you’d known back when you set up your Etsy shop?
Custom orders should be for 1 or 2 items max.
What was the smartest thing you did when you were a fledgling Etsy seller?
I think the smartest thing I did was try a lot of different things. I started every morning fresh, making something new, photographing it and listing it in the same day. Now I only dream of having a day like that, where there aren't any rush or overdue orders!
If you sold last holiday season, what was your biggest lesson learned?
No Emergency Dresses! We don't make any shipping promises during the holidays. Between the weather and Customs, its really not worth the worry.
What stresses you out the most about your business?
Nothing compared to working retail.

What gets you the most excited?
New fabrics, colours, designs. New customers who are so excited to find us, existing customers who appreciate the clothes we made for them!
Tell us a little about how organize your workday and workplace?
Our workplace is in the middle of our living space, so our work life and our home life constantly intermingle. Our cutting table is always the center of activity in the household. If no one is actually cutting, it is invariably in use as a lounging surface or reading room. As soon as the kids are off to school, the kitchen counter is where finished garments are organized to ship. We do our best to keep home and work organized and tidy. Cube shelving is our friend!

Amanda adds: We set up the computer at bar height, at one end of the cutting table. That way I can check for new convos as I walk around the table, cutting out a garment. It's a dangerous time waster to have to sit down at the computer!
Tell us about how you manage to balance work with life?
We haven't quite figured that out yet! When sales are slow we do our best to remember not to panic, and think of it as an opportunity to work on the house, yard, or new designs. When we're super busy, we still remember to eat, sleep, and spend time with children.

Share one of your personal guilty pleasures?
Shoes, Ice Cream, TMZ.
Do you shop handmade? If so, what was the last thing you purchased?
We shop handmade and vintage daily! The last thing I purchased was a great clutch from
What one piece of advice, tip or trick would you share with both new and more established sellers?
Try not to take things too seriously, "just keep swimming!"

Thank you Emily and Amanda, for sharing with us, and for generously offering a special discount to Phydelle readers! Enter "phydelle" in the message to seller at checkout for 15% off your order! This is a one-time discount per person, so please use your discount wisely!

Share your favorite Ureshii designs in the comments below!


Leaves of Glass said...

hooray! congratulations Brenda on a great new series, and Emily & Amanda on being such incredible designers and businesswomen. you're all lovely!

June Shin said...

I have found a new favorite shop and I too want that Sunday dress!

snazz said...

This is one of my favorite etsy shops. I have one of their lovely swing tops..

Love it!

heather jane said...

The teal and the eggplant colors are my favorite. I love the brow, too. As far as style goes, I'm with you 100% on that gorgeous Sunday dress. I also adore the swing-y skirt and the tube dress worn as a skirt.

Beautiful styling and background on the photos, too.

Thanks for sharing!

Phydeaux Designs said...

Aren't their dresses incredible? Snazz, I'm glad you shared that you have a top from them that you love! :)

ThePeachTree said...

Fantastic interview from a fantastic artisan!! And I'll be getting my own grsclutch soon as well!

Liz said...

I now have a dress, two skirts and three shirts from them. So much fun to wear and so comfortable. And Emily and Amanda are very responsive to questions and guidance, and so friendly.

Phydeaux Designs said...

You have whole Ureshii wardrobe! How fabulous! :)