Q. Welcome Alecia! When I was reading your profile, it seemed that art, design, crafting and love for the earth have been major influences in your life. Who are some of the people who have influenced you the most?
A. Nature in itself is very inspiring to me. I work so much better, and with more energy, if I can spend some of my day outside in the sun. Of course, living in New England, part of the year it's freezing, so that's not always possible!
In college, I had a painting teacher who encouraged us to take breaks from our art and spend time outside in nature. I never forgot that advice, and I'm grateful to her for that! Of course, my children inspire me. We have four boys, and it's amazing to hear them say "My mama is an artist. She makes things and people buy them." They think I'm cool, and that in itself, is pretty inspiring to continue! In terms of support, I couldn't ask for a better family. Honestly, I'm so fortunate to have them, and they're always helping me in so many ways.
Q. I think it’s so wonderful that you share your love of art and the earth with your children. Are there any activities that you share with them that mother’s reading this might find helpful in their own family lives?
A. I share everything with them. Two of my boys are in school during the day, but our third is often working side by side with me in the afternoon. I sew, and he works on his art projects. Our boys are always asking me about my work. They're very interested and amazed that someone will actually pay for something I make with my hands! I love that I'm showing them that - yes, you can make a living being creative. They are all little artists - and we encourage and foster their creativity - because we're both artists too.
Q. That's wonderful! I noticed that your Etsy shop, Madbird, has fantasticl feedback, as well as very colorful and functional items. How do you balance customer service along with time creating your wonderful bags, organizers, binders, and wallets?
A. Customer service is probably the most important aspect of running my business. Without satisfied customers, I could not be nearly as successful as I am. The first thing I do every morning, is check emails and convos. I answer them as soon as I get them, so hopefully my customers feel as though I'm always around to help. A large portion of my business is custom work, and I have had the pleasure of working with some wonderful people to create something special just for them. Customer service isn't a chore for me, I enjoy the interaction! It's that special one-on-one service that's missing from large corporations.
Q. Alecia, do you find that learning as much as you can about each craft that you try has helped you grow as a designer? You have an excellent foundation and it shows in your work and craftsmanship.
A. I'm a relentless researcher. Thankfully, I have the internet, otherwise we'd be buried in books! If I need to learn something, I spend hours researching and collecting information. I take books out at the library, read online forums and watch how-to videos. That's how I taught myself to knit. If I want to learn how to make something, I'm fairly confident I can. I do think it's very important - since I create tools for the knit and crochet community - to be able to knit and crochet myself. Having that experience has helped me incorporate features into the design of my organizers and project bags that I feel are essential.
Q. Recently, your products were mentioned in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Crochet Today! Magazine. How exciting! What did it feel like to see your product in that issue?
A. It was awesome! I was very excited to hear that my organizers were selected, and very grateful to the editor! I was very proud to show my family, and of course, have a very precious copy in my possession. I hope it is not the last time my products appear in a publication!
I'm sure this is only the beginnng of features and success for you and Madbird. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to share with us your inspiring story, Alecia.
Visit Alecia's group, madbird, on Ravlery.com
Follow Madbird on twitter: http://twitter.com/4madbird