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Find out how Dacia is using her creative outlet to share her love of fabrics, with her store Curlytoe Creations!
Tell us your story! What inspired you to create your store?
I am a nurse, and one night another nurse and I were working together. During our shift, we asked each other what was one thing we would like to do but have not yet accomplished. Her answer was to train to be a neonatal intensive care nurse (NICU). My answer was to have my own online store filled with things I had made myself. I encouraged her to become a NICU nurse, and she encouraged me to open an online store. I had recently recovered from breast cancer and was told by my oncologist that I needed something to do other than work that would offer me a creative outlet and help me relax more. She gave me a stern lecture on the need to create time for myself. I was off work for many months, and during this time, I started sewing and thinking more of an online store. I created a place in my home to sew that I called The Nest, and Curlytoe Creations was born. I named my store Curlytoe Creations because the name, and eventually, my logo, reminded me of the tiny toes of the babies in the NICU.
Tell us about your products? Why did you choose the products and where did you learn your craft?
I have always loved fabric and felt. I didn’t do much sewing growing up, but my older sisters did, and I learned from them. Most of what I learn now I find on the internet, or I take a class to learn from an expert. Fabric is such a colorful product with endless possibilities of what to do with it. I eventually bought a used embroidery machine and then I was really hooked on sewing with felt, especially things for children such as hand puppets. My newest project came out of the pandemic we are all experiencing. My daughter is an ICU nurse and wanted me to sew her some scrub caps. They really caught on, and I recently started adding them to my store. Most of my products come from a request from a friend or family member.
What’s your favorite part of the making process?
My favorite part of the making process is choosing which fabric I will use or which embroidery pattern to put on a project. I love choosing the fabric or thread colors that will go into making a project. I make a big mess because I pull everything out and match things up, but when the colors come together, and you see the finished product, you realize that no other choices would have looked as nice together. Then you get to do it all over again with the next project.
How do you stay motivated?
Thinking about a project that I have made being used in a foreign country really inspires me. I wonder what they are going to do with their purchase. Will it be a gift for someone special? Will it be for themselves? I like challenging myself to try new things, and that keeps me motivated. Of course, being compensated for my project by having someone purchase what I have made is important, but it is not what drives me to complete new projects. Sewing is the best form of relaxation for myself, and it is the one thing I do that I get so engrossed in I don’t think about work or the pressures of life. The smile you get when you see the finished product is motivation enough for me.
What is your favorite product you make or material you work with and why?
I love making things for children with felt. I had a series of hand and finger puppets and dolls I made a few years ago, and I would like to start doing them again. They were so colorful and bright and something that was hard to find in stores. I like making things that you can’t buy in a store and are unique, one of a kind products such as my zipper pouches. I enjoy things I can complete in a short period of time, which is why I have made very few large quilts.
Where do you turn for inspiration? What is your creative process like?
I enjoy watching video tutorials to learn new skills, and while I am watching the video, the thoughts start coming of what fabric I could use for that project. I have a sinfully large stash of fabric, so I often have a piece I have been wanting to cut into, and videos, magazines, social media (such as Pinterest) spark me with ideas of what to create. I will often leave a piece of fabric sitting out or a pattern that I want to use, and when the idea comes to me, I get started. I like to do all the machine sewing at once and then finish the handwork while watching a movie. I sew what I am in the mood to sew that day rather than what I need to sew to restock a product.
What are you hoping to accomplish through Just Artisan?
I am hoping to start a fresh store with new clientele selling truly handmade products.
What does success look like to you?
A fairly steady flow of sales would be one measure of success but I judge more on the reviews that come in. It means a lot to me to make my customers happy and go that extra mile. I feel successful if I am able to add some new products now and then and try to have some that are filling a need, such as the nursing scrub caps I make.
What else would you like to share?
I think that makers do not get the true recognition they deserve, except from other makers. It was not until I was ill that I truly developed the sense of accomplishment that comes from creating products people will buy. It was the first time I began to realize that makers really need to create. Making is what meditation is to some people. So many makers carve out their making time after every other responsibility they have is complete. I really admire those who put the making first more often than last.