Monday, August 17, 2009

Interview With An Etsian: Meet Toni

VernonAve has been one of my favorite Etsy shops for awhile now. I'm constantly hearting items in this shop! Toni of VernonAve is a talented designer from Kentucky who has a thing for handbags. Meet the fabulous Toni...
In a nutshell, tell us about yourself.
I am a designer that likes to sew, paint, cook, bake and create. My traveling and living all over the US from Sun Valley to Miami Beach has inspired me tremendously. Other inspirations come from family and everyday happenings. I have been sewing, crafting and designing since I was a child. Vernon Avenue is a creative venture after many dreams, aspirations and out of pure necessity.

I have been making bags for friends, family and small boutiques for about six years. I have been selling my one-of-a-kind handbags on Etsy and doing craft shows for about two years.

I specialize in handcrafted handbags made from new, vintage and recycled materials. I really adore the new vintage inspired and retro modern fabrics in cotton, as well. I love haunting thrift stores. I have been going thrifting since I was a child. I had the coolest aunt that collected vintage lingerie, clothing and handbags

My adoration for handbags began with my grandmothers Julia Belle, Elizabeth and my mother Michelle from a very young age. It is in my blood. The beauty, craftsmanship and design of vintage handbags are amazing. And there began the collection and intrigue. I have many bags that were my Grandmothers that she carried to parties, the Kentucky Derby and such. I love that history. I really enjoy reading about the history of handbags. “The bag is one of the most universal and oldest objects invented by man. What began as a prosaic item of everyday use is now a luxury good that can confer status in an instant. Whether it’s a bag for kings or vagabonds, shamans or celebrities, nomads or professionals, griots or fashionable women, for workaday use or formal events, people around the world use them to carry their most important belongings: from seeds for the humble farmer, to money for the self-made mogul to personal items such as lipstick and a compact.” –excerpt from an amazing book, Carried Away by Hélène David-Weill and Jean-Louis Dumas, Vendome Press and Hermès. You can learn so much about a person by what someone carries in their bag. Whether it is a secret or a necessity, I hope to be a part of that for girls and women for years to come.

Apart from crafting and creating, what do you do?
Making and creating is everything I do. I love it. I am a professionally trained graphic designer and it has grown into art directing, marketing, pr etc. I feel so lucky I get to do what I love ALL the time. I love to paint and draw. I love to cook, bake and find vintage modern furniture for my home. I love being with family and spend most of my social life with family. Since I have lived all over, most of my close girlfriends are spread all over the country, which is great. I can have great places to travel and visit friends. I am engaged to a wonderful guy who is just as creative as I am, which makes for an awesome relationship.

What inspired you to open an Etsy shop?

I was inspired to open an Etsy shop because it is so community based and has given me an opportunity to be so involved with the handmade community. It gives you advice, and exposure that an individual website just does not give. The employees are always helpful, as well.

What is your favorite creation in your shop?
My favorite is my Mod Squad handbag. I just love the fabric by a great designer, Melissa Averinos, and the big button.

Where else can we find you?
I just started a blog and it is a lot fun to just put your thoughts, ideas and opinions out in the world. I use facebook, I do a little bit of promoting for my shop, but I mostly use that for personal. I also belong to the Bluegrass Etsy Street Team (lots of great Kentucky artists) and the Carried Away: Etsy Bag Makers Team.

Handmade Moonshine Blog

What is your favorite Etsy shop?
Cruel, very cruel question. There are so many! One of my favorites is rikrak. I love her colors and fabrics. I also love all the vintage shops as well.

List your favorite book, movie, song & website.
Another cruel question.

Book: Wacky Chicks by Simon Doonan, The Lover - Marguerite Duras, Any Ayn Rand and Anais Nin

Movies: Groundhog Day, The Lover, Momento, Napoleon Dynamite

Song: Absolutely cannot answer. So many and so little time.

Website: Etsy

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Doing lots more of the same. I would love to be making bags full time, painting more and have a much larger studio.

What is your favorite birdie (as in species of bird)?
The Cardinal. I love the color red and it is the Kentucky state bird.



Nannieflash said...

Hi Vanessa, I love the bags theyve been beautifully created. With love and hugs Shirleyxxxxxx

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