Interview with Escapada Living Founder

I’m so excited to share today’s interview with you! I was able to interview Natalia Castillo, the owner and founder of Escapada Living, a resort wear clothing line!

I’m always fascinated when people have an idea for a business, and they make it happen! For Natalia, she not only made her dream of a clothing line possible, but she also helped communities along the way! Keep reading to learn more about Natalia’s advice for starting a business and what her creative process looks like!

Founder of Escapada Living, Natalia Castillo

Founder of Escapada Living, Natalia Castillo

Natalia Headshot_2copy.jpg
Natalia Castillo of Escapada Living
  1. I first spotted the Escapada clothing line about a year and a half ago, and I was immediately drawn to the colors and patterns. How would you describe the brand in three words?
    Happy. Colorful. Relaxed.


  2. Can you recall what was the inspiration that lead you to create a cheerfully, bold resort wear brand?

    I was traveling in the South of France (French Riviera) and I realized that there was a void in the market for happy, fun, well-priced resortwear. 


  3. I love that you decided to start a clothing line and made it happen! What were the initial challenges of the business?

    Definitely working out of my house for the first 2 ½ years! There was no separation of work and home, which made it very hard.


  4. If you could go back and give yourself one bit of advice about running a business, what would that be?

    I would find a partner to help me run the business! It’s a lot of work and responsibility for one person to be in charge of everything.


  5. What does the design process look like when you are creating new collections for Escapada?

    We start the process with inspirational product boards, discussing themes and color palettes for the next season. We then move on to creating prints that work within our chosen theme and end with choosing new bodies. These steps overlap over a period of many weeks/months. We are constantly tweaking things until we receive the final samples.


  6. A big aspect of Escapada Living is the philanthropic side! I was amazed to read all of the ways that the brand is helping communities. Can you share how the Escapada Living Children’s Fund was established?

    The Escapada Living Children’s Fund was established 4 years ago to help support the local community in Solo, Indonesia (where our factory is located). Our production manager oversees the fund and is very involved in the children’s daily lives. The Solo community has given so much to us, it’s nice to be able to give back.


  7. Where do you see Escapada Living going in the next 5 years?
    I see Escapada Living expanding into more of a ‘brand with a purpose.’ 


  8. Current favorite item in your shop?

    Our stretch knit Fonda Tunic Dress! It has a classic fit and super easy to throw on. Did I mention comfortable?


  9. As a fellow Charleston resident, what is your favorite go-to restaurant in town?

    My new favorite restaurant is Melfi’s, but my go-to restaurant is definitely The Obstinate Daughter.

Fonda Tunic Dress  by Escapada Living

Fonda Tunic Dress by Escapada Living

Thank you, Natalia, for your time!

I love hearing the stories behind a brand! Be sure to check out our interview on the
Escapada blog, The Escapist.

-Emily Kirby

Follow Friday: Hemming Birds Boutique

This week I was able to grab coffee with one of the founders of Hemming Birds Boutique.  I love when I get to meet other small business owners in town and we can just chat about the triumphs and trials of our businesses! Her one-year-old daughter, Ellie, came to coffee with us wearing her adorable made-by-mom Hemming Birds' bib. The sweet lady serving our coffee immediately commented on what an adorable and well-made baby bib Ellie was wearing. <<-- And that my friends is the truth! You have to check out these precious baby accessories! Keep reading to find out why the owners of Hemming Birds are so passionate about what they do! Happy #FollowFriday!

Hemming Birds

Owners: Yana & Jennifer Wieckowski
Products: Handcrafted Baby Essentials

TDC: In 2014, you two decided to leave your current jobs and start Hemming Birds Boutique. What lead to the decision to go into business together?
HBB: For me (Yana) the desire to leave my current job mostly involved having more quality time to spend with my family.  The decision to not pursue a “real” part-time job was to focus on Hemming Birds as much as possible.  Once we got the ball rolling, Jennifer left her full-time job for similar reasons – to spend more time with her family and also support the growing demands of HB.

TDC: I’m sure the jump into entrepreneurship was exhilarating and scary all at the same time. What has been the most exciting part of the process for you?
HBB: It was, indeed; and continues to be! The most exciting part is watching all of our hard work (blood, sweat, and tears. . .lol) pay off.  We aren’t in this to make a ton of money, we truly love building our business and designing products that new parents adore and love to use.

TDC: Your bibs and burp cloths are absolutely adorable! What would you say is unique about Hemming Birds Boutique products?
HBB: The quality of our products. We are both very particular about quality; both in the materials we use and in the craftsmanship of their construction.  Every detail of our designs are thought-out and meticulously tested.  We’ve been known to count stitches and bust out the ruler to measure distance of top-stitching to the edge of the product.  Some would call us perfectionists ☺  We are also very proud that everything is made locally.  Not only in the USA, but currently all in the Lowcountry.  

TDC: The shop carries two bib styles --The Ollie and the Charlie. What was the inspiration for the names and the styles?
HBB: You know, that is an interesting question.  We started with the Charlie bib, and after that decided to give all of our products human names.  Charlie and Ollie work for bibs, because they can be for either a girl or boy.  Previously, we also had the June and Jane little girl bags, which were named after our daughters (Elizabeth June and Hannah Jane).  

TDC: Customers can purchase your products online. Can they also purchase in any stores?
HBB: Yes they can!  Our bibs and burp cloths are carried in a few baby boutiques and gifts stores across the country.  You can find a list of them here.

TDC: Do you two have a current favorite fabric in the shop right now?
HBB: Ooh, that is a tough one.  I think we’ve both always been partial to the mermaids print. However, in the next few days we are launching a chicken bib, which we are both in love with.  It’s pretty darn cute!

TDC: Any hints on what is in store for Hemming Birds? Any new products or fabrics you can share with us?
HBB:  We have been slowly launching our “Essential Burp Cloth” over the last year.  Currently they are available in retail stores or in our shop as part of gift set, however soon they’ll be available in our shop as single items.  We have tentative plans to launch a completely new item, possibly as a small batch release for the holidays.  These days, though, we are so busy with our bibs that we don’t have too much time for designing new products.  

TDC: All Hemming Birds Boutique items are designed and handcrafted in Charleston, SC. What are some of your favorite family activities in Charleston?
HBB:  We both love taking our families to the beach.  Jennifer lives in Mt. Pleasant, so her family frequents Sullivan’s Island, while we generally head to Folly.  We have a pretty good collection of shark’s teeth that we love to add to.  We also love all of the local events, like the farmer’s markets and Second Sunday on King Street.  

TDC: Always have to ask...favorite Charleston restaurant right now?
HBB:  Another great question.  I think Jennifer is pretty particular to Vickery’s and Red Drum.  I’d say my current favorite is Edmund’s Oast.  Though, we ventured out of our studio to Home Team BBQ downtown a few days ago and both agreed that it was pretty epic.

Be sure to follow Hemming Birds on Instagram to stay up to date with their latest bib colors and patterns! Have a great weekend!

Best,
Emily Kirby

 

Add A Little Craftsmanship: Salt & Light Designs

I love seeing people doing what they love and using their creativity to make a living. We are so excited for the chance to showcase Salt and Light Designs and their beautiful wood signs on our blog! It was a joy to interview my dear friend and owner, Kait Waggoner. Check our her answers below!

Store Name:  Salt and Light Designs

Owner:  Kait Waggoner

Product:  Hand Crafted Pallet Art

TDC: How did you get started making wood signs?

Kait: We got married in May 2012 and had a DIY rustic wedding. We had tons of extra handmade decor after the wedding so we had the idea to open an etsy shop to sell the excess. It started out with simple wood slice chalkboards and only one wooden sign. Things started to sell, and we were both jobless at the time, so we figured- what the heck, let's get creative. We started by pulling apart pallets and redesigning them. Once we realized what a pain it was, and that pallets contain mold and harsh chemicals that you don't want hanging around your home, we decided to go a different route. We explored options and our first two signs were born, "home is wherever I'm with you" and "all you need is love". They started selling and as sales kept increasing, we realized this turned into our little business. Never in a million years did we think we would be doing this, but we love it and we are so humbled by all of the awesome customers. 

TDC: What does the process of creating signs look like?

Kait: First, Chris collects the wood and measures, cuts, and cleans it up. Anything with serious imperfections or big cracks will get scrapped. After this, we put the wood through a natural staining and aging process to give it the rustic feel. I put everything together and bring it up to the office for painting!

TDC: Which sign in your store is your personal favorite?

Kait: I really love the colorful "let your light shine" sign. It still has that wooden/rustic/vintage feel but incorporates fun color at the same time.

TDC: What is your favorite part of the job?

Kait: I love my job. God is really so wonderful to give me the opportunity to do what I love, which is work with my hands and be creative. Honestly, my FAVORITE part of the job would have to be the fact that I get to meet all of these people from all over the world. Without etsy, I would never come in contact with any of these awesome people. Etsy is pretty amazing.

TDC: We know you recently had a baby, so the shop just re-opened. (Congrats on baby Noah; he is beautiful!) Are there some new products we can be on the look out for?

Kait: Thank you! Yes! I really am excited about re-opening. There are lots of new signs, and I'm super excited. I've been using some new materials, which has been fun. It's really great to have this time to create some new things since I've been making a lot of the same things over the past year. Hopefully the new items are as loved as the other signs. :)

TDC: What is your favorite Etsy shop to visit? 

Kait: I love Katie Daisy's work at The Wheatfield. I have some of her art in my office and if I had more wall space I would have more!

TDC: You make all of your products in Charleston, SC. What is your favorite activity to do there?

Kait: Charleston is awesome. As a northern transplant, I really love it down here. The weather is beautiful so I pretty much enjoy anything outdoors. The beach, parks, scenic walks, all of that is fun. :)

Kait, thank you so much for your time! We love your shop and your beautiful craftsmanship!

Visit the store here and like  SaltAndLightDesigns on Facebook to check out more images of their products and updates on the store! 

All photos courtesy of Salt And Light Designs.