I’m Jayme Lillie – mother, maker, designer and dreamer. I live in the heart of Seattle’s little sister, Tacoma, Washington. I’ve been passionately stitching since before I knew my ABCs. What began as a hobby designing pieces for my own children became my label, Lillipops Designs.
I’m a designer because I don’t know how to not be designer. I’ve always been entranced by textiles, and have collected bits of fabric and trims since I was a child. There is something magical about taking something really unassuming, like a length of grey cloth, and transforming into something special. It’s incredibly moving for me to know that children are living life and creating memories while wearing something that came from my hands and my heart.
When I started Lillipops, I wanted the opportunity to create pieces that were functional, of heirloom quality, and had elements of vintage design. I want to dress children in clothing that is timeless and classic, on trend, but not disposable. Many of my pieces are limited edition, and are made with authentic vintage textiles. I strive to give my customers the opportunity to customize my pieces for their own needs, and I offer multiple color and fabric options. Because each piece is made by hand, by me, I can offer the customer a one-of-a-kind experience and garment.
My creative process almost always starts with a random flash of inspiration. It might be a bit of song lyric, the way the Pacific Northwest light hits the water, a scene from a favorite old movie or just watching my children play. I have dozens of notebooks (and hundreds of sticky notes) around my home where I can quickly jot an idea to come back to later. Eventually, there is a design idea that just won’t let me sleep until it becomes a reality. Very late nights at the sewing machine, fueled by copious amounts of coffee, result in pieces I get to share with the rest of the world.
Like many creative people, my favorite work changes as I grow as a designer. I’ve been really inspired by early 20th century menswear, and an idea sparked me to do a few girls’ dresses that feature details present in classic men’s suiting. When I mixed those details with classic party dress style, it was like alchemy. Those kinds of unexpected details are becoming a signature for my line. Recently, I designed my first women’s wear collection, Bittersweet, which also features the juxtaposition of feminine style with timeless masculine details.
When I first contemplated selling my wares, I really wasn’t sure how the industry worked. Etsy offered the perfect platform to not only get my work to the public, but challenged me to rise within the design community. The opportunities that have come my way via Etsy still astound me. I love how it’s so community-oriented – I’ve made such wonderful connections with other designers, and customers that have become true friends.
For something that began on a whim, owning a creative business has certainly changed me and my life for the better. It offers the opportunity to follow my consuming creative passion, to be present at home for my children, and forces me to use my limited time in the most productive ways. I tend to work in a bit of chaos (where inspiration loves to live), but being a business owner challenges me to be more organized and regimented. I’m also learning to treat myself more gently, modeling a creative life for my children: it doesn’t have to be perfect on the first try — just enjoy the process.
Purple bird dress, angel wing cape, and tuxedo dress photographed by Shannon Sewell Photography, Instant camera dress photographed by Pascale Wowak Photography, Newsboy-style dress shot by Rebecca Deaton Photography, Bird branch wrap photographed by Zozobugbaby, Banner skirt photographed by YLK Photography, Tape dress shot by Erica Freeman Photography, studio photos by Lillipopsdesigns.