Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi everyone! I’m Dorothy Loh, from the island state of Singapore. After several years of working after graduation, most of it in banking, I decided to take a leap of faith to pursue my personal interest. So 8 months ago, I became a full time fashion design student. In hindsight, I was always into making things; I experimented a lot, but it is fashion design that merged my love of creating things with my love for clothes! My parents were great supporters; Dad in particular. He would buy me art supplies, craft books, and crafty knick knacks when he returned from his travels overseas. I plan to launch an apparel collection in the near future, but for now, I’m into bag making!
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
I can’t remember any one item in particular, but I remember making greeting cards, hand sewing random (and pretty much useless) stuff with bits of fabric supplied by my grandmother. I learned how to knit from my mother. I made many sweaters, but I was never really very good at it, so I stopped. It’s hot in Singapore all year round so sweaters are not really practical! I’ve dabbled with jewellery (beading and silver) making too.
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
Usually from fabric itself – I buy various materials which catch my eye and not necessarily knowing what at the point of purchase what I intend to use them for. I then play around with them; I put them next to one another, mix and match and try to imagine what beautiful item could come out of it. I also love vintage clothes, from the 30s to 60s.
What are your favorite materials?
For bags – well, due to construction constraints, I tend to go for stiff fabrics that would give a good shape and body to a bag. So lots of corduroy, cotton and denim. In my new collection, I have added luxe touches like ribbon and velvet. For clothes – lace – I love lace! And soft, flowy fabrics, like satin and chiffon. I like stuff that’s either very strong and eyecatching, or soft and wispy looking.
Any tips for selling handmade stuff?
Take great photographs of your items. Don’t shortchange your goods (and yourself) by not displaying them in the best possible light; a little effort goes a long way. Take every chance to publicise your products – send mailers to people you know, participate in relevant forums, add your shop contacts to email signatures, etc. And make sure you give your customers well-made goods – handmade should not look homemade.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I spend a large part of each day at school, so I guess I’m pretty much a full time ‘creator’! But when I’m not, I am a huge net addict – and I compulsively check my email multiple times a day. I surf Craftster a lot, and especially like exploring online shops. My other guilty pleasure is lazing at home, eating in and doing marathon DVD sessions on my projector screen.
How can Etsy be improved? Any feature requests?
My experience with Etsy has been great, the team is very responsive and always trying to make things better (as demonstrated by this question!) As a non-US based seller, I would love any feature that supports international transactions, e.g. non-US price field as I do have quite a few local buyers.