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Featured Shop: Grace Design

Nov 13, 2013

by Alison Gledhill

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

My name is Alison and I am the designer and owner of a small fashion accessories brand called Grace. I operate my business from my home in Toronto, Canada.

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I learned to sew in a ninth grade home economics class. I started making accessories fifteen years ago, after returning from an exhilarating journey through India. While I was there, I accumulated a backpack full of sari silk, and I liked the idea of telling my story through the fabric. Shortly after, I went on a few more trips and started to accumulate more textiles from all over the globe.

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The fabrics I use are sourced from contacts and shops I discovered on my travels. These fabrics guide my process, and I am often surprised by what’s out there. Nothing excites me more than uncovering some amazing piece that is completely new and fresh, and imagining how I can use or transform it. I also find colors very inspiring , especially when I see an unusual pairing that I had never envisioned before.

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I really love scouting for found objects and seeing possibility in places others might not. People are often astonished to learn that the majority of the fabrics I use originate from Japan, and some are more than a hundred years old. I choose to keep my designs simple and let the fabrics shine. They’re just so unique; I think that is what people really gravitate towards.

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When I started selling my pieces, the Internet did not exist as we know it now. I literally went door to door giving samples and brochures to stores to get my work out there. Etsy was a complete game-changer: I wasn’t limited to two or three craft sales a year and local shops. Instead, I was shipping items all over the world and people were actually finding me, not the other way around.

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I cherish the fact that my work holds immense meaning for me. Every aspect is a reflection of who I am, my journey, my values and my passions. I enjoy this process very much – seeing and shaping my business as a whole. Though at times overwhelming, it is very holistic and satisfying to infuse my personality in every aspect of my work.

All maker and process photos by Grace Design, product photos by Jen Squires.

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