We asked our creator, L.A. Caldwell where she gets her inspiration, and what it is that keeps her going during the creative process.
Being an independent maker is no easy thing. There is constant rejection. A lot of contacting boutiques and receiving no answer. Or, getting up the nerve to actually walk in, samples in hand, to be promptly dismissed out of hand. There are long periods of general "no interest" in what you're creating. Financially, it's feast or famine. There's a lot of participating in maker shows with expensive entry fees and travel and set-up costs, and often leaving them barely breaking even (if you're lucky). So, why do makers continue to make? Well, I can't answer for everyone, but here's my list:
1) Purpose. I've done a lot of different things in my life--I've traveled the world. I've taught English in 4 different countries. I've worked as a professional florist. I've been a retail salesperson. I've been a restaurant server. I've been a personal stylist. I've been an administrative assistant at a small New England College. I did all those things in an effort to figure out what not only what I wanted to do, but what I was meant to do. When I finished making my first collection for Minnie + George, my search was over.
2) Mission- I walked into a boutique near my house that I love to browse around. I picked up a pretty basic leather tote bag. It was $600. Now, I'm not going to speculate as to whether the tote was worth the price, that's not for me to say. But, I knew that I wanted to create things that were financially accessible to most people. We all talk about the importance of shopping small, of not feeding the corporate retail beasts who help to create the working poor in our society, but the truth is, most of us are priced out of the ability to do so. I want to create hand-crafted goods that the average person can afford and be proud of using in their daily lives. The ability to make healthier, ethical consumer choices should not be the exclusive domain of the wealthy.
3) Love- I make because I love making. I love how much I learn during every step of the making process, from concept, design, pattern, sample to finished product. I love connecting my hands to something. I love the amount of time it takes to make something well. I love the amount of me that goes into every single step of making. I love the amount of love and support I receive from those who love me. I love the sense of pride in my own work I feel when I make something. To paraphrase a Tribe Called Quest, "I do it for the love, y'all. I do it all for the love."
I'm a maker. I love it. And, no matter what, I'll keep making.