Here on the Meet the Maker series we hope to introduce you to the local artist’s and creators of the York Region. For episode 3, I want to invite you to meet Nadia Irish of Luuee.
As a bag lover myself, I first saw your bags when I was looking through the Etsy Awards Finalists and was drawn to your simple style with beautiful prints, especially those with a pop of colour! What got you started making bags, purses and baby gifts?
I think it all started with a curiosity about the mechanics of it, as well as a love for all different kinds of fabrics. I liked to look at something, and plan out how I could re-create it by figuring out what pieces I needed to cut, and how I would go about assembling it. Needless to say, there was a lot of trial and error going on in the early stages. Soon after, I started making gifts for people, and over the past decade my fabric collection has increased exponentially! With a continued love for the hobby, I decided to start my own business this year.
What do you look for in your fabric designs? Do you have a favourite designer?
For cotton prints, I love smart but simply designed patterns, things that are subtle. For suiting fabric I love herringbone, plaids, and houndstooth patterns. I try to pick designs that are universal enough to go in any product. I love Amy Butler and Michael Miller fabrics, they were my go-to designers when I first started out, and they still make wonderful things!
What have you learned about yourself? How does your store fit into your life?
So far my experience with Etsy has been extremely positive. Etsy really lets you set your own pace, and focus on the things you need to week by week. There is a wealth of resources and the community is great. What I’ve learned is that I am still finding my voice and style for Luuee. For instance, I have removed the baby gifts and will now focus on the bags instead. I love the baby gifts, they just weren’t cohesive with the rest of the product line up. I’m also realizing that it is important to have a vision and a mission for the company, something I can use to reflect on when making decisions. For me, starting this company was about doing something I could call my own, something I could be proud of and that wholly reflected my ideas. So I try to take that to heart every day.My store is my life right now! I am constantly working on orders, thinking of the direction, and trying to establish myself. It’s a great rush.
How long have you been doing this for and where do you see Luuee in the next 5 years?
My shop opened March 2016, so it’s been a little over 3 months since I’ve started. In 5 years I hope Luuee becomes stable and finds its voice. I would still like to keep the company small but established, and hope I become a regular at a few shows.
Would you ever expand to include different items in your shop?
Yes for sure! I’m always trying to think of new ideas and items. I think next on my list will be small fabric baskets. I’m trying my hand at screen printing right now as well, so once I iron out the kinks and design something I like I will most likely post that on the store.
What Etsy feature do you like the best as a seller?
I love the teams feature on Etsy. I’m still learning to come out of my shell and be more social, and I love that there is a community feel to the site and that people are around to help each other out, especially those in my own neighbourhood.
If you had an unlimited budget for Etsy shops, which 3 stores would you splurge at?
This one is really hard! I don’t have any favourite stores, but I do have favourite things. Most likely I would splurge on fabric, jewelry, and sweatshirts!