Christine Skaley Reid from PillowThrowDecor - In The Spotlight

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Christine Skaley Reid from PillowThrowDecorNever letting a single piece of fabric go to waste, Christine Skaley Reid from PillowThrowDecor creates one-of-a-kind decorative pillows from her favorite art medium - designer fabrics. Working from her studio and with the help of the "pillow fairies", she incorporates unique design details into each pillow.

You may also know Christine from her popular Sellers Bootcamp which is a very informative marketing program offered to iCraft sellers. In each 28 day bootcamp, she shares many of her low and no-cost marketing and advertising ideas.

Christine gave us a few minutes and shared some of her thoughts about her very successful Esty and iCraft stores, her 26+ years of marketing experience and a few photos from her fall lineup – Black is back... Pillows for Men.

Please give us a brief bio - introduce yourself.

For 26 years I lived a career of real estate sales, appraisal, leadership and teaching, all of it very left brain, logical sequential and analytical. My days were about managing people, money and endless details often at warp speed. 26 years in real estate is like 38 years in a real job. I loved every minute of it but the day came when I asked "what's next" and was ready to retire. It was like screeching tires coming to a halt when I made the shift from cerebral right brain to creative left brain. My briefcase was traded in for a "toy bag" in which I carry magazines, sketchpad, watercolors or hand sewing.

How did you find your business niche?

I own a custom studio, Just For Looks Custom Drapery where I design and fabricate window coverings, bedding and other soft home furnishings but my greatest passion are pillows. Drapery or upholstery projects involve 12, 24 or even 50 yards of one fabric at a time so I just can't resist playing with remnants just for a brain break. Besides being an excuse to buy more fabrics, PillowThrowDecor evolved from the sheer enjoyment of creating. Designers and buyers looking for custom / handmade throw pillows out of designer fabrics at affordable prices are thrilled when they find my store. With well over 1000 yards in inventory I can make almost anything.

Pocket Pillow for Men.

On your website, you have a weekly pillow giveaway. You not only use it as a way to get potential customers to subscribe to your RSS feed but also for collecting customer's  preferences. Can you share a little about this with our readers?

As with any new website you have to find your "writer's voice" and build your readership. Doing weekly pillow giveaways encourages people to visit who become faithful followers and shoppers, plus are an invaluable source of information for product research, blog content and surveys. I can spend money on advertising and research agencies but right now I'd rather invest in my own services and reward my readers with pillow gifts. Generally, anyone that has received a PillowThrowDecor pillow becomes a raving fan and that sort of word-of-mouth promotion is hard to buy anywhere!

You have sold over 100 items on Etsy and you are an iCraft Top 20 Seller. Can you give our readers who are just getting started any suggestions?

I think I have done everything the hard way so I know a lot of what doesn't work. :)

Firstly, think realistically about who your customer is.  Next, determine where you might find that customer or who can lead you to them. Plan on how you are going to get their attention. Do something! Anything!! But DON'T do everything all at once. Pick 3 or 4 marketing activities that you enjoy and find manageable. Do them CONSISTANTLY.

Personally, my marketing activities are centered around engaging with people through Twitter, blogs and blogging. There is a direct positive correlation between blogging on and sales. If I blog frequently and regularly I get sales... if I goof off, sales stop instantly!

Where do you get your inspiration? TV, magazine, books? Or maybe the fabric?

There are stacks of interior design books and magazines on every table in my house, but for me it all happens when I go into my suppliers' showrooms. I just want to throw myself on a heap of fabric, roll around in it, smell it, listen to it and then carry it all out the front door. Fabric calls my name and I answer. Last trip to the suppliers fabric called my name 149 times (yards).

Black and silver pillows with abstract circles by Christine Skaley Reid from PillowThrowDecor

What makes your work unique?

95% of the fabrics I use are from "for the trade" showrooms. Because of the higher cost and limited availability of the fabrics there are almost no workrooms that are willing to make these pillows for these prices. I do it for the love of it and because I am able to make careful discounted fabric purchases. Some of my designs are wildly unique such as my Geek pillows and my Luxe and Found Collection where I incorporate upcycled items like wires, belts and other found bits. Nobody's brain works like mine does, so until someone copies my work, my specialty pillows are truly one of a kind.


 What are the steps to your creative process?

LOL... late nights, too much coffee and committee meetings with the pillow fairies.

I can imagine that you have a lot of fabric and trims. How do you  keep all your design elements organized?

Every square inch of my sewing rooms are planned for high utility and easy accessibility. I have floor to ceiling, wall to wall shelving and a lot of my equipment is on wheels. I have 13 sewing machines and all the tools, accessories and notions I might use for that machine are right within arms' reach. I have a cutting room where all the pillow panels and lining panels are cut, pinned together and stacked. Pillow covers are stacked on shelves according to their color until sold. Storing rolls of fabric is getting trickier because the storage room, every closet and underneath all the beds are full. From time to time I have to get really creative on fabric "Stashing".

Where are you going next. DIY Kits? Going green?

I've designed several DIY pillow kits but am struggling with the instructions.  I wanted to produce YouTube videos to compliment each style but I just haven't had the time yet.  As soon as I have my fall line out, the pillow kits will launch as a simple product so the video won't be an issue. I will be introducing more organic fabrics next year. All that I do, I try and do with eco attitude. Nothing gets thrown away! I donate a lot of fabrics and remnants to quilting groups, community services and special sewing classes for young girls and women restarting.

Man Pillow in Black and Silver 12 x 20 by Christine Skaley Reid from PillowThrowDecor

What has been your favorite work so far and why?

Whatever I am working on is my latest favorite. I'm really easy to amuse... but having said that I have a stack of unfinished pillows that will probably never get completed. I will say however, that my Luxe and Found Collection is considered my "playtime".

Would you like to share any techniques or tips with our readers?

Be passionate about what you create! You need to have a real fire in your belly to weather the competitiveness of online selling.


Thank you for sharing some of your time with us.

  • Category:
  • In the Spotlight
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  • In The Spotlight
  • Christine Skaley Reid
  • PillowThrowDecor
  • decorative pillows
  • fabric
  • pillow
  • Black & White
  • Pillows for men
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Sep 21, 2010 | Posted by:

LOL... that's funny Keith! Actually I think there are band / concert pillows already. Good on you with your make shift pillow, I'm sure it brings the spirit to the room. I like "man caves". Too funny :)

Sep 21, 2010 | Keith Admin

Hi Christine - I'm not sure if I'm a pillow guy but your work really has some wow factor to it. I mentioned on my first newbie post comment trail how I went to a Roger Waters concert recently. Anyway, I've taken to putting some concert Ts as pillow cases. Right now it's a "Pink Floyd The Wall" motif. Of course, I'm too lazy to actually make a formal pillow - I just put the T around the thing and leave it at that but it is a bit frustrating what with the sleeves hanging out. I guess I mention it since it's my only true experience with pillow making ... or pseudo pillow making ... or, let's face it, not pillow making at all!. I checked out the trend report you linked here and, man, I'm impressed with that kind of research. When I ask what iCraft artists can do for iCraft this is the kind of thing that makes a community grow. I might be tempted to make concert T pillows now that I think about it. I suppose you could do the same with sports teams etc. They would look great in our man caves!

Sep 17, 2010 | Craft Boutique

Read your blog, Christine. It's hilarious! Men and Pillows - obviously a complicated relationship...
I like "They bread like rabbits" Ha ha or "If I was forced to buy a pillow today, I would obviously be under duress and not in control". Poor guy. :)

Sep 16, 2010 | Posted by:

Interestingly, a man ordered 2 houndstooth pillows here which inspired me to survey a group of men about their pillow preferences. Very interesting!
I blogged about it on my site in a fairly comprehensive trend report. Read about it here (part 3)

In the process of my questions i got some of the funniest responses... hysterical in fact. I wrote about it here in this blog post (part 2)

It actually started here in this post with 4 basic questions (part 1)

It was actually a lot of fun with lots of laughs.

I need to rewrite them and post them here in our blog.

Hey thanks for the comments!

Sep 15, 2010 | Craft Boutique

I know men are not particularly crazy about pillows. Some go through the house not even noticing them. :) Did you have much success selling your "Pillows for men"? I suppose your real buyers are women, who are much easier to convince to buy pillows. We love them! We can't have enough of them! :) But what men think of them? Wonder if you had any feedback from men. Great article, by the way!

Sep 12, 2010 | Posted by:

Thanks ever so much for the interview opportunity. Fun and really thought provoking questions! Cheers Christine

Sep 12, 2010 | Fairy Cardmaker

Thanks for an interesting interview. Love those black pillows!