iCraft Spotlight: Maria Kirk Discusses Her Designing Destiny
Maria Kirk starting sewing clothes as a precocious five year old and has never stopped. After learning to sew from her grandmother, a seamstress who sewed doll and toy clothes for Mattel, Maria built on this passed down talent by continuing in a similar vein and began to hand-sew clothes for her Barbie dolls. Now, as an adult, Maria has fine-tuned this ability to create clothing, albeit in a slightly larger size! Outgrowing Barbie designs, Maria has focused on developing her own business, RetroRugrats, a line of vintage-inspired children's wear and accessories.
When asked what drew her to designing, Maria says that she, "loves the freedom to choose from a range of possibilities without limitations…the ability to create any clothing ensemble in the size, color, fabric and style I desire; it's a wonderful feeling". After her grandmother passed away, Maria inherited her grandmother's first sewing machine, a Singer featherweight, along with a trunk of vintage fabrics, helping to solidify Maria's path as a designer. "These beautiful treasures will always hold a special place in my heart".
The sustained passion for creating shows. RetroRugrats is a line of carefully crafted and professionally presented clothing and accessories. Featuring everything from cute decorated towels to personalized crayon rolls to a darling kimono-style jacket, Maria's inventive and practical creations reflect her love of fashion and family.
Family life keeps this businesswoman busy but she likes it that way. "A family puts life into perspective," she says. "Having children and a spouse teaches you to be patient, kind, loving and giving. You can no longer think of just yourself and often must put the needs of your family ahead of your own". In fact, it was having children that lead to RetroRugrats, as she moved from home décor to making clothes for her family.
As a busy mom of three young children, Maria often has to schedule time to work on her clothing line. "I find planning ahead is the only way to achieve results. I usually follow a weekly plan that lists to-do tasks, otherwise I become side-tracked quite easily!" With a hectic schedule, Maria also admits that the business side of RetroRugrats tends to get the last priority spot, often waiting until the last minute to catch up on phone calls and paperwork, although it doesn't show.
Maria's refreshing and easygoing attitude has served her well and she doesn't harbour any secrets or complex tricks to her burgeoning success. "I find my business grows steadily with simple word of mouth. I give my clients the best product and service I can, in hopes that they will recommend me to their friends and family. I found much success through this simple, but tried and true strategy".
Think Fast! with Maria Kirk
LP: Favourite material to work with?
MK: Calico prints
LP: Favourite website?
LP: Cats or dogs?
MK: Dogs! 1 Black Lab/Pitbull mix
LP: Spicy or mild?
LP: Aren't carbs great?
LP: Favourite colour combinations?
MK: Pink and Black
LP: Crocheting or knitting?
LP: Who watches (your least favourite TV show) …
MK: Reality TV!!
MK: Early to bed, early to rise…
LP: What makes you happiest?
MK: A happy home.
To visit Maria's iCraftGifts.com Exhibit, click here!
Footnotes: All photos for this article were provided by Maria Kirk © 2008.