Curry Bungalow features handcrafted sewing accessories along with Teri's own original designs for tutorial style sewing patterns.
How did you come up with a name for your store?
I knew that I wanted a shop name that was non-specific and was easy to remember. After mulling over about a million names, maybe more… I went with the name of the place where I make it all happen. We live on Curry Road in a 90 year old bungalow style home, hence, Curry Bungalow was born.
How did you start selling on Etsy?
I initially began selling in 2012 in order to save money to buy a vintage trailer. That dream soon fell by the wayside when I realized that I had enough money saved from my sales to purchase one, but liked the feeling of having a big bank account even more.
I started out selling a few vintage items here and there. In 2013, just for fun, I began listing my handcrafted thread catchers, a combination pincushion and scrap bag favored by sewers, quilters and those who do needle work. I knew that I had something special going on when I would list a newly made thread catcher and it would sell within minutes of posting. I continued posting my finished items and soon realized that there was a market for my original designs in pattern form. I have since produced three thread catcher patterns in digital and print format. They, along with my finished thread catchers and pincushions, have been very well received, with nearly 6000 sales worldwide to date. I also offer supply kits for each different pattern design. Vintage sewing patterns round out my inventory. I am pleased and humbled that others love my products as much as I love to make them. Oh, and my Etsy shop gives me a totally LEGIT reason to purchase all of the fabrics that I love.
When did you turn your craft into a business?
Just because I was selling things didn’t mean that I had a business, or so I thought. I was just having fun. I knew that I had an honest to goodness business when I started thinking more like a business woman. I found that offering thread catcher supply kits complimented my pattern sales. It also I realized that I still needed to offer finished items because some people would look at my patterns and say, “I’ll never get that made”. They are perfectly happy to purchase one already completed. Each item compliments the other. I also began selling the crushed walnut shells that I use to fill my pincushions. I purchase them 120 lbs. at a time and can offer them to my buyers at a very reasonable price.
I personally select all of my fabrics, cut, sew and package all of my items. My husband, who calls himself Curry Bungalow’s “Executive Vice President in charge of Absolutely Nothing”, makes sure that my packages are taken out for mail pick up. He is my biggest cheerleader.
Do you talk to your customers? Do you run your website or blog, social media?
I especially enjoy communicating with others who sew and quilt. Thanks to Google Translate, I am able to “converse” with buyers from all over the world.
My primary selling platform is Etsy but I also sell my patterns on Craftsy and finished pincushions on Handmade at Amazon. I post my items on the Curry Bungalow Facebook page as well as Instagram. I also “pin” my items on Pinterest which has been an amazing source of Etsy traffic for Curry Bungalow. I blog at “T. in the Burg”, where my content is a little less salesy. I post about sewing, quilting, add the occasional recipe, and add photos from my garden and koi pond. My by-line for my blog sums it all up in a few words. “I make things, I grow stuff. I do as I please.” Those are words to live by, in my opinion.
What’s your most favorite product?
That question is rather like asking a mother which of her children she favors most. I love all of my designs. Each time I publish a pattern it feels as if I am gently pushing my baby bird from the nest and hoping that it flies. My most recently completed item is usually my favorite for the moment and I sometimes contemplate keeping new thread catchers for myself. But really, I need another thread catcher like I need a hole in the head.
What are your future goals?
I have two new sewing accessory patterns currently in the works with more planned for the future. Pattern writing is an all-consuming process for me. Writing text that is understandable for sewers of all skill levels is particularly challenging. My pattern testers are invaluable in my producing the best product possible. I would love to design a quilt pattern and maybe design a handbag or tote. I am also considering my own stand-alone sales website.
What’s your process from an idea to a finished product?
Three words,.. prototypes, prototypes and prototypes. And for the record, the initial idea is not always what I end up with as a final product.
Where and when do you find yourself most creatively inspired?
I sew in a closet, which my husband refers to as “Curry Bungalow World Headquarters”. It is a teeny space in our tiny guest room. But it is cram packed with some of my favorite things. I have filled it with vintage toy sewing machines, vintage sewing patterns, Chinese sewing baskets, my beautiful Bernina and of course, lots and lots of fabrics. All I have to do is sit down at my machine in my happy little space and the ideas begin to materialize. I also seem to do some of my best creative thinking in bed at around 3:00 a.m. Some of those ideas even survive to see the light of day.
Please add any other thoughts you have
Sewing has been a lifelong love of mine, beginning at the age of three or four when my mother would hand me a scrap of fabric and a threaded needle. She showed me how to do a running stitch and I was on my way. She allowed me how to use her old Singer sewing machine when I was six or seven. I promptly put the needle right through my index fingernail. I was horrified, but she was cool as a cucumber, explaining that everybody sews through their finger at least once. She backed the needle out of my finger, cleaned it up, slapped on a Band-Aid and sat me back down at the sewing machine. I’ve been at it ever since. My mother never really taught me to sew, but she led by example. By the time I was about 12 years old I was making much of my own clothing. She passed 20 years ago and I like to think that she would be so very proud of me and my bungalow business. I think of her often as I sit at my sewing machine.
I sometimes worry that the art of sewing is falling into decline and that young women are not sewing as they were days past. I am heartened that a number of young women purchase my patterns and seem to enjoy sewing as much as I do. The beat, or should I say the stitch goes on, or at least I hope that it does.