Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Artisan: HIPpadBaby

Meet Phoebe of Hip Pads Shop!

HIP Pads are soft, absorbent, double-sided cotton flannel baby changing pads with an innovative, fabric leak-proof inner layer - nothing plastic or crinkly. They're perfect for the changing table (use them right on top of those covers), on beds and couches, for travel and in the diaper bag.

Find out how she started her shop, how her products different than others and how how they are eco-friendly.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?
Besides my favorite roles as mom and wife, I’m foremost an artist, designer and inventor. I’m a bit of a renaissance woman, as I do so many arts and crafts, and like to think I excel at most of them. I’ve worked professionally as a graphic designer for the past 16 years, and love that my work lets me experience the creative process every day. Design is more than a passion for me, it’s more of an innate drive; everything I see, I think of how I could make it, or make it better. I have designs for textiles, furniture, jewelry, art objects, housewares, utility items, you name it!

I learn how to do what I need to produce the designs that I create in my mind, which is how HIP Pads began. I had just a little experience with sewing before my daughter was born. When I needed a handy under-the-butt pad and none of the products out there were right, I started inventing my own, and that was the beginning of it all. Before I knew it, I was making them for friends and baby showers, and everyone who tried them wanted to pass them on to their friends, too.

Which part of creation process that you like to do the most?
All of it!? True, but I think for me it’s working out a problem. Every design is a puzzle, to make something visually pleasing, or perfectly functional, and hopefully both. It’s the part where you sweat just a bit, wondering how you’re going to pull it off, if you have the expertise to create what you envisioned, if you can balance all the aspects of the given equation. For me it’s usually equally challenging, stimulating, frustrating and satisfying.

Could you share on how your organize your products, we all can use a little tips here and there in this department?
Well, here’s where my computer geek takes over. I have lists of the current fabric patterns in play, how much material I have, how many pieces are cut, sewn, and in shops. This keeps me current on how many of each pattern I can list and in combination with what others to make sets. Uncut fabric is stored in zippered cases in my studio. Then there are bins for the cut parts and finished pads. I also have storage areas for shipping materials and tags.

What is your favourite item in your shop?
That’s a little like asking to choose who’s your favorite child! I love my new Peacock Jungle set, with the ocean blue Peacock Island and the brilliant Lizard Jungle. The colors are so vibrant.

What is your best seller?
So far, it’s been the Bugaboo pattern. It seems to be universally loved. I have to say, it’s pretty cute!

How does your day go in general?
Every day is a journey, here! My usual day starts with taking care of my daughter, she is my #1 and favorite job! Once I get her squared away with the morning basics, I usually take new photos if I need to (the morning light is the best), then check email, facebook and etsy pages. Then it’s time to work – ha, ha. Measuring, cutting, sewing and shipping, all with a 3-year-old in tow most of the time. Usually I reserve the night hours for design work, when I have the most quiet and creative juices flowing.

Do you have a favourite Etsy seller?
I love Sacred Waters Soap Co. - her stuff is totally natural and smells soooo good. I also like Shanna Michelle designs, she does beautiful work.

What inspires you?
My husband and daughter inspire me every day. They are both such strong, joyful people! They both inspire me to do the best to create the life I want for us every day.

What is your goal for 2010? And are you on the right track?
Since I’ve just really started my shop, getting HIP Pads rolling is my big goal for the year! I’m looking forward to getting HIP Pads into baby boutiques across the country, getting the word out about how fantastic and useful this product is, and branching out from there. I think I’m on the right track; I’ve steadily been learning the ins and outs of using etsy tools to my advantage, and getting advice and encouragement from those who’ve been doing this a lot longer than me. HIP Pads will be going out to my first store in the coming week.

What is your favourite tool that you cannot live without?
Xacto knife. No question.

How do you promote your shop?
I’ve largely been using online tools so far – facebook (become a fan!, blogs, promotions forum, giveaways. I also locally distribute promotional materials at appropriate places and attend events where I can network with potential clients and partners. And I talk about it, to anyone, all the time, a lot!

Any advice for others runnig their on-line shop?
Don’t be shy and don’t miss an opportunity. You’re in a sea of thousands of talented people, you’ve got to speak up and jump in there to be heard.

Saving money is important, tell us one thing that you do to save money?
A lot of the things I do to save money are also eco-friendly things, I love that those go together. For example, I make my own household cleaners – my favorite is buy a gallon size bottle of Simple Green, pour some in a spray bottle and add some tea tree oil for anti-bacterial action.

Anything else you would like to share?
HIP Pads are very eco-friendly, helping save our most precious resource – water. When the little one makes a mess during changes (and they always do! It seems like they just wait for you to take the dirty one away to let something out!), it’s just one little thing to throw into the wash – no big cover to struggle with and take off while you’re levitating the kid, no full-sized blanket, just a compact, perfect-sized pad that’s easy to remove (without moving the baby!) and washes easily. Plus, I choose mostly darker, colorful patterns specifically for their stain-disguising abilities. No need to add chemical stain removers to the water supply, or spend hours scrubbing stains.

I would also love to share my success. I envision a road down the line for HIP Pads that includes donating to worthy causes, especially helping animals in need, and employing friends.

Any tutorial that you’d like to share, pretty please?
I’d be happy to show you how to make multiple hang tags at once.

EDIT>> The tutorial is posted here.

Stay-tuned for tomorrow's giveaway. But for now, visit HIP pad shop!
Don't forget to tell Phoebe, I'd say hi! :-)


  1. I'd love to see that tutorial, also HIP pads in solid colors to compliment the patterns would be good

  2. I liked learning about her background; graphic design to creating baby pads is a big leap! i like hearing about artist's process and background. scg00387 at yahoo dot com

  3. I love learning about new eco-friendly products! I'm excited to see if new fabrics and patterns will be introduced.

  4. Thanks, everyone. I LOVE your feedback!

  5. She is a smart mom, ALL THE WAY! Patterns DO hide stains, and babies make messes! :) I'd like to try her antibacterial cleaner. Maybe she could sell small sampler bottles?

  6. Thanks for the kind words, JaMean! You don't have to buy cleaner from me, it's super easy: just fill a spray bottle about 1/5 full with Simple Green concentrate (you can buy a gallon bottle at Home Depot and many other places). Then add a good shot of tea tree oil (maybe 1/10 of a 1 oz. small bottle). Fill the rest with water, shake and you're ready to go. Works great on granite counter tops, better than those fancy granite cleaners. (My other secret special tip for granite is buffing after cleaning with Costco yellow microfiber towels. You can get a huge pack of them for about $8 in the automotive aisle. Will easily remove any residual soap film or streakiness).

  7. These are a fantastic idea! I would also like to see some solid colors, and maybe a couple of different sizes since they could be used so many different places to stop leaks from making messes!

  8. What a lovely interview, i must congrat u for leading it, i love learn about new eco ways to do the normal day a day stuff, so i apreciated the ideia, and i'm waiting for the tutorial! ;)