Meet Your Maker - Strangely Avenue

This week on MYM we have Berlyn from Strangely Avenue a handmade horror themed purse & accessories company. As soon as I saw her loverly purses on instagram I knew I wanted her to be part of MYM. Her bags are so cute and unique. Im sure you will love them as well :)

Introduce yourself and your business.

I'm Berlyn, an all-around weirdo, and my business is Strangely Avenue, is just as weird as me. I've always been strange-- I used to dress really weird, I haven't had a natural hair color in 15 years, I am covered in tattoos..with a name like Berlyn I didn't really have much of a chance to not be strange. I've always wanted to stand out and the products I make are to help others do the same thing. In high school, one of the first things I made once I knew how to sew was a dinosaur purse. Soon, my friends started asking me for purses in prints that they loved and I realized that this was a wonderful way to express ourselves. Even though that high school business ended years ago, I'm so interested to see it has come back to me in a full circle.

How did you launch your business & what made you want to start a small business?

I launched my business after a few attempts to start an Etsy site. I had worked for/purchased from other women running handmade businesses and was feeling truly inspired. After working several types of jobs, even getting my Journalism degree, I just wasn't feeling fulfilled working for anyone else. I knew I needed to create my own path, so after being laid off from a job in November 2016, I decided it was time to finally go for it.

What are some struggles you had starting your business and how did you over come them?

I've struggled with finding my voice, knowing what to sell and how to market my product. I started selling vintage clothing and now I am selling horror-themed purses, which is what I actually what I always wanted to do. I constantly struggle with the idea that I need to start over and that whatever I'm doing is not working, but I think that is a normal cycle for a lot of creatives. Part of overcoming (for me) has just been to stick to what I am passionate about and remembering my successes when things are slow.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I am inspired by all the things: movies, music, what's going on in the world, things customers or friends say to me. I LOVE being able to channel all of those ideas into wearable art.

What motivates you as a maker?

Other makers, not in a competitive way(although, sometimes maybe lol) but honestly, just seeing others working regardless of how hard we all know running a small business can be. It really helps to see others doing their dream job and it's truly a community I want to be a a part of.

What is a goal you set for yourself as a maker/artist and how did you achieve it?

My main goal was/is to create something that can support myself financially, at least enough to where I don't have to work a full-time job elsewhere. I currently have another part-time gig and hope to be 100% on my own this year. It's not the easiest goal and it's not exactly something you can always just make happen, but I've found that if you dedicate enough time and the right energy, it can really pay off.

What is your favorite part of being a maker?

Just being able to create and to share my work with others. I've always had all this creative energy, spending so much time trying to figure out how to express it, I just love that I've found a way to make sure my life can continue to basically revolve around my desire to create.

Do you have any tips for new makers/ small business owners?

Everyone's journey is going to be different. I have worked for several small businesses, and I tried all of their business models. I tried the things they told me had worked for them, I tried the things I did for them that worked perfectly, and none of those things worked for me. It's best to let your business be it's own process and let it grow as its own unique thing.

What are some hobbies or interests you have outside of your small business?

When I'm not sewing, I am either reading, writing, practicing yoga, watching horror movies/tv shows, or just hanging out with my cats while listening to music.

Share a fun fact about yourself.

I'm a vegetarian (and have been for 14 years), which is why all of my bags are made of vinyl or faux leather. I love being able to run my business, make fun and high quality products, and stick to my values while I'm at it.

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