Tell me a bit about the name Barnacle Bags. What inspired it and what does it mean to you?
My partner Alex came up with the name for my shop about 6 years ago. I started selling organic canvas rucksacks at our local farmers market on summer. It started out as just a hobby but by the end of the summer it was clear how much I loved the craft. Soon after that the name came be. “Barnacle Bags” is completely influenced by our surroundings. Barnacle for all those who do not know isa crustacean that lives in our waters on the rocks. We grew up in these islands so water is a huge influence on us all. I find that being on the water or near it is often the times that bring me my most creativity. I am terrible at naming things so when Alex mentioned “barnacle bags” one day many years ago and it just felt right and never looked back. It sometimes does feel a bit juvenile and thought of changing it as my business has changed dramatically in the past 6 years but it is a nice reminder of where it started, where I am from, my childhood, and what inspires me. The forest and ocean are the places I go to test out my bags and take a break from making to get inspired for making more bags so it just felt right to have the name include some sorta nature influence.
I love how classic all of your pieces are. How long does it take to perfect a design?
My design process is pretty organic. There is no certain place or way I first come up with a design it just sorta comes to me. I sometimes sketch out a design thats been in my head but usually I just start playing with the fabric, sewing, tearing it out, resewing. It takes time. I am not sure how long but usually I spend a few months working on it and testing it before releasing it. I am starting to try and not get to overwhelmed with having a bunch of new designs all the time. It is hard though because it feels like I should be putting out a new design every couple months but with being a new mother and running my business alone it does not allow for it as much anymore.
As a maker and mother, I know how hard it is to find a balance between the two. How do you make this work? What do you do to maintain productivity?
Honestly it is really hard. Before Owynn my son was born was born remember I writing on my blog constantly about having a hard time with balance. Mostly with having a social life and keeping my business going. I was working like all the time then and now adding a child to the mix I am not sure what I was complaining about. Now I obviously do not work near that amount. It is hard because I took about a year off and it has definitely affected my business. But it has also been nice to have time away and allows me to dream for the future of my business. Every week is a little different around our house but usually 4 days a week for about 4 hours each time Owynn is watched by a family member or good friend. Often when Alex gets home from work I will go into the studio and work for another hour or sometimes when Owynn goes to sleep I respond to emails, order supplies ect… It is a hard balance but the most important thing right now is family. Sometimes I get stressed when I have not worked in a couple days but I try and remind myself that it is okay because I have the rest of my life to work on this business and only a few years will my little one being so small. I also hire a friend once a week to come and cut out bags, oil leather, cut straps and that has been super helpful. I need more help and more time in the studio but for now I am somehow making it work and keeping my business going which is really important to me and my happiness. I think I will be a better mom because I have this creative outlet.
And lastly, what is your favorite piece from your collection?
My favorite piece from my collection… well I would say the vegetable tanned leather day-bag. I just love how it looks when worn for a few months because it softens and darkens up so much. They each are so unique and tell a completely different story to the next. It also is just a great bag for your essentials, not too small and not too big.