This week’s Bazaare Bizarre profile features Austinite, Bonnie Rue, of Model Citizen Clothing, who takes inspiration and direction from the community around her. She’s taken advantage of the plentiful business resources in Austin, and has jumped whole-heartedly into the crafting business community to develop the support and knowledge she needed to create a thriving business of her own.
What is the name of your business?
Model Citizen Clothing
How long have you been in business?
I’ve been selling screen printed T-shirts off and on for years now under the name Model Citizen, but it’s actually been operating as a business since 2006. I’ve always been crafty but I didn’t have a clear vision of how to make my hobby into a job. The past two years I’ve been really focused though. Studying marketing, playing around with new mediums and taking more chances than I would have when I was younger. It’s been fun and has payed off in ways I couldn’t even explain.
What kinds of goods do you make/sell?
Screen printed garments of all kinds! T-shirts, hoodies, dresses, tank tops, yoga pants, panties, and skorts! I have also recently started making jewelry, most of which will be unveiled at Bazaar Bizarre ;)
How did you get started in the indie crafting business?
Like most folks I had a hobby. I would come home from work, draw all night or make things to wear or decorate my house with. I made zines and knitted. If there was Making involved I was there! My parents encouraged me to start making screen printed t-shirts with my drawings on them (trying to help me focus in on one thing) and Model Citizen Clothing was born.
What other shows have you participated in?
We have First Thursdays here in Austin – all the shops on Congress Ave stay open a little later and the streets fill with craft booths, families, hipsters and more. This was the first “show” I ever did and I loved it! Since then I’ve been fortunate to participate in Stitch (amazing!) which is put on by the lovely ladies of the Austin Craft Mafia, and one year I shared a booth at the Austin City Limits Festival with Moxie and the Compound.
What drew you to apply for the Bazaar Bizarre show?
One warm afternoon a few months ago I ended up having drinks at the San Jose with Katie from the CRAFT advertising department. She was in Austin planning Maker Faire, and told me that Bazaar Bizarre would be part of the faire this year and that I MUST do it. I trust her judgment so I went home and applied immediately!
How does living in Austin influence your work?
The people here are a different breed and I love them for it! I have met so many amazing folks and they all inspire me. Rough and tumble Roller Girls, ballsy rock stars, the femme fatale revolutionaries, and all the countless independent business owners. Talk about living outside the box! Everyone is friendly and following a dream. It’s a great place to call home.
How do you connect with other Austin independent craft business people?
There are tons of groups who hold meetings for idea swapping and advice giving. When I was new in town I went to a monthly Babes in Business meeting where I met so many inspiring and informative ladies. I just learned of a new meeting that is the last Thursday of every month at Bead It on S. Lamar, I’ll be checking that out too! I also like to reach out through Etsy’s “shop local” section, it’s an easy way to find your crafty neighbors.
How would you describe the Austin craft scene?
That’s easy! Inspiring, informative, friendly, unstoppable, and ready to make your acquaintance!
What do you think makes the Austin craft scene unique?
It’s not just a scene, it’s a community and it will open it’s self up to you if you want in.
What do you think Maker Faire Austin visitors can expect from Bazaar Bizarre this year?
They best – get ready to be impressed! I saw the vendor list and I couldn’t be more jazzed!
What kind of “Austin flavor” do you think Maker Faire visitors will take away from Maker Faire Austin this year?
Everyone in Austin is trying to “Keep It Weird” and Maker will be the event that really showcases how truly unique and dedicated to the cause us Austinites are!
What do you hope you get out of participating in Bazaar Bizarre and Maker Faire Austin?
Since I run Model Citizen Clothing mostly online I can’t wait to get out from behind this computer and do some business face to face! To shake hands and rub elbows with some fellow crafters and craft lovers!
Model Citizen: Making the Most of Community Connections