Blue Mama: Taking a Hobby to the Next Level

Craft & Design

Yesterday’s profile subject, Chasity of Belle and Burger, will be sharing a booth with fellow Austinite and mom, Jen of Blue Mama. Jen recently took the plunge of taking her crafting hobby to the next level of starting a crafty business, and Bazaar Bizarre is her first big craft show. With a focus on recycling and natural ingredients, she makes everything from newspaper yarn to lip balm.
What is the name of your business?
Blue Mama
How long have you been in business?
Not long at all. I opened my Etsy shop in July and started operating as Blue Mama shortly before that. I did things so incrementally I was able to trick myself into “starting a business.” If I had have done it any other way it would have been really overwhelming.
What kinds of goods do you make/sell?
Jewelry decoupaged with fabric scraps left over from my friends’ sewing projects, knitted bags mostly felted and “upcycled” plastic bags with vintage handles, and lip balm. I’ve been playing around with spinning newspaper yarn and will have balls of both plastic bag “yarn” and paper “yarn” on display.
How did you get started in the indie crafting business?
Like I said, it was mostly just my hobby really but I was making so much stuff and my crafty friends really inspired me to “take it to the next level” so I did. I never really set out to have this business but I’ve been a mostly stay-at-home mom for the past three years so it’s exciting to be a part of this wonderful community and be putting stuff out there.
What drew you to apply for the Bazaar Bizarre show?
I was lamenting the fact that I feel like my stuff is best when you can touch it and see it in person and my friend told me about the upcoming Bazaar Bizarre. I applied right after we got off the phone.
How would you describe the Austin craft scene? What do you think makes the Austin craft scene unique?
I moved here from the San Francisco Bay Area. That is where I learned to knit and even though I was doing it for years I never really felt confident as a crafter. I definitely wasn’t part of the craft scene there, unfortunately. It was just me and my knitting at work or on the subway.
It wasn’t until I moved to Austin (and ironically after I had my twins and way less time to create) that I felt everything click. Before I even moved here I joined the Austin Stitch ‘n’ Bitch group. I was pregnant not long after we arrived so I put crafting on hold for a while then miraculously connected with all these amazing mama-crafty mamas.
My creativity definitely does not exist in a vacuum, I really need to be around others who are making things as well.  I need that community and support.  The Austin craft community has been so welcoming and inspiring.
What do you think Maker Faire Austin visitors can expect from Bazaar Bizarre this year?
Well, I’ve seen the vendor list and every one of the booths are guaranteed to be amazing. I’m so excited to check them all out.
What do you hope you get out of participating in Bazaar Bizarre and Maker Faire Austin?
I hope to meet and interact with other crafters and craft lovers and hopefully make some new friends and contacts and direct people who like my work to my Etsy shop.

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