An Interview with Tina Robinson, Owner of Lovely Betty.
Tell us about your business and how you came up with the idea. The idea for Lovely Betty stemmed from a long-time love of vintage clothing, ecclectic styles, and well made items. I was changing careers, and trying to figure out how I could be a part of the solution to reducing the mountain of clothing in a world of fast fashion. I had fond memories of a unique store in my teen years on the west coast. I had wished that someone would open a shop like that in Fredericton, but then I thought why not just open one myself. 5 weeks later, I was standing in my own store front wondering how it had happened.
Where do you look for inspiration? I get inspiration from from those who don’t follow specific trends, but rather, dress to express their personality.
How do you get yourself inspired? I love to intentionally mis-match and clash colors and prints. It often gives me more ideas.
Who are some of your favourite artists in your field? I greatly admire the originator of the upcycled sweater coat, Katwise. She is a major inspiration for Lovely Betty’s “Betty Made” upcycled clothing. I love not adding to the landfill of disposable clothing.
Do you use Social Media for your business? How has impacted your business? Facebook has definitely helped us reach into the corners of Fredericton and beyond. We advertise there regularly and its a great way to interact with our customers and consignees.
As a member of FFC, what do you hope to see the council achieve? I hope to see the council successful in their goal of bringing together designers, artisans, and business owners. I would love to see our small but growing creative community working together, and inspiring, guiding, and encouraging each other to reach their goals and contribute to a vibrant local network.
What’s next for you? We are in the midst of taking Lovely Betty to a the next level, creating an online store, and we are also planning on taking the shop on the road this summer in our antique Lovely Betty VW bus. Many exciting adventures and pop-up-shop events await Lovely Betty’s future!
The Membership Profile for May is Tracy Austin and her business, Steampetal.
Bio / A bit about your professional backgroundI graduated from NBCCD Fashion in 2007 and have been involved in Ball Jointed Doll (BJD) Fashion since 2008. I officially launched my business, Steampetal, in January 2013 and have been showcasing work, attending conventions and selling online.
Tell us about your business and how you came up with the idea. I’ve been immersed in Steampunk culture for a few years now, but always felt the desire to bring botanical themes in to my pieces. I decided to stick with this theme and create Steampetal; while I focus on BJD’s, I wanted to be able to create my accessory line for people and work under the same business name.
What exactly are the dolls?
The dolls are an artistic outlet, in many ways really. BJD’s originated in Japan and are hand sculpted and cast in resin which is customizable and you can sand and alter it if you like. Eyes and wigs are used to further customize the dolls, as well as faceups (painting their faces) for distinct looks. On top of that, and more my venue, is the ability to clothe the dolls however you like. Photography has been a big art with BJD’s as well. It’s a hobby with something for everyone.
How do you get yourself inspired?
I make a point to keep myself in a creative environment and around other artists. Brainstorming constantly helps; keeping an ever growing collection of photographs and fabrics that inspire me, and making sure to sketch, design and really push myself to try and create makes it easier to keep up the momentum.
Who are some of your favourite artists in your field?
Bird and Lace, a couple of BJD artists in Ontario are a big inspiration for me, as well as Belladonna from Quebec and Dorset Clothing from Australia. They’re all amazing artists and people and I’ve followed their work since I’ve been in the BJD hobby.
What project have you worked on that you enjoyed most and why? A couple years back I partnered with Sherry Kinnear, a local artist and we created a BJD gallery, “Illusion.” It was a really great experience and pushed my love of displaying pieces in miniature settings and prompted my entry into working with miniature props and furniture as well as the dolls and clothing. It was an experience that really got the ball rolling and opened up other creative windows for me.
Do you use Social Media for your business? How has impacted your business?
Absolutely, I’m on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Since my business is primarily online, it’s a huge impact. Since I was already a part of the community before I started my business, I was already using social media and forums for the hobby itself. For my business I’ve continued to use these platforms and they’ve been very effective.
As a member of FFC, what do you hope to see the council achieve? I really want the FFC to build a community, to be a special place where people in the fashion field can really come together. I think sometimes that people forget the amount of people and jobs that fall under the Fashion umbrella and I think the FFC has the ability to really bring that community together and flourish.
What’s next for you? May 24th and 23rd I’m vending at Doll North, a side convention being held within Anime North. I attended the convention in 2013 and it was such a great time and I met so many amazing people. I can’t wait for my chance to return this year!
Make sure to check out this month’s issue of Inside Fitness magazine, our very own Jaclyn Wilson is featured! On top of being one of the Vice Presidents for the FFC, Jaclyn is an Ifbb pro and a fashion designer! Make sure to check out her page for more info!
Inspired by photographer Kevin Kozicki’s ‘Rouge’, I decided I would like to challenge myself in creating some visual content for the newly formed Fredericton Fashion Council by creating a series of images using only found local fall leaves. This photographic concept has been brewing in my mind over the past couple of years, and this was the push it needed to bring the work to light. I wanted to create a unique edgy (wild) look while still retaining visual class. This concept would not have been successful without the preparation and collaboration of an amazing world class creative team; Model;Jaclyn Wilson, Make-up Artist; Shannon Craig, Hair Stylist;Amy Johnston and Stylist;Tracy Austin. No artificial leaves were harmed in the making of these images. Enjoy!
Article and Photography by Jeff Crawford who is a member of the Fredericton Fashion council.