Monday, June 15, 2009

author/Artist Series: Alexandra Ferguson







I came across these delightful pillows by Alexandra Ferguson recently while looking for some images to accompany my "bullies" post... The more I looked through her website, the more I fell in love with her designs, and thought she seemed like a really cool, fun person! I contacted Alexandra and asked if she would share her story with us.

Here's a little background about Alexandra followed by a few questions I asked her...
Her shop, Alexandra Ferguson, sells 100% recycled pillows and totes. These items are created in her loft apartment located in what used to be a Bloomingdale's department store in southern Westchester, NY. After studying photo-journalism at NYU, she thought she might become a war photographer. Instead, she landed a job in the fashion industry as a technical designer and studio manager. She has worked for Rebecca Taylor and Zac Posen, and now freelances a few days a week for a Kohl's licensee company. This has all been terrific experience for her!

Last November, she created a pillow for her good friend. She kept going, and suddenly, everyone on her gift list received pillows...by mid-January, she had opened her shop on Etsy, and has been taking orders left and right, which keeps her busy close to 90 hours a week! From a very young age, she has known that she wanted to become a self-supporting artist. Three cheers for her...I'm glad she did!

Here's what she has to say:

1. You've mentioned you'd like to start your own home accessories collection. Besides pillows, what will your collection consist of when your dream comes true?
Fantasy land time! fantasy land time! OK, first come pillows. check. I have dabbled in wall hangings, really fun. Then I would REALLY like to venture into table top territory. I can see runners, napkins, placemats...I have a sneaky suspicion my fashion background will peek in with chefs aprons there too. my next fetish after the table is bed linens...once we get to bed linens, the future becomes a little fuzzy. 

2. Your business has taken off in such a short time...how do you keep up with all the orders?
My business has been growing really nicely, but luckily it is growing at a pace that I can keep up with. I have been working freelance for a long time now and since my company has been growing, I have been cutting back my freelance hours. Now I am down to about 2 days a week. I am very lucky that they have been so flexible with me, without that partnership I would not be able to do it all. Also, I am a workaholic, which means that I can clock a 100-hr week without blinking. I don't get out of bed very early, but I work till midnight most nights without thinking twice. I would like to start taking Sundays off—I have been trying really hard, but I am not quite there yet.

3. Approximately how long does each pillow take?
 try not to do the math how long each one takes, makes me feel better to live in denial (45 min tops! start to finish! haha no way). So in order to prevent myself from taking an accurate measurement, I do them like a little production run--cut lots at once, sew lots at once, set a whole lot of zippers...By the time I have taken breaks, talked on the phone, answered emails etc, its all a wash. I am very good at setting goals for myself though, so I don't let myself get behind on orders. Seriously though, actually cutting and sewing the pillows is only 50% of the time I put into the company. The silent killer is the 20,000 other things that come with running a business, like accounting, PR, customer service....

Keep up with her lovely projects by checking out her blog!

Thanks to Alexandra for sharing her thoughts and dreams...I'll be looking for her designs in upscale department stores soon enough...Bloomingdales perhaps?

3 comments:

Carolyne said...

Wow! I love her designs! They look so clean and chic! Thanks for posting this! Off to go peruse her blog!

maureen said...

how beautiful! i've been lookin for pillows like these...

Courtney said...

These are so lovely and I love all the punchy colors and sayings! I'm off to check out her blog now -- thanks for the introduction! xx