A few days ago I got in touch with Sophie, whose creations for the brand Gervaise I’ve always loved. She was kind enough to answer a few questions about her and her creations.
(Il testo italiano è in fondo)
1 – Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc.
My name is Sophie, I’m French and I’ve lived in Italy for 10 years. I like… to sew! I’d like to learn patchwork ma at the moment I don’t have enough time.
2 – How did you start your business, Gervaise?
I started when I got to know eBay. I used to make fabric bags for me, as a hobby, and when I got acquainted with the Internet I thought that it could be an opportunity to sell my creations.
3 – How did you choose the name of your shop?
Gervaise is the main character of Zola’s novel “L’Assomoir”. I really like Zola, and I liked this name! I also chose it because Gervaise is a laundress and she represented for me all these jobs that no longer exist: laundresses, hatters… and who knows how many more that we are not aware of!
4 – Do you have formal training (sewing, design, etc.)?
I don’t! I have a literature degree.
5 – Do your creations support you economically? If not, do you have another job?
They start to now. From a completely artisan production it’s now becoming serial, though on a very small scale. Yet, it allows me to live off of it.
6 – What are your main sources of inspiration?
I have a book titled “La mode du XXeme siècle” by John Peacock, containing drawings of looks and accessories for every year of last century. Anyway, in general, I like vintage, retro looks and colorful fabrics.
7 – What are the main satisfactions you get from Gervaise?
Being able to manage my business freely, working when I want, even at night, if I want to! The other satisfaction is obviously to find my own audience, so to speak… Also meeting people who share and appreciate my taste and what I have to offer.
8 – How and where do you advertise your business?
Online, on Facebook, through my blog, on Flickr… I try to be on most social networks.
9 – Do you have any advice for who wants to sell or already sells handmade?
I have a lot to say in this regard! I don’t think that “handmade” is an economically sustainable model. I started with handbags made by me because it was a possible solution and I had no choice. Considering the time I spent making each bag, the price I sold them for was ridiculous! Now I get partial help for the production, which gives me more time to search for new styles, advertise online and take care of my customers… I always have something to do!
Another thing I think is that, sewing a bag, it’ not important if I sew it myself or if a professional does it. Actually, the professional gets a better result! It’s different as far as embroidery and other crafts in which the machine cannot substitute hands are involved, the effect will never be the same.
Moreover, handmade is not always a warranty of “good-looking” and “well-made”.
You can learn more about Sophie and her lovely creations at her Facebook page, where she’s also just started a giveaway!