I recently traded in my ugly Cannon camera straps for a pair of pretty ones from this week's featured sponsor, Broward Patch.* It's a silly thing, but it just makes my cameras so much more cheerful. Perhaps it's that the soft, quilted straps don't dig into my neck quite so uncomfortably?
Jennifer, the lovely seamstress behind Broward Patch, recently sat down and answered these questions from me.
Me: I'm learning that there's almost always a charming story behind the origins of every small business. When did you start Broward Patch? And what motivated you?
Jennifer: My shop was started out of an accident really. I loved to sew and create but wasn't terribly skilled at it. I started practicing and sewing more and more. I made several camera straps for myself and some close family and friends. One of those friend is a talented photographer who really encouraged me to put some of them on Etsy. I did, not thinking much of it but they sold. I was kind of surprised. So, I put some more on Etsy and they sold again! It kind of snowballed from that point. I've managed to keep growing my shop over the last couple of years and can't wait to see what the next couple bring!
Me: Tell us a bit about the process of making your camera straps. How do you decide what fabrics to use?
Jennifer: I'm all over the place with fabric. I use everything from local finds at my craft shop to designer fabrics from Lilly Pulitzer, Amy Butler and Alexander Henry Usually, if I see something and it strikes me, I buy it. Sometimes I have fabric that sits in my stash for months and months and months until I finally decide its time to use it. Other times I order something and stay up way too late on the night it comes in and can't wait to get it listed. Occasionally, when I special order fabrics for my clients I'll turn it into straps in my shop. I have a fabric problem.
Me: I love the pretty rosette camera strap that was recently on your Facebook page. What other creative modifications have you made to camera straps?
Jennifer: Over the last 2 years I've added a quilting material to my straps. There's two layers of batting in-between my fabric for added comfort. I use to have it as an add on option but it just became too important so I made it the standard. I've also added reversible straps which have two fabrics-one on the front and one on the back as well as changed up my monogramming options. I'm getting ready to do a big overhaul on the monogramming option soon to maximize the capabilities of my new sewing machine! Keychains and my point and shoot wrist straps are also newer additions to my shop. Also, with the popularity of the rosettes, I'll be adding some sort of ruffle option soon!
Me: Are you a photographer yourself? If so, what's your favorite subject matter.
Jennifer: I'm a major hobbits. I've had the honor of second shooting some weddings and am in love with it but with two small boys (3.5 years and 1.5 years) and one on the way, there's just not much time to really peruse that right now. Maybe one day!! When I do get to shoot for people my favorite thing is kids. I just can't get enough of kids in their natural world. They are hysterical...and I love catching the moments when they are just themselves.
Jennifer is generously giving away the winner's choice of a camera strap from Broward Patch. To win, leave a comment with the one you would pick. I'll choose a winner on Wednesday.
[*Full disclosure: Jennifer and I happily bartered for the camera straps, but that didn't influence my love for them!]