I met Eija years ago when I transferred from a boarding school to a public junior high. One day I visited her home after school and I still remember that day and how I felt in their home.
Eija lived outside of the city in a smaller town and as we walked into their house her mom greeted us with such a cheerful smile that would make anyone feel most welcome. Eija’s mom was a seamstress and at the time worked from home so as we were spending time together in Eija’s room we could hear the sewing machine in the background.
Later that day her mom called us to come to the kitchen and she had made us some hot chocolate and served it with sweet bread. As the three of us were sitting around their kitchen table talking it felt like being in a loving home. I have never forgotten that day and how I felt. I love their whole family.
Years went by and we stayed friends. After junior high Eija went to a school to become a seamstress like her mother and during her school years she actually made me my prom dress!
Designing a baby booties collection for Lallu’s
Eija is someone who has spectacular taste for fashion and style. So I decided to try my luck with asking her if she would be interested in designing a baby booties collection for my store. I knew she might have some extra time on her hands but still I wasn’t sure if that would be something she would get excited about. She jumped right in!
Laura: What were your first thoughts when I asked you to design a baby booties collection for Lallu’s?
Eija: First of all, I have always known you are a talented person but still I was surprised and amazed by your idea. I was extremely excited by it and felt lucky to be able to be part of something like this. Especially, when we currently live so far away from each other but as we were working together it felt like sitting around the same table with our design books.
Is there anything cuter than tiny baby toes and small baby booties! Even a thought of this filled my head with tons of ideas.
Laura: So back in the day what inspired you to want to work in fashion and clothing industry? How about what gives you most joy in it? Would you like to tell us what you do for living?
Eija: I worked 6.5 years as a Production Assistant in one of the biggest Sport Garment brand’s in Finland. My main responsibility was to work as a contact person between the Asian Factories and the Headquarter in Finland. Instructing and insuring that the quality requirements were met. I also worked 2 years as a Purchasing Assistant for one the Finnish Department Stores. At that time I had an opportunity to design a small house brand for the company. After which I worked on the wholesales side for a Sports Clothing company but that took me too far from the things I loved to do so I decided to take a break and think what I want to do next.
What I have always loved most about working in the clothing industry is when you can see how the designer’s drawing on a paper comes to alive in less than a year and is a technical masterpiece or how from a piece of chiffon you can create a most beautiful evening gown that will be sold out in matter of days. Even though my name won’t be mentioned anywhere in the end product I still feel that I’m part of bringing it alive and giving it a soul.
My life changed a lot a year ago when I had set my own standards too high, was expecting too much from myself and from my work. I was expecting myself to be able to achieve perfectness in my work. This caused me to lose my creativeness. I forgot to enjoy life. I found myself exhausted and burned out. I had to stop and think what I wanted to do in a long run. I kept thinking that I wanted to leave clothing industry in all together but something was holding me in. After many twists and turns I found myself working as a sales person in children’s clothing store which is such a joy! It gives me a lot and I love my young clientele. It also gives me tons of new ideas for my next baby booties collection for Lallu’s ;)
Laura: What you do in your spare time?
Eija: A good part of my spare time goes for following Fashion, Sewing and Life Style blogs, books and magazines while dreaming of my own collection. I also spend a good amount of time visiting flea markets, second hand stores and antique shops in hopes to find some old treasures in order to create something new and beautiful of them. I could say that I constantly have projects that I’m working on.
Laura: Can you tell us from where have you found your talent and gotten your eye for beauty?
Eija: Definitely from my mom and dad! My mother is a seamstress and my father is a constructor. From them I received my first sewing machine when I was 6 years old. As a family we have always loved to do crafts, paintings, build, remodel and sew beautiful things together. And my sister is a hair stylist (Facebook: OrganicHair) so we have creativity in our blood.
When in school I had hard time because of my reading and writing difficulties. Teachers weren’t very supportive or helpful. But I’m glad my mom realized that I could learn very quickly things by looking beautiful pictures, fashion photos, clothing, buttons, fabrics and colors. She encouraged me to create things with my hands when things felt difficult at school.
Currently one of my spare time projects is decorating. I like to watch those shows on TV and somehow the things I see in them spark new ideas within me. Then I can use them when decorating my own home or other people’s homes. I like to mix old and new. My favorite saying is “Other man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.
Laura: Then to the hardest questions: How did you feel about designing your baby booties collection? How did you choose the model and colors? Would you like to do it again with me? :)
Eija: The hardest part by far was to fit all the great ideas into such a small baby booties. From the beginning I wanted to use lots of colors and clear pictures. In my mind I saw a child playing on its back trying to reach for his or hers feet. This gave me the idea of using colors and pictures so that the baby could have something interesting to look at over and over again.
I’m always ready to do another baby booties collection. This is only the beginning for us!
Laura: You have always had a gorgeous home and every one of them has been decorated with such a harmony from room to room still every one of them having their own flavor. Could you give some good decorating tips for the rest of us?
Eija: First pick the most important furniture and objects! Place them where you can see them every day and after that start looking things to go with them. I love to make findings from flea markets and antique shops. There are lots of hidden treasures. Those treasures can give a new life to your home when placed next to e.g. Ikea’s bookshelf.
Textiles!!! Pretty pillow covers, curtains and table cloths are like a crown to your decorating. Those can be easily changed by seasons or your general mood.
Laura: Any feedback or comments? :))
Eija: Laura, I’m SO proud of you! Always remember to keep those ideas flowing and never let them dim! You are a dear friend!