Friday interview: Kim Gilmore! August 24, 2012 15:00

The weekend is almost here, yay! That means it's time to meet one of our artists. This week I'd like to introduce you to Kim Gilmore, the maker behind EcoGreenBags. Read on to learn more about Kim and some expert advice on balancing work and family. 

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your handmade business.
Hi!  My name is Kim Gilmore and I'm the designer and creator of the EcoGreenBags line of reusable sandwich and snack bags.  I am a East Bay, Rhode Island resident, originally from upstate New York State, by way of Baltimore, Maryland.  I've been a lifelong crafter, always trying new creative avenues and preferring to give handmade gifts over mass- produced purchased items.  About 6 years ago, a good friend of mine asked me to join her in a craft show that she was doing and suggested I bring along some things that I had made to put out and they sold!  I had so much fun that I decided to try my hand at creating and selling at craft shows on my own, and with that , the proverbial "bug had  bitten" and I was hooked!  Convinced by another friend and very creative artist, I opened 2 Etsy shops ~  my GilmoreCreations shop in 2008 and my EcoGreenBags shop in early 2009!  I've been creating and selling locally (whoo hoo!) and online ever since and loving it!

Describe your studio for us.
I work out of my home and have completely taken over our Dining Room and made it my work studio!  Our dining room table has now become the designing/cutting/ sewing/packaging/ and shipping space (unless of course, the Holidays occur and then it reverts back to a Dining Room!) I have plenty of room for all my sewing needs and certainly for  my favorite and most important part of the entire process… the fabric!  I'm continuously working to further organize my workspace to optimize the process and my time.  The best part of working from home is that I am able to set my own hours, have very little travel time and I don't pay rent!

What was the inspiration behind your reusable sandwich and snack bags?
I've spent many years packing school lunches for my kids and continuously buying plastic baggies for their sandwiches and snacks.  I was tired of spending money on the non-biodegradable plastic bags that (though we tried to reuse them,  it didn't work well) ultimately were thrown away after only 1 use and were filling up our landfills!I  So, I  decided to try to come up with a reusable "green" method whereby I could have some sort of impact on improving our world for my children and future generations, while maintaining an affordable, food-safe alternative.  Hence, EcoGreenBags were created - completely reusable, washable and durable fabric sandwich and snack sized bags with a  water repellent interior!  It's the best of all worlds - combining the environmentally-friendly/reusable/food-safe criteria along with my love of beautiful fabrics into one stylish, fun and easy-to-use product!  We now have 2 sizes available of each of our sandwich and snack bags to cover most needs!

Any advice for balancing a handmade business and being a mom?
The best advice I can offer to anyone in my position is to be careful not to overcommit.  It's really fun and exciting to realize that people like and will spend money on something that I make… it drives my desire to do more and more.  But, I've found that because I'm a small one person business, I have to temper that desire with what I personally can  physically and realistically produce within the time constraints I have, given that my husband, kids and our home life is my very first priority! 

What is your most treasured handmade item?
I have a lot of treasured hand made items, but 3 items are my very favorites...
~  A picture of a horse that my daughter drew (she's passionate about horses!)  for my birthday 2 years ago, wishing me a "birthday as big with fun as this horse", which is now framed and hanging in our room
~  A statue that my son created from clay of he and I standing next to each other with my arm around him (accurate to our heights and the outfits we were wearing that day!)
~  A cherry pendulum mantle clock (from 25 year old aged wood) that my husband made for me for Christmas 2003, complete with a brass dedication plaque… sure to be handed down through the generations!
These  things were handmade form the heart, with Love and I'll treasure them always!

What does handmade mean to you?
To me, handmade means that an item has been designed and crafted uniquely and individually by someone who can put their own personality and style into their creation.

How did you first become involved with Craftland?
I had been aware of the Craftland Holiday Show for several years, but never made it to the event.   Fate has a funny way of working, because I was one of the very lucky artists who was contacted by Craftland when they opened up their sparkly new year-round store!  I've felt very honored to be a part of the oh-so-talented and fun Craftland  Community!

Little known, fun fact about you?
Believe it or not, I taught figure skating for about 3 years after I graduated from College!