Interview with Vancouver Designer Of Sophiebelle
I recently came across a play structure by Sophiebelle Etsy shop owner Christine which really encompasses the spirit of honing creativity. For starters this teepee is hand made by Christine for her daughter Sophie. Although too little to appreciate this aspect of what she calls her ‘PeePee’ the idea of teaching through observation is fundamental for encouraging the innate curiosity in children. Imaginative play is an important aspect of every childhood. Building forts, hanging out in small spaces and creating your own environments are all essential elements in facilitating inspiration. Add to that that Christine makes really cool kids clothes and in my opinion this mom rocks!
Christine creates 'one of a kind' or ‘one of few’ organic clothing for children, newborn through six years old.
She was gracious enough to share photos of her home, work space and teepee in Port Moody, BC (close to the home of the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver) and to answer a few questions.
So the thing that I love about your clothes, besides the fact that they are organic, is the fabric. I am a huge fan of textiles. Where do you get your fabrics from?
I get my fabric from a few places. The best place I’ve found close to home is called Fabricana and they have a huge selection of modern designer fabrics. I’ve also bought fabric online from various sellers on Etsy. I love Etsy, you can get almost anything!
I have always loved baby/kids clothes that feature the less ‘babyish’ patterns. I love that about the fabrics you chose, after all- like they care!
Exactly! Honestly, until your kid is old enough to decide, you’re dressing them in clothes you like. For the most part I just don’t go for the whole cartoon, mass-produced stuff. Don’t get me wrong, some of that stuff is fun but for the most part, I prefer Sophie to wear clothes that I would wear.
Who is your favorite textile designer?
I have a few… I really like Heather Bailey, Amy Butler, Michael Miller and Alexander Henry. I find that they have really playful, yet sweet prints, and not too cutesy. I’m not a huge fan of cutesy. A lot of their fabrics are not even geared towards kids, but I think they can totally be used that way. Ikea fabric is also really good, but I don’t use it for clothing. For home projects like the teepee and reupholstering Sophie’s little chair, it’s awesome!
Okay lets talk about the teepee, I think it is crazy cool. I have always built forts for my monkeys and obviously kids love them but your teepee is taking it to another level. So where did you get the idea?
I think from the website Ohdeedoh, but maybe I saw something like that on Etsy, I don’t remember. But I knew that I could make it, so I just bought some fabric and curtain rods from Ikea, and a couple of hours later, done! I like making things for Sophie. I think eventually she’ll think it’s pretty cool that her mom made her all this stuff. I enjoy the challenge of seeing if I can do it, and figuring it out.
Are you going to sell it at your Sophiebelle Etsy shop?
Not sure… probably at some point!
Thanks for sharing photos of your workspace. I would love to hear your thoughts about your ‘create’ space.
My workspace and our living space are one and the same. Because we live in a 2 bedroom apartment, there isn’t really any other option, but it works because I often work during naps and after Sophie is asleep for the night, and I can sometimes do some work while she’s busy playing at my feet. It’s usually cluttered and crazy (not like the staged photos!) but what can you do?
Playing at your feet with toys all around is the perfect environment to raise a creative kid! What are some of Sophie’s favorite play things (besides the teepee)?
She loves Horton hatches an egg – Seuss – it’s her naptime book. She also loves the little men books, all sorts of board books with diggers, animals, babies… she loves books, which we are so happy about! As for toys, she’s super into her nesting blocks that she builds towers with (then knocks them down). Loves trains, and little animal figures, that she marches around the house!
What are some of your thoughts on creativity, inspiration and honing it in our children?
I think that kids today are given too many toys that tell them how to play. I prefer simpler toys where kids can use their imagination, to electronic toys. I prefer less toys and less clutter, that way kids can focus on one thing at a time, without so many distractions and endless options.
I know that your Sophie Savers are popular at your Sophiebelle Etsy shop and at Dandelion KIDS ( a Vancouver children’s boutique). What is the story behind how these started?
After Sophie was born, I just figured that I could totally make stuff for her. That’s how the whole Sophie Saver thing started. I made one, because I was tired of using those little loop link things, you know the plastic things that you attach toys to? So I made a Sophie Saver. I was in Dandelion KIDS and the owner liked it, and said I should sell them there! So I made a bunch, and that’s how it all started.
What is your next project going to be?
I’m planning on building Sophie a little play kitchen. As soon as I find the right scrap wood I will make it. My mom already made her a little apron, pot holders and oven mitts for her future play kitchen.
Christine thank you so much for sharing your home, inspiration and thoughts.
You can visit Christine at:
Babyvibe’s Spring Fling – May 15 2010 in Port Moody where she will be a vendor.
Or on at her Sophiebelle Etsy Shop:
Or if you are in the Vancouver area check out: