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Kittybeast, one-of-a-kind quality

My name is Jennifer Way, I’m 30 years old and I live in Santa Cruz, CA. I design and sew by hand (not by machine) unique designs onto clothing for kids/babies/adults, aprons, reusable bags, etc. I sell at the local Farmer’s Market, festivals and a few shops around town. When I’m not sewing up a storm or designing the latest Kittybeast item, I spend my time in the ocean surfing, walking around our beautiful area, playing soccer, cooking, etc.

What inspired you to go into the craft business, do you still have a day job? My entire life I have loved drawing, painting, creating and making art. Ever since I was a little girl I always wanted to be able to sell something that I made by hand- I would make homemade stationary and greeting cards and “sell” them to my mom and relatives. As an adult, I finally decided to take the plunge and really try to come up with a product that people would buy with my designs on it- I started out with baby clothes and have since branched into adult clothing, aprons and reusable bags.

Yes, I still have a day job, I work part-time at a local bar/restaurant a cocktail server in downtown Santa Cruz where I have worked for over 3 years.

I get inspired a lot by nature, especially the ocean, where I spend as much time as I can whether at the beach or surfing or kayaking- which is reflected in a lot of my designs (waves, octopus, jellyfish, shark, seahorse, etc.) and also fruits and veggies because I love to grow food and love the Farmer’s Market environment. I usually think of a design and spend some time drawing examples of it and when the outline comes out nicely I make myself my stencil and then go from there with beautifully colored fabrics to accentuate the appliqué on whatever I am making. I think of a lot of the designs while falling asleep and then I get up in the morning and work on them…. I also LOVE to do custom order designs for friends on American Apparel hoodies. That started out as a favor for a friend and has really taken off, so I have gotten a lot of priceless ideas from them. I try to use organic or American Apparel products to embellish in order to keep my environmental impact low.

What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst? The best thing is constantly feeding my inspiration and creativity. It’s so satisfying to create something from my own mind and hands, put my energy into it and then have it be received with a squeal by whoever receives it. I can’t really think of the worst thing about it…. I guess the hardest thing for me to do is to focus myself and make myself have a really organized approach to my products. I tend to want to make each piece completely unique and different and then move on to the next design, but for the sake of festivals especially I really have to work hard to make myself have consistency in terms of offering the same design/color scheme in all sizes. Organization is the hardest thing for me when it comes to creating art and selling it. But I think that one-of-a-kind quality is also one of my strong points and makes my products appeal to shoppers who don’t want a cookie-cutter gift or purchase.

I have a Kittybeast Facebook page- please check it out for news, photos, upcoming events, etc:

For BazBiz shoppers who visit my etsy shop after the show, I have a 10% off coupon, just use the coupon code BAZBIZ. Thanks for checking out Kittybeast and enjoy the show!

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