Team Member Interview ::::: Old Bagzz (Pam LeBlanc)

Are you a native Mainer or what brought you to the state of Maine? Tell us about your corner of the world:

I was born and raised in Bangor Maine. I have an older sister who was a very talented artist at a very young age ( I had the creative spark as well but wanted to do something different than she did. So I started sewing doll clothes on an old Singer that my Dad had converted from treadle to electric. I was only 8 so there was no classes available for someone so young.

My Mom didn’t sew but she asked a friend who did to give me some lessons. Chris Poitress spent several weekends teaching me about laying out a pattern and then putting together a simple skirt. That was all it took. I never stopped. Thankfully when I got into Junior High School there was Home Ec. I spent all my spare time in the Home Ec. Room through Jr. High and High School. After High School I attended the University of Maine at Orono and got 2 associate degrees; one in Fashion Merchandising and one is Resource Business Management. Both of which have come in handy. 

When did you first open your Etsy shop? Tell us more about what you sell: 
I’ve been in business since 1990. I primarily sell my work at Art shows all over the country. 
I started my Etsy shop about 4 or 5 years ago. It’s a great vehicle to offer my customers that I see at shows another way to purchase my work when they can’t see me at a show.

What inspires you?

One of the reasons I still love traveling and doing the shows is that I see so much beautiful art. I can get an idea from a shape in a painting or the color combinations in a beautiful woven scarf. Much of my work is made with materials that I recycle so a lot of inspiration comes from finding a really cool old drape or a vintage blazer at Goodwill.

What is your favorite thing to do in Maine?
My mothers family was from Calais, Maine which is right on the border of Canada. Truly Downeast. So any time I can spend in that area is so rejuvenating for me. I love hiking in Acadia. I guess my favorite thing though would have to be blueberry season. I am so fortunate to live on a piece of property that has both high and low bush berries. I look forward to those couple weeks in August that I spend tromping through the woods and picking berries.

Who are some of your favorite Maine Etsy Sellers?

I love Sabrina Thiemke-Greene’s work “Think Greene." I also love Lisa Eaton’s Ties. She is such an amazing business woman and has been a true inspiration to me.

What advice would you give to a Maine seller just starting out on Etsy?
Be patient and persistent. Keep at it. Read, listen to other shop owners. I’ve gotten the best advice from other people willing to share and give me tips. And then, of course, be willing to help and give tips and lend advice when you’re on your way!

Tell us about any upcoming promotions in your shop or projects that you are working on:

My most exciting work has been and continues to be my original fabrics. Graphic art has always been my hobby. I have a heat press. So I’m always adding cool words, sayings and images into my work.

In the last couple years I’ve started designing my own fabrics. I design each piece based on the shape of the bag. So the images come back to me from the printer in the exact shape I would cut out to make the bag. There are no cut off heads or that perfect flower in the wrong spot. I use Spoonflower for my printing. It has become a huge part of my work and what I primarily offer on Etsy.

To view more of Old Bagzz's current work, visit her Etsy Shop.