In the Blog

Karley Tabak: She Sews Lovely

October 1st, 2009     by Desirée O     Comments

Every other Thursday I profile a new incredible woman, each from a different walk of life. Different professions, causes, backgrounds, ethnicities, orientations, and anything/everything else!

So without further delay, let me introduce the amazing Karley Tabak…

Karley & Beta. Photo credit: Aaron Doucette, Instant Kamera

Karley Tabak describes herself as “a fiancee, dachshund mommy, ESL teacher, perpetual student and Etsy shop owner.” Creating incredibly cute eco coffee sleeves and felt baby name books, she certainly doesn’t lie with the business name, she sews lovely. Karley gives us some tips for running your own business and explains why taking time for yourself is so important.

What drives you to do what you do?

Ultimately, I think that enjoyment drives me to do what I do! she sews lovely started with me just sewing in my office, making little things that I found to be useful. When I started giving eco coffee sleeves to family & friends for Christmas, they gave me the idea to open a shop. I had no idea that other people would be interested in what I make! I think that in order to be successful and happy, you have to do something that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, it becomes a chore. Since starting my Etsy shop, I’ve realized that my customers really drive me! It’s so nice to hear compliments about your work and have satisfied customers emailing you after they have received their order. I wouldn’t make something that I didn’t personally find useful, so it’s amazing when you find out that others find it useful too!

How does being a woman empower / challenge you?

That’s a good question because I rarely think about how being a woman affects my business. However, I can tell you that being a woman means that I am a GREAT multitasker. I can do about a million things at once, from sewing to making coffee to networking online to walking my dog. One challenge I find is that I pile way too much on my plate. I think a lot of women do this - we try to do as much as we can for everyone else in our lives and we put ourselves last. So this is something I’d like to work on. I’d like to take more time for myself - more coffee breaks with friends, more play time with my dog, more hours when I turn my computer off and don’t think about work at all.

What advice would you give to young women who want to follow in your footsteps?

Anyone who wants to start their own business should begin with a product that they need and use. I can’t imagine trying to sell something that I myself don’t find useful. So make sure you have something unique that you believe in. I would recommend Etsy as a great place for women to open an online shop and gain exposure. I’ve met so many amazing, creative ladies through Etsy! Also - networking is key. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr… All of these are great places to showcase your talents and meet other crafty people. When you’re home all day working by yourself, nothing is better than chatting with other ladies who are doing the same thing at the other end of the country. They can really help to inspire and support. But the best advice I can give young women is to take time out for yourself. Running a business can be tough - lots of people pulling you in a million directions. Turn your computer off on Sundays or make Friday nights “date night” or “book night” or “girls night”. It can be hard to separate work from home when you work from home, but it’s imperative!

Name one person, place, or thing every young woman should know about?

Joan Didion. When I was in journalism school, I read pretty much everything she ever wrote. She is such an amazing woman in every sense. She has had an incredible life, filled with love and writing and also immense sadness. Her latest book, The Year of Magical Thinking, is about the death of her husband. Her words inspire me in every way. If you only read one book written by Didion, read Slouching Towards Bethlehem, which is a collection of essays that Didion wrote during the 60s. “Los Angeles Notebook”, one of the essays in this book, is the first piece I read in a narrative non-fiction class I took… And it changed my life. I want to BE this woman, period.

What is the most important thing we can do in order to change the world?

This is a huge question! I think the most important and simplest thing we can do is be honest. Be honest about who we are and be honest with everyone in our lives. If everyone could do just that, I think it would change the world.

Make sure to drop by Karley’s Etsy shop, she sews lovely to check out her awesome collection of eco coffee sleeves and felt baby name books. If you’re in Montreal, Karley will be at Pop Montreal’s Puces Pop Marketplace, October 3rd & 4th, from 11am - 7pm, St. Michel Church Hall (105 St-Viateur O.).

Tags: shameless women

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