I came across the lovely and ever so sweet Teresa on Instagram and was immediately taken with her work and her mission. If you’ve read the other Meet the Maker features, you are probably noticing a trend when it comes to finding shops via Instagram. It’s amazing. When it comes to doing business, this lady is doing it right. Here’s her story:
1. Tell us a little about yourself!
Hi! My name is Teresa, but I answer to all things T. I’m the maker behind the Etsy Shop, DeBrosse, which features a handcrafted collection of scarves and beanies that benefit orphaned children in Haiti. I work and play in New York, NY, and can attest to the fact that the city truly never sleeps.
2. What made you decide to start selling your work?
Well, I first learned to crochet so that I could make blankets for children growing up in the orphanages of Haiti. With the help of family and friends, we were able to make and distribute over 150. One of the first blankets went to a went to a bright-eyed five-year old boy named Israel DeBrosse. He had such a huge personality coming out of such a tiny frame, and he really captured my heart.
I wanted to help Israel and his friends beyond blankets, and that became the heartbeat of my Etsy shop. I set aside 15% of the shop’s proceeds to purchase school supplies, clothes, and medicine for the little ones who call one of our two partner orphanages home. Now, we’re eagerly planning to pack suitcases to the brim for trips four and five.
3. What would you say is the greatest challenge you face as a shop owner?
There are so many challenges…some exciting, some just…well, challenging. I think the one that trips me up the most is the idea that my work will never be finished. There’s always a newer idea, a brighter fabric, a softer yarn, a stronger photo. Striking the balance between innovation and contentment is a season I have not yet met, but I’m hopeful that with time, I’ll find it.
4. And the greatest reward?
The thing that still gets me every time is when a piece of my work is invited into a memorable moment of a customer’s life. It’s when a soon-to-be bride requests a custom shawl for her Iceland wedding, or the birthday girl picks out a scarf for her epic London getaway, or the soon-to-be mom says she’s found the perfect beanie to wear in her baby announcement. I have to pinch myself in those moments!
5. Who or what inspires you?
I have a newfound love with my Instagram community, both within my space and those far from it. Paper, chalk, wood, yarn, glitter…I just swoon over the way each of these makers breathes life into raw materials.
6. Any advice for people looking to open their own shop?
Do it! And don’t be intimidated if your hand-dyed-paisley-coral-bird-mug is going to be one of 2,756 other hand-dyed-paisley-coral-bird-mugs. There’s this beautiful thing about Etsy where thoughtful work always wins.
7. What’s one fun fact about you that others may not know?
I’ve recently noticed that I get more done when I play rap music in the background. You may not know me, but take a moment to imagine a tiny blonde girl knitting at 6am to Biggie Smalls, and see if you don’t laugh a little.