Granny Panty Designs is a unique and surprising Home Decor outlet that emphasizes upcycling reusable materials. We spoke to shop owner Marissa Carter about the GPD philosophy, her latest projects and the importance of being eco conscious.
How did Granny Panty Designs begin?
Originally I started GPD with my best friend Samira, who I have known since we were in the 4th grade. We have always loved crafting together and started the store as a way to push us to keep creating, and as a way to stay connected. Shortly after we opened the shop Samira was offered a wonderful job as an archivist in the Stanford Library. Her free time became very limited so I ended up taking over. We still craft when we can, and she helps me out whenever I do craft fairs. I decided to open an Etsy store as a way to push myself to be creative on a regular basis. I studied art in college and after graduating it was hard to get back in the creative swing of things. Opening a store was definitely a great motivation to keep crafting.
How would you describe what GPD offers?
GPD offers eco friendly and upcycled alternatives to everyday home decor items, as well as unique vintage finds. We aim to be as eco friendly and Earth conscience as possible, and when I do have to buy something new I like to support small businesses and artists. I hope that my work makes people smile, and that they feel good about supporting a small business that uses sustainable materials. The materials I use are easily available, but it’s the time and energy put into each product, which makes it special.
What would you say your creative process is on the average day?
On an average day, I make some coffee, take my dog for a walk, and then work on any orders I may have for that day. If I am all caught up with orders I work on creating new products, and listing new vintage items. I like to sit with new ideas for a while before lisitng them on the shop. It’s important for me to be able to leave a project and then come back to it later when I have a new idea.
What projects are you working on currently?
I just finished making large-scale map paper-cuts of victorian houses and suburban scenes. They are currently on display at the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco until April 22nd and after that I plan on listing them on Etsy. I am working on some new products that are specifically for weddings and events including lavender sachets using organic lavender from my mom’s garden.
What influences you creatively on a daily basis?
I am inspired when I walk into my favorite creative recycling center in San Francisco, called Scrap. It is full from floor to ceiling with recycled materials. I love seeing what is there, and then thinking, what can I make out of this? I also go to my local library regularly and check out books on crafts, origami, and photography. I am constantly trying to learn something new, and I am inspired by all of the things I don’t know how to do yet.
It’s exciting to see Etsy producing a generation of female business owners, offering a majority of shops owned by women for women. Do you have any thoughts about the Etsy community?
Etsy has given many women the opportunity to transform their hobby into a thriving business. I am proud to be a part of such a strong and inspiring community of women. There is an abundance of talent on Etsy that can sometimes be overwhelming! I love browsing shops that also use recycled materials, and shops that sell handmade clothing and vintage décor. One of my all time favorite stores is RoiaOBrienJewelry she upcycles silver and gold plated serving trays to make gorgeous jewelry that is so unique!
There is a part of me that has always wanted to own a business. There is something wonderful about being able to create your own schedule, and be your own boss. I have been making things for as long as I can remember and in order to have creative freedom I felt like opening my own business was the only way to go.
Where do you plan to go from here?
I would like to focus on offering more items specific to weddings and events. My goal for this year is to get some of my merchandise into local stores. Long term, I would love to keep doing what I am doing now, and maybe someday open up a store that features all recycled and upcycled crafts.
Which social media sites do you use for GPD?
As of now, Etsy is my only storefront. You can like me on Facebook! People can follow me on Facebook for further updates about upcoming craft fairs and exhibitions. I also have another Etsy shop for my fine art photography, which is marissaobscura and a photography website.
Thank you for speaking with us, Marissa!
Jolly Bureau, May 3, 2012