Featured Indie Designer – Twinkie Chan

Ladies and gents, prepare to be assaulted by cuteness… Our newest Featured Indie Designer comes from a land of junk food and yarn. I present to you: TwinkieChan!

TwinkieChanName: Twinkie Chan
Age: 31
Hometown: Bay Area, California
Current Location: San Francisco

How did your interest in DiY fashion and design begin? My mom and my best friend’s mom always told us to “Go home and make it,” so I think that philosophy has stuck with us as we’ve grown up (my bff sews). I also went to a very creative grade school where we weren’t even allowed to wear store-bought Halloween costumes, so you can imagine my mom helping me make a paper mache grape costume or a foam rubber lock-and-key costume! As for DiY fashion, I think we are always looking for those rare or one of a kind items, and I wanted a type of scarf that I’d never seen before, so, I went home and made it!
What motivated you to start selling your designs and what were your expectations when you started?
I really didn’t set out to sell anything. I just wanted to make cute things for myself. Then I realized I had nearly a dozen different scarves that I was never wearing, so I decided to try to sell them and see if anybody wanted any. I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to do things half-way, so I also had my friends help me put together a hand-drawn but strangely cute website (which I am re-drawing myself and should be up before Christmas!). I’ve never really expected anything out of all this. I was already working my dream day-job in publishing, so I feel very lucky.
Do you have any formal training in fashion, art or design?
Nope. I’m an English Major! I think my weaknesses can be seen in my janky drawing skills.
Is Twinkie Chan your primary job? As of September of this year, and for right now, yes. I’m still trying to figure it all out, so it’s kind of new and exciting and stressful again!
How many people are behind the scenes at Twinkie Chan?
Basically just me! My brother is my new webmaster and my aforementioned bff is sort of my unofficial seamstress on some top secret projects, but as far as the crocheted and felted items, it’s all me for theTwinkieChan moment.
What are some of the best and worst aspects of being an independent designer?
It’s kind of scary because a lot of the time, I don’t know what the heck I am doing or if I’m making the right choices. Online communities are great for making friends and getting some advice, but you still feel like you’re on your own. Creative people are not necessarily business people, so every step is a learning process. But the best part is knowing that you created this neat thing mostly by yourself.
Where do you get inspiration for your designs? I’m mostly inspired by food, and food is everywhere! But I suppose my style is more cartoonish than realistic. I often say that I am inspired by cute stationery from Asia, but what also inspires my style is that I’m not a very advanced crocheter, so I need to break down familiar food images into basic shapes so that I can actually make them. Shhh. Don’t tell.
How would you describe your designs?
Cute, strange, colorful, and I hope sometimes funny.
Any advice for aspiring designers? People may disagree with me, but I think it’s important to find a niche instead of being a jack of all trades. I find this is helpful from a marketing aspect, so that your name is associated with a certain style, or a certain kind of garment/accessory/etc, at least in the beginning. I would also say to be prepared for a lot of hard work. Sure, it is fun, but if you are interested in making your art or craft go somewhere, it takes time and energy, and you can’t just talk about it and dream about it; you have to sit down TwinkieChanand do it, despite a full time job, or school, or wanting a social life! Except I think school is important…so, yeah, don’t screw that one up 😛
Do you have any interesting hobbies (outside of crochet/knitting)? These days I live crocheting, so I don’t really indulge in hobbies. I used to go bowling once a week with my dad. I was good! I have a fairly fancy camera and am interested in photography, but the fancy camera intimidates me! I’m addicted to looking at pictures of puppies at www.WizardOfClaws.com. I’m also part of a semi-regular Sunday Brunch Club, and I’m in search of the best silver dollar pancake in town.
One last question: Who was your first celebrity crush? Oh wow! It might have been Ricky Schroeder from Silver Spoons! I can’t recall any hot boys from Romper Room or 321 Contact…. Am I totally dating myself? In my more formative years, I was definitely a River Phoenix gal.

Want more?
Check out TwinkieChan’s designs on Ebay – TwinkieChan!

at her website – www.TwinkieChan.com

or say hello via myspacewww.myspace.com/twinkiechan


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