100,000 strong and growing
An interview with Lillian Crowe
Nearly five years ago
Big Cartel set
out to help artists make a
what they love
It started out with our friends’ bands, then to tee-shirt designers we knew, then to jewelry makers, and very quickly our little project had started to spread all over the world. On August 17th 2010, we opened our 100,000th store. It was a major milestone for us, and we wanted to learn more about the artist who sent the counter over the edge. This is the story of Lillian Crowe, the 100,000th Big Cartel store.
Lillian Crowe grew up in Manhattan and, being the daughter of performing artists, inherited a creative mind and many talents. Performing as a child at the Metropolitan Opera House, she learned to appreciate costumes, fabrics, and the charming details involved in fashion. As a kid, she thoughtfully dressed herself in particular outfits, giving special attention to her rule of “no black.” She soaked in the culture expanding around her on the streets of New York, and kept a close eye on the city’s style landscape. She developed a gift for hand-crafted work during one of her early projects where she spent months sewing sequins, one by one, onto a pair of stretchy pants. The process rendered the pants unwearable, but gave her motivation to create her own pieces to suite her specific style.
She continued to enjoy fashion and later enrolled in fashion school, studying pattern making and draping. She knew she wanted to create her own clothing line, but realized early on she needed to start small.
Her inspiration came from her love of museum relics & the curious stories that these old artifacts would tell. She loved to walk around and contemplate the history behind these items, and what brought them to the museum.
She had ideas for jewelry that had similarities with these relics but couldn’t find anything that came close to her concepts. So she taught herself to sculpt wax, make molds, and reclaim old jewelry hardware, and she started her own line of simple, easy to wear, statement pieces.
Her business mind stepped in and started setting goals and she began selling her pieces at craft fairs and festivals. She was pleased that she could keep in touch with her customers, adjust necklace lengths, and see what types of metal people were responding to, all at the same time. She wanted to grow her business, so she approached some stores about carrying her work. She had some retail success, and the feeling of receiving orders, and crafting pieces to fill those orders, was both very comforting and efficient. The next step was building her own store. She started selling pieces online as she continued to grow her retail presence and, as sales grew, she was able to turn her efforts to her jewelry line full-time.
In celebration of Lillian opening up the 100,000th Big Cartel store, we sent her a uniquely branded and delicious treat.
With a list of objectives, and a brand identity developing, she turned to Big Cartel to help her present an image of professionalism, while maintaining her ability to customize her store and establish her own look.
Lillian loves what she does, and sees real potential in personal, thoughtful goods created by local artists. In a world of clients, 9 to 5 headaches, and job satisfaction being sacrificed for a paycheck, the simple fact that Lillian can work out of her studio and make
a living is something we at Big Cartel will forever champion. Everything we put our heart into is dedicated to helping artists like Lillian follow their passions, and meeting Lillian makes us that much more excited to help the artists, musicians, writers, designers, and crafters behind the next 100,000 stores. We can’t wait to meet with you.
We love you
Photography by Amy Angelo