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NorthcottWilson's Profile

About

Click here to enter my shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NorthcottWilson
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UPDATE: I'm in the process of separating my supplies (yarn, sari ribbon, felted beads) from my handcrafted handbags. My handbags will soon be listed in my new shop, jholajulie.etsy.com.
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Welcome to my Etsy shop! I'm a fashion designer and artist who used to be a statistician. An odd combination, I know. I grew up in a very rural New England town and learned how to operate an antique treadle sewing machine at age 4. But although I loved sewing from the very first stitch, for years I felt embarrassed about the fact that I made my own clothes - I would have much preferred to have "store-bought" clothes like the other kids in school. If only Project Runway could have been invented earlier... but to be honest, I wouldn't have known about it anyway since we didn't have a TV…

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  • Joined August 19, 2008

Shop

About

Click here to enter my shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NorthcottWilson
-------------
UPDATE: I'm in the process of separating my supplies (yarn, sari ribbon, felted beads) from my handcrafted handbags. My handbags will soon be listed in my new shop, jholajulie.etsy.com.
--------------
Welcome to my Etsy shop! I'm a fashion designer and artist who used to be a statistician. An odd combination, I know. I grew up in a very rural New England town and learned how to operate an antique treadle sewing machine at age 4. But although I loved sewing from the very first stitch, for years I felt embarrassed about the fact that I made my own clothes - I would have much preferred to have "store-bought" clothes like the other kids in school. If only Project Runway could have been invented earlier... but to be honest, I wouldn't have known about it anyway since we didn't have a TV. So off to college I went, determined to become a successful career woman. And I did - and was reasonably happy as a statistician. Then one day I opened the newspaper and saw photos of university students' senior fashion show. I was amazed - you can get a degree in fashion design? It's an actual career? So back to school I went for another Master's degree.

My co-workers thought I was crazy to give up a solid, sensible career for the uncertainties of the artistic world. But I landed a job with a small, growing apparel company and at least for a while, it was wonderful. Seeing my designs turn into thousands of garments was almost magical. Of course, it's not magical at all, much of what happens behind the scenes is quite dreadful. As I climbed the company ladder and traveled the globe, I saw more and more of the real fashion world, behind all the glamour - and it wasn't pretty.

At first I thought I could change things, but it was a losing battle. Management did not want to hear my concerns about conditions in overseas factories, or any other ethical issues, nor did they share my belief that high quality products and excellent customer service were the keys to maintaining our customer base in the difficult economic times that hit the apparel industry hard post-9/11. We went the other way - cutting staff, substituting cheaper fabrics and trims, and moving production from established, reputable factories to facilities located in countries with cheaper labor and less stringent environmental and human rights laws. I was embarrassed and ashamed... and after a lot of difficult soul-searching, walked away from my dream job.

I considered returning to statistics, but I could barely imagine working in an office whose filing cabinets are full of paper rather than swatches and buttons. Nor did I want to abandon all the connections I'd made in the fashion industry. So in 2006, I founded Northcott Wilson Artisans. I personally design and create all the accessories and art in my Etsy shop. Many of my products are made from recycled silk yarn, which I purchase from a women's collective in Kathmandu. The collective spins more yarn than I can use myself, so I also sell their yarn in my shop - it's top-quality, fair trade yarn and it's priced at wholesale levels. Your purchase of this yarn helps the women who spin it escape a life of poverty, and gives them the means to send their children to school, which is not free in Nepal. I strongly support their efforts to improve Nepal's dismal literacy rate and to move towards a democratic government. But I feel that it is extremely inappropriate to interfere with their long-established Hindu faith; unlike some Americans, who deeply offended these women by mocking their thousand-year-old temple as a humorous primitive relic, I never have and never will attempt to convert them to a different religion.

I hope you enjoy my shop! Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

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