We have a great lineup of Creative Features this month, and today I’m thrilled to introduce you to Czarina Nocon of Czarina’s Project – a line of vintage-inspired children’s apparel that is handmade in California. Czarina’s designs have a fun and modern 60’s vibe and are known for their comfort and wearability, in addition to great style. I’ve been a fan of Czarina’s for some time, so I was excited to feature her on the blog. Czarina is one of those people who seems to excel at everything creative – in addition to designing and sewing, she is also an accomplished portrait photographer, and all of the images in this post were taken by Czarina herself. Today, Czarina shares how she finds creative inspiration, how her side project turned into something more, and her recipe for a perfect Saturday (spoiler alert: it includes 80’s music and s’mores!). I hope you enjoy learning more about Czarina and Czarina’s Project.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in the Philippines and migrated to the US when I was 16. I’ve lived in Northern California ever since. I am a mom to two girls. My oldest will be 14 in June and my little one will be 6 next month.
My love of photography started about five years ago when my brother talked me into buying a DSLR. He owned a 5D Mark II. He told me to get a Canon too so we could share lenses. And I did! My first camera was a T1i and then quickly upgraded to a 7D.
I also learned how to crochet and knit, then later on sew for my youngest girl. It was mostly a hobby at first, but later on turned into a small business. I still work full time in a corporate office, so my time is not fully dedicated to sewing. I release one or two garments periodically.
How did you get your start designing children’s clothing, and how did you end up where you are now?
Czarina’s Project started last year. I was still learning how to sew and was working on small projects. I made some newborn headbands and bonnets at first, then started making DSLR camera strap covers. After a couple of months, I started designing my own fabric and sewing organic cotton leggings. The organic cotton leggings pretty much kick started Czarina’s Project. I was staying up late at nights and sewing on the weekends just to keep up with orders. But I was still trying to find exactly what I wanted. I started making dresses, which is the reason why I learned how to sew in the first place. I now have a couple of simple designs that imitate the feel of the 60’s vibe with a modern twist, that are currently available in my webshop. I also just released a new dress for spring.
How have you integrated your love for photography into your business?
I am grateful I have some knowledge in photography. It just makes it look more polished and professional when I post the items in my shop. I also would think that it saved me some moolah, not having to hire a photographer to take professional photos of my garments.
Your daughter seems to be your favorite model. What does she think about all of this?
Ha! She is! She hates trying the dresses on though, and then taking photos. You know, the photographer child syndrome always kicks in.
Which accomplishment are you most proud of?
I had one or two of my photos featured a while back, when I used to take photos every week and join in on photo sharing challenges. Also, having my garments bought and seeing them on kids other than mine feels gratifying.
What inspires you?
My daughters do, mostly my littlest one! Just because she still has that playful childish spirit. She’s polite, fun and I would say very creative.
What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday morning?
Sleeping in! Yessss for extra hours of sleep! Ha! And of course spending time with my family. Lately, we’ve devoted our weekends to exploring the trails and riding our bikes, listening to 80’s music on YouTube while making s’mores in our yard, and just watching a movie before bed time. I would not spend it any other way.
Do you have any advice for living a creative life?
Try new things and don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it quite right the first time.
Where can we find more of your work?
I have a photography blog at purplesheepphotography.com. I need to pick up my camera more and post more recent photos. Then there’s the Czarina’s Project webshop, and you can also find me on Instagram @czarinasproject.
Czarina is currently offering an exclusive promotion for Daisy Tribe readers. Use promo code DAISYTRIBE10 for 10% off your entire order anytime before January 25, 2015.
Thanks for sharing with us, Czarina! I love your enthusiasm and your light-hearted approach to business and life. I hope you’ll all check out Czarina’s webshop and social media to follow along as her business grows.