The blog of Hannah Robinson, artist, illustrator and graphic designer.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Interview - 5th September 2011

Welcome, Louise Armitage!
Hello all, it's with great excitement that I unveil my first interview with Yorkshire-based crafter Louise Armitage, otherwise known as Gini's Boutique on Etsy. As some of you may know, I like a bit of crafting, sewing and illustration being my main outlets, as well as a cheeky bit of fimo here and there. It's a real pleasure to be involved with crafting communities like Folksy and Etsy, there are so many superb, unique objects to be found, and lots of lovely people. So I was thrilled when Louise contacted me off the forums, offering to be my first interviewee.
Not only does Gini's Boutique offer something truly unique in the form of her Dorset Buttons, but the main thing that struck me was her gift for photography, she just has that knack of showing her creations in the best light. My personal favourite of all her items is this beautiful bookmark - check out the colours and the workmanship, it's exquisite. Although it may not be there for much longer if you know what I mean, so click on this link sharpish while you can...
In the meantime, make yourself comfortable for the interview!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Louise Armitage, I’m 38 and I run an Etsy shop called Gini’s Boutique. I live in Yorkshire, England with my partner and my 2 year old daughter and I’m currently a stay at home mum. I sell all sorts of things in my shop from jewellery to baby gifts. I wanted to give a feel of browsing a little boutique gift shop and appeal to many different types of customers. My shop’s name is my nickname, Gini, which is short for ginger, my hair colour. I’ve been called it by my friends and family since a teenager. I like it, it’s a bit more individual than Louise. 

How long have you been crafting?
All my life! There’s never been a time that I can’t remember making things for myself and others. I still have a few Sindy doll clothes I made in the 70s! It’s an addiction with me, I can’t imagine life without being able to create. I even remember at ballet school collecting all the sequins that had fallen off costumes backstage and taking them home to make them into something else.
My studio is in our study at home and it’s packed to the roof with everything a crafter could ever want. You ask me to make it and I’ll surely have the materials to do it! And I love trying out new crafts, my items are always evolving and changing. I never get artist block, there’s too many things to try to run out of ideas.
Clearly crafting is a passion of yours, what else do you love to do?
Definitely reading, I was a Librarian before I had my daughter, but my house has always looked like a library. I think I picked up the passion for books from my father, there were always books everywhere at home. I have hundreds of books in all sorts of subjects. Fictionwise I like kidult, fantasy, medieval mysteries and science fiction.
I also watch a lot of films. We have a home cinema and generally watch two or three films every week. 

Looking at your shop, you seem to specialise in Dorset buttons. What made you settle on this intricate little niche?
Me and Dorset buttons just clicked. I can’t say why but I just really love making them. I saw an article in a craft magazine years ago of some very simple Dorset buttons and had a go myself. I was instantly hooked. I soon worked out that I could design and make much more intricate patterns and use different threads to give different effects. I even got in touch with an old lady from Dorset who shared a couple of patterns with me. I thought that it’s a shame to keep them just as buttons for garments when they could look so nice as earrings, necklaces, bag charms, brooches etc.
I am very proud of the quality and variety of the buttons I create and (not to be big headed) but I think that I knock the socks of the other few people who have Dorset buttons on Etsy. It’s nice to have something that’s not saturated in the Etsy market too, no one else makes them into type of things I do.
And lastly they are such a portable craft that they go everywhere with me, I always have a button on the go tucked in my pocket, one day you may see me weaving a button at the bus stop, in a cafĂ©, in the park……

What advice would you give to people wanting to set up shop on Etsy?
Mmmm... I would say there’s a few things you need to do to make a start on a successful shop. Firstly make sure you have your shop name right before you sign up because you can’t change it once you’ve filled out the form, even if you only intend to buy to start with. Secondly your photographs have to be good quality. Imagine you were buying the item yourself, would you buy your item if you couldn’t see the whole product or see the quality up close? You don't even have to have an expensive camera. It took me quite a long time to learn how to do this, but it's worth it in the end. Thirdly it’s always good to have a unique product that no one else is selling but you need to bring attention to it. It can be time consuming but getting yourself known is key. Join teams, have a facebook fan page, get featured on blogs, get some business cards and leaflets printed, sign up to the newsletters and take advise from other Etsians, it all helps.

And lastly… TV/movie star crush?
Now you got me there! I had to think about this one, erm, I would say possibly Johnny Depp, he’s still dishy even at 48. Although in real life I would say my lovely other half. Even after nearly twenty years he’s still the perfect man for me. Aw!

Thank you Louise for taking the time to be interviewed. Don't forget to swing by her shop and take a look for yourself! If you are an artist/maker and you would like to be interviewed on this blog, simply get in touch.


  1. Great interview- and I love the Dorset buttons. I'd never heard of them but they are stunning!and it's nice to see something that looks like it takes as long as some of my work!
    I'd love to be interviewed on here and I look forward to reading about more crafters
    You can find me here:
    Kate x

  2. Really interesting, and I adore the Dorset buttons too, despite loving crafts I had never heard of them before! I am will follow your blog now.

    I would love to be interviewed in the future, I am a fine artist/illustrator/printmaker/art tutor. My shop on Folksy is here:

    Michele x

  3. What a great interview, I've never heard of Dorset buttons ( a trip to Google is needed I think!) And the bookmark is gorgeous.


  4. great article I'd also love to be featured one day

  5. Nice interview. I like the bright feeling of your blog. Louise, you have some lovely photographs of your work.
    I'm a jewellery maker, I would like to be featured one day ... :)

  6. Thanks everyone, I'll make a note of you all and get back to you. I'm really looking forward to interviewing again!

  7. Neat buttons, fun interview! I love how you used to pick up sequins backstage. I would SO do that!

  8. Beautiful interview...very well done! I too would love to be interviewed on your wonderful blog:)

  9. I really loved this interview and your blog in general! (I am now following) I would be really interested in being interviewed. I am new to crafting over the past year and mainly work with felt! If you think you would like to include me in your fab blog, my contact details are: /