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Meet Karen O’Leary of Blue Tapestry Baby in Needham

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen O’Leary.

Karen, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The way my business started was with the idea of sharing my creative talents with others on a larger scale. Honing in on exactly how I wanted to share those gifts was a little bit more tricky. Was I going to write? Was I going to do graphic design? I started with design first and that lead me into the direction of fabric. I was fortunate enough to have a co-worker, who saw my talent, take time to work with me on bringing my gift to the surface. Instilling the confidence need to take risks with your art on a larger platform. Upon rediscovering the textile medium, I quickly felt at home. Fabric was not new to me by any means. My maternal grandmother travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to America from Italy as a young girl. She worked in a sweatshop in East Boston, MA. My mother is also a gifted sewist. Luckily, I was taught to sew when I was younger, so revisiting it was not too difficult. I love to learn. Therefore, I was up for any challenge I was going to face on this journey. I knew I had the resourcefulness to find the answers. I worked for a bit of time making different items. Not entirely passionate about my initial items, I had to continue to work, think and listen to what was being presented to me. There was a great deal of exploration around the question of, what to make? So, with some soul searching and a request for a bib from a friend, I was able to discover or possibly uncover my lane. Thus, leading me to making products for little ones. This really is completely satisfying for me. It swells my heart to know my products can fulfill a need for a parent and their child or children. I would say that it was in the moments of quiet and discovering more about myself that I was able to use my creative gifts in a way that is most meaningful to the world. In my creative mind, my journey is just at the inception. I am excited for new fabrics and more creative ideas to evolve. Creativity is definitely a process that continues to flow down wonderful and intriguing paths.

Has it been a smooth road?
The struggles I have faced would be similar to someone learning a new skill from scratch. I look at everything as a science experiment with rainbow colors. My ideas and concepts have been tried some have been well received while others may not have resonated with me, in that, I do not feel excited about making that product so I leave it behind. I continue to move onto the next idea or project without looking back. I love mixing fabrics in terms or both texture and design. I am extremely partial to how a fabric feels and the feelings the texture emotes. Having a son with sensory processing disorder with a particular resistance to many tactile materials, my awareness is heightened. I encourage him to experience how soft the dimple minky fabric is on the back of my bibs as well as the organic knit cottons I use for some of my items. I, myself, also love to feel fabric and look for fabrics that have a feel of comfort, a soothing quality. I am also partial to organic fabrics for babies because of the natural qualities both represent. The fabric should feel fresh and soft like a newborn baby.

Also, with learning a new skill there is a learning curve with learning how to market your business so the general public knows what you are offering. Fortunately for me, I have been able to find great people to surround myself with who support my vision no matter how preposterous some ideas may sound. They are willing to walk on that journey with me to see in what manner it all unravels.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Blue Tapestry Baby story. Tell us more about the business.
My company is a woman owned and operated handmade business specializing in making premium baby products. At Blue Tapestry Baby, we sew baby bibs, burp cloths, bunny ear teething rings and baby blankets. We are offering a few new products which are baby pants and baby shorties. I am certain there will be more to come. We are known mostly for our quality of craftsmanship and our cool funky fabric patterns. I love pairing patterns that feel unexpected, but ultimately create a new unique style. Children are born with their own uniqueness and personality and we try to capture that in our fabric offerings.

What I am most proud of as a company is twofold. First is offering handmade products that we truly believe in. Products that fulfill a need for a parent while allowing their child to stand out and be their unique selves. Self-expression and creativity are hallmarks for my company. Secondly, I am most proud of the family aspect of my business, working alongside my mother, and modeling for my children that with creativity, perseverance and high quality standards, anything is possible.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
My hope for the handmade industry is that it will continue to grow and flourish. Also, the importance of moving away from mass production of clothes will change and shift to producing less waste and small batch unique products.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Picture of me LJR Images
Product Photos Portrait Simple

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