Welcome to Blue Bottles Boutique. My name is Kimberly Gough and I adore working with textiles. I love the feeling of them in my hands and even the smell of them! As a third-generation textile artist, I grew up watching my mother and grandmother sewing, embroidering, quilting, crocheting and knitting, turning everyday textiles into beautiful works of art. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of going to the fabric and yarn stores and looking at and touching all those wonderful raw materials. When I got old enough, my family lovingly shared their talents with me, and I soon recognized the value of making, wearing, and using unique quality items that were tailor-made just for me. I also saw how others cherished those one-of-a-kind gifts that I made for them, sometimes turning them into family heirlooms.
When I grew into an adult , I went to college and chose a “practical” career, which landed me in an office, working at a computer. That job paid the bills, but it was not nearly as satisfying as fashioning raw materials into something special. Years passed and I continued creating in my spare time, giving most items away to friends and family, who would frequently tell me that I should consider selling my creations. Each time, that suggestion would get me thinking of the possibilities, and I found myself looking on with envy as others spoke or wrote about following their passion and enjoying their work. I wanted that so badly, but there was always that nagging question in the back of my mind: If I did this full-time as a career, would I grow to hate what once was a favorite hobby?
Finally, in late 2019, I decided it was time to find out the answer to that question, so I took the leap of faith and quit my full-time job in order to open Blue Bottles Boutique on Etsy. At first, I really enjoyed designing and creating, and I was thrilled that customers loved my creations. Sales were great. The feedback was great. I even had my main product featured on national TV, but I soon discovered that to be successful on Etsy, you often had to create the same thing over and over and you get pigeon-holed into a specific creative realm. Next thing I knew it, I was creating just to earn an income rather than creating the things that my heart really desired to create. That was what I was afraid of when I started this journey. That is not what I wanted. I wanted to stretch myself and explore my creative abilities. I now truly understood the term “artistic freedom” and what that entails.
So I began thinking about how I could change what I was doing in order to both create what I wanted and earn a decent income at the same time. I had already been buying my supplies on the wholesale market, so I figured why not expand that part of the business and become a fabric reseller. I often take my inspiration from the supplies themselves, so having a large fabric collection around me would energize me and keep the ideas flowing, and I could spend every day in the happiest place on earth…no, not Disney…a fabric store! It has turned out to be the best decision of my life. Not only do I still love working with my hands and constantly challenge myself to try new techniques and think about textiles in ways I hadn’t before, but this avenue has presented me with wonderful opportunities to collaborate and share with other makers and to mentor new textile artists.
I really enjoy seeing how others use and combine textiles, and I like to hear about the projects created from all the fabric I send out every day, so please don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected] or post on my Facebook page (BBBoutiqueFL) and share your creations and your stories. I would love to hear from you.