Store Front: SwankyPlace Aprons and More, Elizabeth Callanta
ENJOY: How did you become interested in creating these types of products?
Elizabeth: Hubby and I are “full timers” living in our RV after retiring from our paying jobs. We had been discussing possibilities of what we could do to offset some of our expenses so we could do even more. In addition, I was looking for a hobby. Living in an RV.... well, let’s just say options are limited. We decided on craft shows. This would allow me to get creative on my own time and offset our travel expenses. We had no idea of what to sell/make, but we booked our first show anyway: An 8x8 booth for $25. Fast forward five years and here we are. The craft shows are behind us and we are settled in the Redding area. We still live in our RV but also have the luxury of a sewing studio, an online retail site, and, of course, Enjoy the Store. All of our designs are original.
ENJOY: When and how did this evolve from a hobby into a business for you?
Elizabeth: I grew up in the 1960s and ‘70s, when aprons were a staple in every kitchen and everything was made from scratch. Our first show was located in a small farming community, so aprons, to me, were an ideal product. So I dusted off my sewing machine and with the help of some too-cute chicken fabric, I whipped up a few vintage inspired aprons. I included a few potholders, dish towels, place mats, etc., by using the scraps and a few other simple details. We were a hit – who knew? We continued down this track for a couple of years. I would not trade the experience for the world. Although it was exhausting, we learned a lot, had a ton of fun, met a plethora of super cool people (some of whom we are still friends with today). We also got to see back road America first hand and visit with extended family. What more could a girl ask for?
ENJOY: Why do people enjoy your products so much?
Elizabeth: For most, the word “apron” conjures up all sorts of nostalgic memories. Yes, it makes us smile to reminisce, but lets be honest: Aprons are out of date and out of fashion. This is where I come in. The motivation of our craft show success, positive feedback and inspiration from today’s contemporary fabrics allowed me to take “ho hum” and turn it into “aha!” From the gourmet chef to the person serving up martinis, there is something for everybody.