Meet Drift & Nest

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I remember how leading up to the Moonrise Creative's Market in Victoria the thing I was most looking forward to was meeting some of the makers I had been following. Drift & Nest was high up on that list - I love the simplicity of Elissa's designs, which allow the traditional patterns of the vintage textiles she uses to be the focal point. From clutches to pillows and table runners, her pieces are uniquely beautiful while being extremely functional. They are quickly becoming some of my favourites in my own home, and I'm sure you will love them as well. I also love that she is upfront about how she is figuring out her business as she goes - I know I definitely am, and it's nice to know I'm not alone.

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Tell us a bit about what you do & how you got started.

I make pillows and zippered pouches (and sometimes some other things!) using beautiful, well-traveled textiles that we have collected. Drift and Nest was created to be a creative outlet as well as a place to showcase and sell things that we had collected while traveling or made ourselves. I really got into sewing and creating after buying a bunch of gorgeous handwoven Guatemalan textiles a couple of years ago. I kept staring at them on my shelf for the better part of a year, thinking, “what the heck am I going to do with all this beautiful goodness?” Then I watched some YouTube videos on how to sew, pulled out my sewing machine that I had had for years without ever using, and started sewing! I went in a few markets last fall and winter and opened my Etsy shop last December.

What is your philosophy?

Hmmm, I’m not sure I really have one. I’m just flying by the seat of my pants and am happy that people are liking what I’m making.

Why pillows, clutches & textiles?

I started making pillows at first because I found them the most unintimidating for someone who had limited experience with sewing! Straight lines = easy peasy…or so I thought, haha. It’s definitely been a learning curve. I also wanted to make pillows because they are able to add that little pop of colour or texture to any room. You could change a whole room with one or two eye-catching pillows. And I love that. Zippered clutches came next as a way to use up smaller pieces of fabric; people have been loving them so I’m still making them. I do sell some textiles as large pieces, mainly because I can’t bear to cut them up because of their intricate designs or beauty. These could be used for tablecloths, wall hangings, or throws for a couch or bed.

How do you source the materials for your textiles?

A whole bunch of ways. I obviously prefer to do it ourselves when we’re traveling! Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to travel that much over the last couple of years so we’ve been relying on family and friends to hunt stuff down for us (which, thankfully, they don’t seem to mind doing!). Flea markets in the US are generally good for finding cool, old textiles from around the world, but even at home, we’ve had good luck at times with our local second hand shops. We’re hoping to get away this winter, but have yet to decide on a location (I say Mexico/Central America, hubby says Thailand/Indonesia…either way we will definitely be sourcing amazing goodies while we’re gone!).

Why do you use vintage textiles rather than new?

Vintage textiles are generally my favourite because of their history, colours, textures, amazingness. But I have used some gorgeous newly woven textiles as well – I have a couple of beautiful Cham pieces from Vietnam as well as some different ikats and batiks from Thailand and Indonesia.

What do you hope your products will add to the homes they end up in?

I hope they add some joy! And I hope that people appreciate the craftsmanship and skill that go into some of the handwoven and hand-dyed textiles. Some Guatemalan huipiles (traditional blouse or shirt) take MONTHS to make. It’s amazing and I’m awestruck by the time, commitment, and obvious love that go into these textiles.

What has been your favourite thing you’ve made?

I made a pillow out of the shoulder section of a vintage Guatemalan huipil that I absolutely adored. It sold quickly at a market and I immediately regretted not keeping it for myself. Live and learn!

Biggest reward being an entrepreneur? Biggest struggle?

Biggest reward I’d say is seeing people genuinely stoked on their purchases. The biggest struggle for me is setting aside time regularly to check in on things business-wise and make sure that I’m restocking my inventory and growing my brand.

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What advice do you have for those starting their own endeavours?

Start small but do it. Even if it scares the shit out of you.

What is your ultimate goal, both personally and professionally?

I want to raise my son to be a kind and thoughtful person. He’s 3, so keeping him healthy and happy is the ultimate (albeit exhausting) goal at the moment! Business-wise, I’d like to be a good human and run a successful small business that brings some happiness into other peoples lives. Bonus if it keeps me busy and happy!

How do you define success?

Success looks different everyday. Whether I’m learning something new, meeting new business contacts, creating new product, making someone super happy because of their gorgeous new pillow, or just getting out of my pajamas by noon…all of those things add up to success to me!

What inspires you?

Oh man, so many things! The colours of nature, the sea and the trees. We’re living in such an incredible part of the world right now (Vancouver Island) that I literally can look at my window most days to get some inspiration. That being said, rainy season hasn’t hit yet! Ha! My mood may change drastically in a month. Also, I can get lost on Instagram and Pinterest for wayyyy too long because there are so many amazingly creative people out there doing cool stuff.

How are you trying to make a difference in our world?

Making peoples homes a bit more beautiful? That’s making a difference, right?!

How do you find balance? What does balance look like to you?

I stay home with our son most days while my partner works at his own company. Balance is definitely a challenge some days/weeks…as any parent of a young child who also has a million things on their to-do list can attest to, I’m sure! But we’re making it work.

What do you feel is the most important thing in life?

Family, health, happiness.

What does slow or mindful living mean to you?

Being aware of this planet and all that she gives to us. Being aware of the people around you and how your actions could affect them.