Interview Series | The Sara Initiative

Two cheers for Sara of The Sara Initiative, this week our featured interviewee!Screen Shot 2012-12-06 at 9.40.15 PM

KH: Give us a little bio/description of yourself. Where you grew up, what you do, etc.
I am a born/raised Iowan!  I grew up in a tiny town called Beech.  In fact “town” might be overstating things, it was a more like a collection of farm houses on a gravel road.  By my teen years we’d moved to the ‘burbs and I’ve more or less lived around the Des Moines area ever since (minus my short term stints in Florida and Portland).  I worked in insurance for about ten years but eventually grew tired of the cubicle life and for the last year I have been crafting and sewing full time.
KH: What inspired you to start The Sara Initiative?
In short, long cold Iowa winters.  It was about 5 years ago, and I remember it being an especially bad winter – ice storms and a lot of snow fall – I found myself suffering from cabin fever and needing to do something with my hands.  I started making all kinds of things and eventually had so much that I needed to sell it in order to make room in my house!  So in 2008 I opened The Sara Initiative on Etsy.
KH: Your stuff is at Cup O Kryptonite! Sweet! What can we expect to see when we go there?
Cup is now carrying my line of Superhero Pillows!  They are pillows that I’ve made from superhero t-shirts that I’ve either found via thrifting, or have been donated to me, so they are truly one of a kind, never to be made again.  They are moderately priced and make great gifts, and kids love them.  I try to go with the “big names” – Spiderman, Batman, Captain America, etc.  Right now they’re only carrying a small number at a time (3-4 pillows) due to space issues, but they’re intending to build me some shelving so I can have a whole wall of products.
Screen Shot 2012-12-06 at 9.40.40 PM
KH: What motivates you to create? Have you always been crafting things? I love your pillows!
I wouldn’t say that I’ve always been a crafter, but I have always been artistically and creatively inclined.  As a kid I was always drawing, painting, and writing stories, and then eventually got into doing a lot of photography and writing as a teen and in my early 20s.  I guess I’ve always pushed for some type of creative outlet, which I have my parents to thank for I think.  They both really love and appreciate art in all it’s forms, so it was very much something they encouraged and raised me with.  When I discovered the sewing machine though in my late 20s things really started to change!  The creative possibilities just continue to be endless.  I could make my own clothes, create fabric/textile art, functional art via home decor, I have new ideas all the time.
KH: When you go to the grocery store, what are your must-haves?
I can’t go to the store and NOT go through all the different cheeses.  Sometimes I leave realizing I bought 7 different kinds of cheese and have no plan whatsoever.  I buy a LOT of coffee beans, and I always buy the organic, fair trade coffee beans.  And always dark roast.  Lately I’ve discovered these savory tortas that Gateway Market carries, Ines Rosales imported from Spain.  They are fantastic used as crackers with all the cheese I buy.
KH: What is your spirit animal?
Ha!  I’m not sure that I have one.  Someone once told me it was the crow, which seems a bit dark, though they are really smart… and they do like a free meal, so maybe that works after all, haha!
KH: How can we find you online? Where can we see more of your stuff and buy it? 
My Etsy store is www.thesarainitiative.etsy.com, and you can find a lot of my work on The Sara Initiative Facebook page.  The Facebook page also catalogs a lot of the custom work I’ve done for people – so it can be a great way to get ideas for anyone wanting something special done just for them.  And I generally give ‘sneak peaks’ of new items on my Facebook page, so it’s good to watch there – a lot of people call ‘dibs’ on new items and they don’t even make it into my Etsy store!  Superhero pillows can be found in my Etsy store and at Cup O’Kryptonite in Beaverdale.  When Market Day starts back up in the spring I will be there too!Screen Shot 2012-12-06 at 9.40.29 PM
KH: You also do commissioned work too. How can someone order something? And what was your most favorite piece you’ve done?
I do a lot of commissioned work and I recommend people contact me through my Etsy, Facebook, or email and we can discuss what they’re interested in!  I can also be coerced out of the house to discuss over coffee.  I love doing custom orders so it’s hard to pick a favorite!  What I’m working on right now might take the cake though – I was commissioned to do a crochet replica of the Doctor Who scarf from the 70s – it will be an epic 11 feet long!
KH: When you aren’t creating, how do you spend your time? Drinking coffee?? Ha
Oh man, that’s really it!!  Haha!  Okay, aside from drinking coffee I spend a lot of time socializing with friends, walking my dog, watching Netflix with my BFF, having “craft parties” and most Saturday/Sunday mornings you can find me at Zanzibar’s reading this weeks comics.  Soon I will also be spending time helping out at New World Cafe, which is an all vegan cafe that opens in the East Village next week.  As you can tell, I keep myself busy!
KH: What’s your favorite part of Christmas?
All the lights, having an excuse to spend more time with friends, and ALL the food!  And maybe eggnog.  Eggnog is pretty swell.
Click to find Sara and grab yourself some one of a kind pillows! I’ve also seen Sara wearing really rad shirts she’s made, so I know that you can you ask her about creating anything! So do it!
If you or someone you know would be interested in being interviewed for my series, please contact me to see if you fit the bill!
Want to see who else we’ve featured?
Charlotte Dudley – artist – Des Moines, Iowa
Michael Walker – musician – Austin, Texas
Mercedes Yardley – author – Las Vegas
Daniel Batallés – photographer – Buenos Aires, Argentina
iron leaf press – designing, letterpress, Danielle Ameling – Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Jerri Valentine – makeup artist/photographer – Des Moines, Iowa
My Vicarious Life – fashion blogger, editor, Katrice – Atlanta, Georgia
Body By Svec – artist, Emily Svec – Des Moines, Iowa
808 Shirts – screenprinters, Tampa Bay, Florida
Sara Fakhraie – artist, South Dakota
Wesley Cook (donate to his kickstarter project) – musician, Atlanta, Georgia
Brolester Records, Jeremiah Tuhn, record label – Des Moines, Iowa
Atom St. George – artist, Riverside, California
John Eric Booth – vocalist, West Virginia
Brent Houzenga – artist, New Orleans
Adrienne Gross of justADG – photographer, Des Moines, Iowa
Harley May – writer and comic, The South
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