I know that many of you had a merry holiday season with a fair share of good food and delicious drinks, but I hope you're not full just yet. There's always room for dessert and pie is always on point -- BeanpYe that is.
As I surfed the web a few weeks ago, I came across fellow BG Sabrina Thompson's jewelry line, BeanpYe (www.beanpye.com). I was immediately drawn to her beautiful and ornate bracelets, earrings and embellished blazers. The extremely unique name, BeanpYe, which was actually Sabrina's childhood nickname reflects her creative and cutting-edge designs.
With stylish, one-of-a-kind hand-made jewelry and custom-embellished blazers, BeanpYe is sure to satisfy your fashion appetite. Check out my Q&A with Sabrina:
Prior to officially launching BeanpYe in 2005, were you working in fashion?
Nope. I was a television producer working with several major networks in NYC.
BGG:What inspired/motivated you to start BeanpYe?
Sabrina: Several things…the fact that I knew I had a God given talent of crafting things with my hands and it was literally sitting there going to waste because I wasn’t using it. Also, the fact that I was tired of shopping and finding the same old generic looks. I don’t shop at the Gap or Banana Republic type of stores because they are ordinary. I feel that no one person is ordinary so why look ordinary? We all have a special spark or uniqueness about us. Why not create something for the people that express that?
BGG:What does the BeanpYe brand include?
Sabrina: Bold and ornate custom designed jewelry is what Beanpye is known for. Also, by special requests I will create custom designed blazers for men, women and children.
BGG:What three words best describe BeanpYe?
Sabrina: Fearless, funky and exclusive
BGG:Describe the BeanpYe customer.
Sabrina: A confident and unconventional person who approaches life with an avante garde, confident and multidimensional outlook on life. They range from industry executives to young college and high school students. My customers simply aren’t afraid to go against the grain and express themselves through the medium of art.
BGG:What gets your creative juices flowing when designing a piece?
Sabrina: A hot track with a dope baseline from any artist who doesn’t sound generic…some examples…Outkast, Erykah Badu, John Mayer, Nina Simone and more. Also, anything that is moving…the sounds or sight of water, a washing machine, subway, kids playing…
BGG:Has making clothes and jewelry always been your passion?
Sabrina: No. Actually it’s tied roughly about 4th or 5th on my list. First comes working with kids, 2nd writing/composing songs, 3rd is sports, 4th and 5th is creating eclectic social events and fashion.
BGG:Is all of your jewelry handmade? If so, what materials do you use? Sabrina: Yes it’s all either handmade or hand painted. I use everything ranging from acrylic paint, feathers, brass, turquoise, ivory, oak wood to indigenous stones from West Africa.
BGG:What fabrics do you use to create your blazers?
Sabrina: Wool, tweed, polyester & silk blends. However, let’s be clear…I only embellish blazers. I will take a blazer that has already been crafted and basically revamp it (changing the lining, buttons, outward appearance) to make it a one of a kind.
BGG: Is any of your merchandise sold in stores/boutiques? If so where? Also, do you foresee opening your own boutique in the near future?
Sabrina: Actually, as for now…it is an online boutique. I am looking into a few stores to showcase it in only for a limited time in 2008 in New York City; however, I have no visions of opening up a boutique. We are living in an age of major technology and many things are done in cyberspace. It’s all about keeping overhead low and keeping the product really exclusive. So far the online access and communication has been working out just great!
BGG:What celebrities have worn and/or requested your merchandise?
Sabrina: India.arie, Alicia Keys, Vivica Fox, Anthony Hamilton, Regina King, Nas, and new pop sensation Keri Hilson. Also, countless news anchors and entertainment correspondents on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, BET, FOX, E!, Court TV, CNN and HGTV.
BGG:What do you want your customers to feel when they buy your jewelry/blazers?
Sabrina: Energized, youthful and daring...like they are the best thing since sliced bread!
BGG:What advice would you give to a fellow BG who wants to start her own jewelry/fashion business?
Sabrina: Keep it simple and don’t over think it. Also, you don’t need a fortune to start your company. I started with roughly $350 and I learned out to be resourceful, yet creative! Don’t get bogged down with tons of business plans. I’ve never been one to write down my goals. I keep them in my head because while I’m busy writing it on paper…someone is busy physically making it happen. Keep your goals high yet obtainable and chip away at it week by week. Also, give yourself a break when you need it and remember if it’s YOUR business…the only pressure you put on yourself is the pressure you create. Be easy and have fun!
BGG:I noticed on your website that you travel to different cities across the country showcasing BeanpYe, do you have any upcoming events where BGs can find your merchandise?
Sabrina: As of now, I am finalizing my summer calendar. Being that I am an educator in the NYC school system, I leave my summers free to travel with BeanpYe. I am looking to do several festivals and private show-casings around the country in 08. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for interviewing me!