Amy Cluck Paints Sacramento Pink
Words by Liz Franco
Who’s pink, hip, local and sews a mean pillow? Amy Cluck from Peptogirl Industries, that’s who. Amy has been involved with the Sacramento indie scene for several years and doesn’t let the economy—which cost her her job—get in the way of her ability to constantly think up ways to bring out our community’s creative side. As a blogger, Etsy entrepreneur and Web designer, Amy continues to take the D.I.Y. world by storm. Self-described as “stylish and girly,” her style utilizes different hues, textures and media to express her love of creating. She’s come a long way from giving her work away as family Christmas gifts and plans are in the works to expand her personal business even further.
From jewelry to embroidery patterns, there’s little this bubbly businesswoman can’t construct. Her candy-colored designs and ingenuity have not gone unnoticed, as she has been recruited by craft queen herself Elsie Flannigan to guest blog over on the ever-popular A Beautiful Mess.
Amy is also the pink brain behind IndieSacramento, a creative hub where designers and art lovers alike can partake in showcasing and taking home handmade treasures. You can also find her at 21st and K streets every Second Saturday through October for Park Your Art, another vendor-driven arts & craft event. Thanks to social media outlets like Twitter and the blogosphere, the crafting community continues to grow, and Amy has a hand in getting the word out locally and is helping to put Sacramento on the map of creative cities. Read on to find out why buttons and stitches aren’t the only things up her sleeve, and how Amy is well on her way to becoming Sacramento’s very own Martha Stewart.
How long have you lived in Sacramento and what do you do?
I’ve lived in Sacramento all my life. I previously worked as a Web developer for a small company, but they began having financial troubles and I was laid off. I’m currently looking for work, and I’ve also been working to develop my business (Peptogirl Industries).
Tell us about Peptogirl Industries and your obsession with the color pink! Ã‚Â
I’ve always loved the color pink and was given the nickname “Peptogirl” when I was in college. When I decided to start selling my handmade jewelry in 2005, I knew right away what my business name would be. To this day, I think the color pink really encompasses my style (and that of my business), which is girly and fun. I was brought up making handmade Christmas gifts for family members so I’ve been crafty pretty much my whole life.
Where did you learn to do all this amazing stuff?
In high school and college, art and design was always my main focus. As far as jewelry making, I’m mostly self-taught. I learn new techniques by either looking it up online or taking a class. I make a variety of products and I use a lot of vintage supplies/other items not usually associated with jewelry. I make button necklaces and necklaces using vintage spools of thread. I’m just getting into hair accessories now, so I’m hoping to get some of those listed in my online shop soon. The other main products that I offer are embroidery patterns and kits. I draw the patterns myself and am hoping to expand the products that I offer in terms of illustration.
How did you get the idea for IndieSacramento? Is it a one-woman show or do you have a team of supporters?
IndieSacramento began as a one-woman show in December of 2007. I had participated in a few Bay Area shows that specifically catered to a hip and fashionable crowd. Knowing the amazing amount of talent we have in Sacramento, I wanted to start an event like that here. Cities like Austin, Texas, and Portland, Ore., have reputations as being hubs for creative people, but I’m willing to bet we have just as much talent right here in Sacramento. I thought if we banded together with other independent businesses we could start to create a buzz so big that it would put Sacramento on the map [of creative places].
In 2008, I was approached by the Midtown Business Association—they wanted IndieSacramento as part of their big annual holiday celebration. I enlisted the help of three of my friends and again we put on a fairly successful event. Ultimately, the event wasn’t bringing in enough money to keep it going successfully, and we were all donating huge amounts of our time to the cause. It got exhausting. We already had a large event planned for May of last year so we worked to create an even bigger and better event than we’d had in the past and decided we would decrease the frequency of the events to annual or bi-annual as originally planned. At this point, I had only one other partner, Stacey Ball (www.pillsplace.blogspot.com). Despite the rain, we had a huge line of patrons waiting when we opened the show at Fremont Park last May. I was blown away by the support and following we’d developed.
What do you hope to accomplish with it?
At this point, I am planning to keep IndieSacramento as sort of an online collective, where you can shop our vendor goods online. I also update the IndieSacramento blog frequently (www.indiesacramento.blogspot.com) with other local events that our vendors participate in. We do have one more event coming up, however.Ã‚Â
When is the next event?
We were invited to hold an event at The California Museum as part of Women’s History Month. The event will be held on Saturday, March 20, 2010 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. We will be handing out mini swag bags to the first 50 patrons. On top of that, the museum is offering free admission that day, so it’s a great family-friendly event. There’s more info on the Web site: www.indiesacramento.com.
Rumor has it you’re quite the D.I.Y. extraordinaire. How long have you been creating and designing? What inspires you to do so?Ã‚Â
Aw, thanks! I’ve been creating and designing all my life. It’s just something I’m compelled to do. I love combining colors and textures”¦ I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t create!Ã‚Â
What are some projects you’re currently working on?Ã‚Â
I’m gearing up for the craft fair season so I’ve been busy making inventory. I’ve been making headbands and hair accessories like crazy. I’m also hoping to get a little silk-screening in, and I have a new embroidery pattern planned but it’s a secret.
Who are your favorite D.I.Y. queens?
Her style is so much different than mine, but I think Martha Stewart is a genius. I know she has a whole team of people coming up with ideas and projects for her now, but I’m still in awe of it all. She’s been featuring a lot of younger, hipper designers on her show too, which I think is great. Elsie Flannigan (abeautifulmess.typepad.com) is another favorite of mine. I find her work really inspiring. I’m guest-blogging on her blog a couple of times per month, which is really exciting for me.
It seems like everywhere you look, more and more of the community is getting involved with blogging and social media. What are your opinions on the kind of impact this has on the D.I.Y. and handmade community? Do you utilize these tools to get the word out?
I think these tools are really great for spreading the D.I.Y. ethic, because they reach a wide audience. Blogging, Facebook, and Twitter are being used for marketing purposes by all kinds of companies so it’s only natural that they are working for crafters as well. Plus, social media allows you to bond with your customers. With online shopping, you lose that sort of face-to-face exchange but social media allows us that interaction with our customers.
Any other plans in the works you’d like to share with us? What are some things you see yourself getting involved in this year?
I just signed up to vend at McMartin Reality’s Park Your Art event on Second Saturdays. I will be there every Second Saturday from March through October. Other than that, I’m looking to expand my product line and take my business to the next level.
Celebrate Women’s History Month with IndieSacramento on Saturday, March 20 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at The California Museum on the corner of 10th and O streets in downtown Sacramento. Also for more info visit www.peptogirl.com and www.indiesacramento.com.