Happy Wednesday flea market friends! We’re another week closer to popping up at the Garner Street Lot in State College on September 10.
This week’s vendor feature is a hometown favorite because the shop is homegrown right here in State College. Emily Bedell is a local who started making custom embroidered products earlier this year under the name Peenapple Express. These are not your grandma’s embroidered hats and patches. They are the perfect accents to everyday items that would make Grandma proud.
// What got you started in creating your embroidered products?
Two years back I thought it would be funny to put my friend's Twitter handles on hats. This was purely something I wanted to do for fun and only ended up making a hat for myself using fabric paint. This past spring I realized I still had a blank hat or two that I had planned on using years before. I thought I have all this string from making friendship bracelets as a kid, I can probably sew, why not try it out? After I did my first hat and realized I had a knack for embroidery, I couldn't stop!
// What makes your products special?
I've had people ask why I don't just buy an embroidery machine. I'm sometimes a little put off by this question because I think the thing that makes my products special and different is the fact that they are hand-embroidered. I would feel like I was selling out a little bit. Also, it would make my job a little too easy and I need a challenge.
// How did friends and family react to you starting your business?
My friends and family have been extremely supportive in my new business venture. The majority of my customers so far have been people I know. I've heard nothing but words of encouragement, good advice, and genuine care and appreciation of my work. It's easy to doubt yourself, but my friends and family have been there to support me since day one and I'm so grateful.
// What is the hardest part of selling embroidered products?
The hardest part so far has been keeping up with demand. I actually started out doing solely custom hat orders and I was slightly overwhelmed at the response. To this day I have made and sold 57 custom hand embroidered hats in the span of four months. I had my work cut out for me for a while and had a relatively long waiting list. All of my customers were very respectful and patient. I didn't want to rush any of the orders because I wanted to make sure I did them right. Some hats have taken me up to four hours to complete, so finding the time is probably the hardest part.
// WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING THING ABOUT ATTENDING FLEAS?
I've been a fan of thrifting/flea markets for a while and I think the most exciting thing about them is that there is always an element of surprise. Sometimes you might walk out empty handed but other times you'll come out with something that can be very special and wonderful to you.