Artist: Diana Zlatanovski
Location: Madison, WI
Etsy: Pravina Studio
What do you create?
Mostly handbags, totes and purses. Things to carry other things in.
How did you come up with your company name?
I wanted a name that meant something without being obvious. In Macedonian, Pravina means
honesty, justice, righteousness. Adjectives that I like being associated with my business.
When and why did you decide to start your business?
I started the business just this past year. I have always been involved in some sort of studio art,
drawing, painting, photography. A couple of years ago I decided to try sewing so I bought a great 1970s sewing machine from Casper, a sweet, elderly sewing machine repairman. I learned to use it and haven't stopped since. I decided to start selling the bags because people liked them so much. And I enjoy making them, so everybody wins.
Where do you get your inspiration for your projects?
I work as a textile museum curator, so inspiration surrounds me on an almost daily basis. Getting to study contemporary pieces by well known artists next to thousand year old pieces by unknown makers is amazing to me. Imagining who created them, what their inspiration was, what their life was like. Every object holds a story. You can touch something that an artist on the other side of the world created hundreds of years ago. How great is that?
Walking into a good fabric store will also inspire me to no end, but that can be a rather expensive form of inspiration.
Which of the tools you use is your favorite?
The Pfaff 1525. The world's best sewing machine, in my humble opinion. And definitely the
best Christmas present I ever got.
What keeps you motivated?
Positive feedback really keeps me at the sewing machine. My friends, family and customers have all been so overwhelmingly supportive and encouraging. Creating things that people like and want to use is very gratifying. If my bag's new owner is at least half as excited about it as I
am, then my work is done.
I also will keep making bags in the hope that I can interest someone in buying handmade instead of mass produced. That connection between objects, makers and consumers is missing when we buy mass produced items.
How do you get the word out about your work?
I should be better about this! Right now, mainly I use Etsy, blogs, and word of mouth. I am lucky that my ever supportive fan base is really great about telling all their friends about my bags. And I did just get some beautiful new business cards (thank you to Studio VO2!) so those are up next.
What is your main goal for the next 6-12 months?
More purses more purses more purses. I would like to learn some new techniques, I have
been looking into classic forms of hand embroidery, so I hope to introduce that into my bags.
What advice would you give to someone starting a creative business?
Genuinely care about what you do. Pay attention to little details. Keep learning. Always be professional. Eat your vegetables.
What's the most important thing you'd like people to know/understand about your work?
The excitement that goes into each piece. Whenever I finish a new bag, I usually fall in love with it. Then there is the inevitable struggle to force myself to sell it instead of throwing all
of my belongings into it and calling it my own. Pretty much every time. I love the bags I create and I hope their new owners do too.
Who are some of your favorite indie designers/artists?
Etsy artists: katedurkin, calobee, benben, pirilamporiscado, robandlean, just to name a few...
What city, that you've never been to, would you like to visit?
What's your definition of a perfect day?
Wake up with boundless energy on a thunderstormy day. Have a cup of coffee (with cream instead of skim milk for a change) in a cozy house in the mountains. Spend the first half of the day surrounded by beautiful fabrics and an immense library of great books. Spend the second half at the sewing machine. The evening would be filled with my family, friends, good music, great food and wine. So really, probably my perfect day would need to be at least 40 hours long.
Thank you Diana!