I’m very excited to bring my very first Interview to my blog and equally as excited that it is with a fellow Canadian, the wonderfully talented creator of Red Rocket Designs-Meghan.
TVI: You have an online clothing business called “Red Rocket Design”. Can you tell us a bit about your company?
RRD. I really enjoy sewing and have been doing it for ages now. I went to Fashion Design School in Montreal and really loved the course. I then started making myself retro clothes and dresses from vintage patterns. I got lots of compliments and it was my Dad who pushed me to get back into sewing more. I started seeing all these great clothes and thought I could easily make them as well so Red Rocket Designs was born. It was just a way to provide fun, girly and retro clothes to women of all ages, and offer them to my fellow Canadian vintage lovers to avoid them having to pay for duties and shipping from the USA.
TVI. What is the inspiration for your name?
RRD. I actually perform burlesque part-time and Red Rocket is my stage name. I`m a rockabilly gal and needed something that fit my personality on stage and still keep a bit of my name (also helps with my bright red hair!).
TVI: Your “about us” says that you sew from vintage or retro patterns, do you sometimes come up with your own designs as well or focus mostly on reproduction?
RRD. I sometime put my own twist on things or switch an A-Line skirt of a dress to a full one or remove sleeves from the pattern completely. But I really enjoy sewing from my vintage patterns. Everything is so feminine and classy.
TVI. Is it true that your grandmother was a big influencer in pointing you in the direction of sewing and other creative outlets? Do you have a Favorite moment with your grandmother from that time?
RRD. Both of my Grandmothers influenced me. My maternal Grandmother sewed with me ever since I could hold a needle. I would make small crafts with her and eventually made my prom dress and a beautiful quilt out of her scrap material she had.
My paternal Grandmother was a typical 50s housewife living on the farm, would pick berries and do her gardening in skirts and a bandana in her hair. I put my hair up in rollers like they both did, enjoyed having tea at 3 (or milk as a child) and spending time with both, either sewing, making cards or crafts. Both Grandmothers baked which I love to do and I have cook books that were theirs that I cherish. I like the outdoors and canning, something they both did.
TVI. Biggest Challenge with running your own business?
RRD. Not having enough time to put into it. I would love to be doing it full-time but unfortunately being a seamstress isn’t as glamorous and profitable as I wish it could be. I’m that typical starving artist lol. So I sew on my free time, weekends or evenings.
TVI. Now your most rewarding experience with running your own business?
RRD. Seeing how happy my clients are with my work. How they love the quality and look, and when I see them wearing one of my outfits they look stunning and I get to pat myself on the back and breathe a bit. I stress over so many details and get bit OCD with my work, so when a client is happy, I’m happy.
I also have to say having a fashion show of my designs at a Montreal Tiki resto and car show was so amazing!
TVI. I was also reading your wonderful blog that you just moved over to your current website. What made you want to get into blogging? And how long have you been blogging for?
RRD. I have only been blogging for about 2 years now. I was once a girl who wanted to know so much about vintage and would google (and still do, still learning!) to learn and I thought why not share my own point of view and knowledge with others? No need to keep everything to myself. It’s also a way for me to gain a bit of confidence putting myself out there…
TVI. Favorite Topics to write about?
RRD. Everything I write about is something that is important to me. I would never write about something unless I was interested in it. I like old tricks and tips such as old wives tales. My favorite is putting an unlit match in between your teeth while cutting an onion, I promise you won’t tear up! I also like writing about my struggles being a vintage lover, some of it can be funny sometimes and other girls relate.
TVI. You’re originally a small town gal, what was it like growing up in the town of Brigham, Quebec?
RRD. I am a small town farm girl for sure. My mom made all of our Halloween costumes, I grew up down the road from both Grandparents and explored our 100 acre farm. I rode horses, did chores on the farm with my Dad, did the haying in the summer, and piled wood for the winter. We weren’t far from Montreal, about an hour so it was the perfect distance really to visit. I loved Montreal, lived there a few years, but I always made it back home. Nothing beats sitting outside, listening to the frogs and staring at a sky full of stars.
TVI. Beyond Sewing, do you have any other hobbies/guilty pleasures that you enjoy?
RRD. I knit sometimes, I’m not very patient so it has to be pretty straight forward and a quick project. I love watching old movies, vintage shopping, baking, walking my two dachshunds and spending time at the farm. I always have a big vegetable garden in the summer at the farm then do my canning in the fall.
TVI. Favorite era or eras?
RRD. 40s, 50s (my fave) and early 60s
TVI. If you could have anyone from the past or present design you a dream dress, who would it be and why?
RRD. That’s a tough question. I would actually ask for Lucille Ball’s costume supervisor while she was on I Love Lucy. I loved every outfit Lucy wore and even her best friend Ethel. Her name was Elois Jenssen, I don’t think I ever saw an episode that I didn’t want one of Lucy’s or Ethel’s outfit.
TVI. How long have you been interested in the vintage/retro lifestyle?
RRD. That’s hard to pinpoint down. I have always loved some sort of vintage or retro things since I was a child. I loved watching old cartoons like Betty Boop and Popeye, Felix the Cat, old Mickey cartoons… then I got into Marilyn Monroe phase collected so much of her stuff (still do), I always loved movies based on the 40s or 50s… Some of these interests just got me wanting more, to learn more, to be me you know? I got into listening to the Stray Cats and Brian Setzer Orchestra and then looked into rockabilly, then pinups…then…then…then…here I am!
TVI. Do you dress Vintage all the time or mix it up?
RRD. Unfortunately with cold harsh Canadian winters it’s hard for me to dress vintage all the time head to toe. I try to have my hair done or wear my cat eye glasses if I’m just wearing jeans and a band t-shirt. I have 2 beautiful vintage winter coats I wear in the winter. But come nice weather I will be in vintage skirts and dresses every day.
TVI. Favorite vintage item in your closet?
RRD. Another hard question! I mean, if there was a fire I would save them all… so that doesn’t help does it? I have this Swirl dress I got this past fall I love. I love my shirt dresses and full skirts too. But I think the one I will cherish the most is my fiance’s grandmother’s wedding dress I’ll get to wear at my wedding this fall.
TVI. Speaking of getting married soon…congrats! Can you tell us a little bit about your wedding plans?
RRD. Thank you! We are getting married this fall in Ireland! We have always wanted to visit Ireland and thought why not do a 2 for 1 and get married then honeymoon there. People do destination weddings all the time but usually down south, so we`re switching it up a bit.
We are getting married in an Abbey and I will be wearing my fiance’s grandmother’s wedding dress. His Grandmother got married in 1954, so this dress is over 60 years old! My bridesmaids will be wearing retro inspired dresses I will be sewing, I will have my makeup and hair done in a 50s look too. I hope to have my Mom and Mother in law’s in vintage dresses or repro too.
Since we’re getting married overseas it’s hard to do some “DIY” decorations and such, so when we return we will have a reception with the rest of family and friends who couldn’t make it. Then I will be able to do more vintage and retro touches to the restaurant we’re having it at.
TVI. Vintage want?
RRD: There’s always room for more Lucite purses! And there’s a bracelet my great grandmother gave me when I was super young from the 30s-40s that I would love to find since I bent all the petals and broke some off of the metal flowers of the bracelet. Why they let me play with vintage jewelry is beyond me
TVI. We are going on a roadtrip! Where would we go and what would be some of the things we would do?
RRD. I would love to go to meet Paul Brockmann, the gentleman known as the one who bought his wife 55 thousand dresses over the years (all different eras)… I would love to sift through and try on dresses of all styles and colors. Twirl and feel like Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe. Other than that, any dusty small vintage shop makes this girl happy.
TVI. If you could only attend one vintage/rockabilly event this year, what would it be?
RRD. I’ve never been to Viva, maybe one year I will make it but since this year we’re getting married the brakes have been put on for fun events like Viva this year. I do love the New England Shake Up in Massachusetts, it’s small and fun and a group of us go and have a blast.
TVI. It’s Saturday Night and you want to go out, what are you doing?
RRD. It’s hard in the country to find a cool place. But if we drive to Montreal lets say, I would love to go see some of my favorite local bands at a bar.
TVI. Favorite band?
RRD. I’m a huge Imelda May fan. I saw her a few years ago from the front row when she came to Montreal. Local bands my favorite is the Hellbound Hepcats! I also fell in love with Roy Rapid & the Rhythm Rock Trio at the New England Shake Up last year, got their CD and is one that plays in my car quite often.
TVI. Instagram or Pinterest?
RRD. I love Instagram, I don’t post very often though. Pinterest is fun but then I find myself and hour later and my housecleaning still not done.
TVI. Finally..any goals you have set for yourself for 2015?
RRD. I want to make myself a wardrobe that I’ve sewn myself. Be a walking business card basically, to be able to have clothes that fit just right would be nice. I also will be making my bridesmaid dresses too from a retro inspired pattern that needs to get started soon… So I am already pretty busy and hope to make it to a few car shows again this year, sew up some outfits to sell and get my name and face out there in the rockabilly/vintage/retro/pinup world!
What a fantastic interview! Thank you so much Meghan for being so kind to share with my readers a bit about yourself and your business. Best of luck with your business and your upcoming wedding!
Now friends you can find Meghan and Red Rocket Designs here…
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