The first thing I noticed when I met Susan Young, maker and owner of Litsie Creations, was her warm and welcoming personality. You know when you meet someone and you instantly feel comfortable with them, like you’ve known them forever? That’s how I felt with Susan. She has an excitement and energy surrounding the work she does and takes pride in creating a quality product that families, local and afar, have come to know and love. I myself purchased two reusable snack bags and a wet bag for the car from Litsie a few years ago and they are still going strong! To be honest, I am a sucker for a fun trendy fabric, and while that’s what initially drew me to Litsie, as a young mom looking to buy pretty much anything for my firstborn, it’s the quality that impressed me after putting the bags to use….and the fact that my little one could easily hold onto those adorable snack bags (when I was so used to him dropping containers of gold fish crackers everywhere!) Susan has given families practical food and storage options they can feel good using….and showing off!
What is the first thing you remember making, feeling truly happy with the result?
As a little girl I remember being very sick and making landscape pictures with all my mom’s fabrics and sticking them on the back of the couch like a flannel board. As I got a bit older I was really happy making Barbie doll clothes, but there wasn’t much sewing involved in that. I remember loving the little ski boots I made. When I was about thirteen I made myself a cotton dress and I wore it to the Sound of Music movie that my sister took me to in Toronto to celebrate my birthday. It’s funny, when I got older, I would even refuse dates as I wanted to stay home and sew! I kind of feel that same drive some days now.
Do you have a certain colour section of the fabric store you tend to spend most of your time or are you all over the place?
I don’t have any specific section that am drawn to. I buy a lot of my fabrics online so I can get a better variety of fabrics. I attended the Quilt Canada show this year and loved having many stores there to choose fabric from so I could actually feel the fabric and get a true sense of the colours.
Tell us about the quality of your reusable bags! I can’t believe how many times I’ve washed the ones we own and they still look amazing, the fun patterns still vibrant.
I love my reusable bags. The fabrics I chose for the exterior are all 100% high quality cottons. I researched the interior of the bags very carefully and it is certified food-safe, lead-free, BPA-free and phthalate-free which meets FDA and CPSIA requirements. Some people make bags but they don’t have these certifications, but I am extra careful. Many of my customers have used my bags for the 3+ years since I started my business and they are still going strong. I did switch the lining of my bags once when a new product became available so all my snack bags and wet bags are actually food-safe. I am even using the lining in my new quilted toiletry bags.
What was the worst job you had growing up?
The worst job I had growing up was working at a Ponderosa restaurant. They had hired me to work behind the cafeteria line, but one day they asked me to clean the toilets. I told them I wasn’t hired for that and refused to do it. They continued to keep me behind the cafeteria line but I quit soon after. My best job was working at a fabric store.
What is your favourite thing to do with friends?
My favourite things to do with friends is to go to Ste. Anne’s spa…but that doesn’t happen often enough, so I guess I would have to say going out to breakfast at the many great spots in Kingston!
How do you think Etsy has enabled people on their entrepreneurial journies?
I think Etsy is great as I see many people following their passions! Etsy gives them a format to sell some of the things they make to a wider market of people. I love it when I sell something to someone in Hawaii or Thailand as I can imagine it being used there.
Just like a musician always being asked to sing the same songs, some of your items you could probably make in your sleep! How do you maintain an element of motivation in the work you do?
Yes, I can make the snack and sandwich bags almost in my sleep. I keep my interest up by choosing many different fabrics and also by introducing new products. I have many things on the drawing board and sometimes I work through the logistics of the construction process in bed when I should be sleeping. It’s funny, some days, I just want to work on my sandwich bags as I can listen to a podcast and get lots done so I have a sense of accomplishment.
Can you tell us about a vendor show mishap you’ve had? On the flip side, what vendor show has left you floating on cloud nine when packing up?
I can’t think of any vendor mishaps. Maybe I shouldn’t say that as I might be jinxing myself! The first Fat Goose show I did in Kingston left me on Cloud 9 as it was so successful. I love it when people come up to me and say that they came to a show because they knew I was going to be there and they wanted more of my bags. One lady I met at the Women’s Institute sale in Picton this year actually came to the Women’s Art Festival show in Kingston as I told her I would have one of my new products there. The shows can be physically exhausting, but I love meeting many new people and love when the kids pick out their own fabric for bags.
Oh, and how could I forget the time the King’s Town school had me to their school one day from 3-6 and had big signs on the door saying ‘Litsie will be here on Thursday.’ The students would come up to me and ask ‘Are you Litsie?’ It was super cute. Parents were rushing in after work to pick their children up from after school care and the kids would show them what they picked out.
What is something new you are working on?
This year has been amazing! The local Lululemon bought Litsie bags to give to their staff to help with their Eco initiative which was so fun to be a part of.
Right now I am combining two of the things I love to do (I won’t mention the cooking) – that is teaching and sewing. I was a Family Studies teacher for a number of years and loved teaching sewing. I have begun working with a group of Syrian women through Keys and am working on some projects with them. I am going to have a line of products made exclusively by them and I also want to be able to help them sell some of the things they would like to sew. They are a wonderful group of women and very keen.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored in collaboration with Litsie Creations.
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