Designer Spotlight: Elizabeth Wheaton

Katie_kime_blog_elizabeth_wheaton_pillows_designer_spotlight

How did you get your start?

I have sewn my entire life. My grandmothers both taught me growing up, and my mom is/was always down with a “I think I’ll make my Easter dress this year” statement.  My husband and I had only been married about 90 days when I found out I was pregnant! We were SO excited…but I quickly realized that “new house” budget was about to be chopped in half (or more). Instead of sacrificing nice things, I started making them. I made a few pillows for myself, and a friend mentioned that I should try selling them! I put them on a local buy/sell/trade site, and the rest is really history. Since my shop opened a little over 3 years ago, I’ve sold almost 10k pillow covers! EEK!

Did you always want to work in interiors?

No, definitely not! I have always loved retail and clothing, but interiors are really more of a “last 10 years” kind of thing for me. I’m still no expert (I can pick your fabrics and tell you what coordinates), but I still struggle with an entire room. Luckily, I’m friends with designers who take over where I leave off.


Katie_kime_blog_elizabeth_wheaton_pillows_designer_spotlight

What would you say makes your design style / technique like no other?

There are hundreds of pillow makers on Etsy. For the most part, I think we all have the same quality/craftsmanship. What sets me apart is my willingness to work with people (I have people send me pictures of their space with the words “help me” in the title!), and my ability to match patterns and colors. I also know fabrics. I can pretty much tell you who makes any fabric. Of course every now and then someone sends me something I don’t recognize…but that is rare.

Katie_kime_blog_elizabeth_wheaton_pillows_designer_spotlight

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

It has been cold & rainy here for the last 2 years it feels like. Because of that, I’m loving color. Gimme gimme gimme! I’ve also been on a big velvet kick for the last several months. I know most people don’t purchase my pillows for comfort, but that soft finish is just an added bonus

How important is art to a home?

My designer friend Jenny (@jennykramerdecor) would argue that art is the most important thing, and I’m beginning to think she’s totally right. I hosted bible study at my house the other night and my friend said “your house just feels homey” and that was the greatest compliment I’ve gotten. I don’t have a bare wall ANYWHERE. And it doesn’t have to be original art. I have photos on every.single.flat.surface in my house.

Katie_kime_blog_elizabeth_wheaton_pillows_designer_spotlight

What’s your best tip for someone who isn’t sure of their “style”?

I tend to work backwards. Oftentimes ppl don’t know what they like, but they do know what they dislike. For example, when someone needs fabric help I always start with 3 questions: “1- do you have anything existing that going to be tough to match? 2- is there any color you hate? 3- how do you feel about Asian inspired designs?” Once I find out those things, it makes it much easier to suggest fabrics/textures.

What the most rewarding & challenging part about being owning your own business?

Rewarding – I get to support my family and give them the life they deserve. I joke that our house is the “house that’s paid for by pillows”, but it’s actually so close to the truth. I do still work a 9-5 (in employee benefits/insurance), so that’s a real challenge. And it really is hard when someone wants something at 7 at night and I’m at home with family and disconnected (and they aren’t gracious). I’m learning to be upfront about my priorities. I feel like people understand when they know beforehand how things are handled.

How do you find work/ life balance as a business owner?

HAHAHAHA, I don’t! I feel like every business owner says that. It’s SO easy in the beginning and you are so desperate to just get business that you’ll talk to anyone for any amount of time at any hour. If I could go back and tell my newly founded business self something, it would be to set boundaries early, be willing to say no, and never make your family feel like backseat.

Katie_kime_blog_elizabeth_wheaton_pillows_designer_spotlight

Anything else you want us to know about you?

I absolutely LOVE my customers. A large majority of my business is repeat customers. Some have been with me since the beginning. I’ve done their house, their nurseries, their vacation home…I just feel like I’m a part of their life!

Your favorite Katie Kime print why?

My favorite print is Bees Knees. The colors are great, the design is perfect, and the scale is great on any size cover! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *