Handmade and Hot: Stella Bleu Designs

This week we interviewed Katie of Stella Bleu Designs. We love the handmade industrial quality of her work and were curious to find out more about how her business came about and how she makes her pieces…

Who are you and where is your workshop? 

Katie Katzenmeyer from Jackson, MS
A brick garage space off my house.

How and why did you start your business: 

I was an art major and always had a passion for design. I always made things for my own home and thought I would see if others would like my designs in their homes.

Why do you hand make your products? What do you get out of it?

I use salvage material and cut. thread, and refinish each piece of pipe and wood used in my designs.
Affordable material? haha!
There is no way to make my designs a reality other than to make them myself. It is very satisfying to make something new from scratch.
I enjoy the “hunt” for my salvage material and have gotten to know a lot of cool people while digging through their rubble.
Also, there are no limitations and my designs are open to endless possibilites… One of my biggest peeves is having an idea/design that I cant carry out so relying on a pre-made set size of something would drive me insane!

How long does it take to make your pieces?

My turnaround time is 3-4 weeks because I seem to never be able to catch up even though I work around the clock.
If it is a new design that I am making for the first time it can take a while. Some have a longer trial and error period but once I sketch out a design and decide to do it, I dont give up until it is done!
My most recent project, an industrial garment rack, was in the works for about 3 weeks and it is finally finished! The base took the most time and it was the 3rd one I made. The first 2 ended up looking so awesome I couldnt bear the thought them being covered in clothes and shoes so I set them aside for table tops.

What is your studio/work space like?

Messy! I always try to keep it clean but that’s rare and short lived!

What new products do you have in mind for 2012?  

A lot, but I like to keep it a secret.. I will say I have projects in the works that involve using other materials and include more garment racks, tables, desks and even a mid century styled bed.
You will just have to wait and see.

How would you like your collection to grow? And where would you like to see it sold? 

As I mentioned above, I plan to branch out to other furnishings that fall into the category of “industrial decor” and incorporate more variety in my medium/materials.
I have recently started doing more work with businesses to furnish their offices or stores and I love it and hope to start doing more.
I have had amazing success with Etsy, and plan to always use it to promote my work for those who wouldnt come across it otherwise, but I recently launched my website www.stellableudesigns.com and I am hoping that it will be the place people come directly to do business when they are looking for a designer/maker with my particular style and aesthetic.

What is the best thing about what you do? 

The best thing about it is that it is exactly  what I would be doing in my spare time as a hobby if it wasnt my job. It is my passion and what I love, I am so so lucky I get to do it for a living!

Thanks Katie and best of luck!
Tamra and Gwyn