Meet Mayka, the artist behind CindyMars7. Her shop is stocked with the most unique bags with beautiful attention to detail.
Mayka "grew up loving fabric and the idea that you could create virtually anything you wanted with it." She recently fell in love with her sewing machine again, and treats each of her creations as a labor of love.
Keep reading to learn who it is she has to thank for the opening of her shop, and the sweet story behind her shop name.
What inspires you?
I’m mostly inspired by history. I remember being a student at FIT ( The Fashion Institute of Technology) and having access to the amazing archives. The teachers encouraged us to visit museums, thrift shops, and flea markets, so we could have a sense of the way clothing was constructed. I became a flea market junkie after this and fell in love with pretty much all the antique clothes that I came across. I sometimes incorporate details of the past in my handbags.
Where do you call home? Are you from there originally?
I am originally from the Dominican Republic, but call Colorado home. I first lived in Bronx, NY for about 8 years ( arrived in '86 ), then moved with my family to New Jersey and lived there until I got married in '08.
Name something unique to where you live.
Oh, the mountains and the wide open spaces! I live in the Western slope, in a town called Silt. It took me a while to adjust to the quiet pace of this quaint little town, but now I embrace it. I remember going back to NY for a visit last summer and I was amazed at how much I was affected by the fast pace of the city. I was actually afraid of driving around!
Share an interesting fact about yourself.
Hmmmm, that’s a toughie. Let’s see:
I sample grapes before buying them at the supermarket, I’m afraid of the shark tunnel at any aquarium ( but go thru it anyway), I like to squish Peeps inside their cute boxes and I was born with just one kidney.…I could go on and on, but you haven’t got all day, have you?
If you had to describe yourself in a word, what would that word be?
A nurturer... I've been told that a lot.
What made you decide to open up shop?
I opened up a shop on Etsy because of my sister. I had just moved to Colorado and was unsure of what the future would hold for me work wise. She begged me to give Etsy a try before looking for a 9 to 5 job. If it had not been for her and my mother, I would’ve never had the opportunity to work from home and take care of my family.
How did you come up with your shop name? Any special significance?
My husband and I met thru an online chat room and my nickname was Cindymars7. If I had to explain to you how the name came about, I don’t think I could. It just came to me in an instant. I decided to use that nickname for the store, because it reminded me of the one chance meeting that changed my life ( just the way Etsy did).
Who taught you to sew?
Most of the women in my family are artisans in one way or another. I learned to sew by watching my mother and my grandmothers. My mom ended up opening a small business, sewing made-to-order girl’s dresses, as a way of earning extra income. Little did she know that I was watching her every move. I would take my dolls and try to replicate the dresses she created. When we emigrated to the US, she held several jobs in the garment industry. My love for sewing grew even greater when I became a teenager and wanted to look different and fashionable.
Name your favorite thing about selling handmade.
The fact that there is no right or wrong way to design! What one person thinks is ugly, another person may find gorgeous.
Do you have a day job or sell on Etsy full-time?
Right now I’m selling on Etsy full time.
Give us a little glimpse into what a typical day in your life looks like.
During the work week, a typical day consists of getting my daughter and husband out to school and work. Then I sit in front of my computer with a huge cup of coffee, to see if there are sales from the night before. Then it's off to sewing, post office, housework, library, thrift shop on different days of the week...
Then, in the afternoons is family time: dinner, time with family and yes, maybe cutting a handbag later in the evening, to sew it early the next morning.
Share with us a favorite Etsy purchase or shop.
One of my favorite Etsy stores is called Scabbyrobot. My sister and I loved the originality of both the name and the leather handbags. One of my favorite objects I’ve purchased on Etsy is a pair of antique earrings made in silver and tiger eye stones from a store called Kbjewels. I lost a similar pair when I was in my twenties and was very glad to find them again!
List a few of your most favorite pastimes.
I am a treasure hunter at heart. I love to find antique items that have been loved by someone else. It especially warms my heart to find something handmade.
I also love to cook. I sometimes make a new recipe, instead of the usual grub, to give my family some variety.
Read any good books lately?
Well, I actually have been “hearing”, instead of reading books. It is so relaxing and inspiring to work while having a great story being read to you. To me it's a form of lullaby. I have “heard” a series of great books by Malcolm Gladwell: Blink, The Tipping Point and Outliers. He truly inspired me to look past the negative and think towards the future. If you have time read at least one, they will change your life.
What is your most prized possession?
My Christian faith and my family. I know you just asked for one prized possession, but for me, they are one and the same.
What are three of your favorite foods?
Ohhh not fair! I can’t pick just three ( pouting).
Ok, here we go:
1- A dish made with scrambled eggs, white rice and ham that I used to eat as a child...
2- Rice pudding from Rice to Riches ( yeah, but only when I am in NY)...
3- Raw oysters ( too yummy for words)
What would you like to learn to do?
If only I had the patience to learn how to knit with two needles! I have tried, but always come out disappointed. I would also enjoy learning a new career, perhaps in nursing.
What are you listening to right now?
Classical music, 70’s and 80’s music ( Supertramp, Boston, Bread) and Christian Rock.
Name one place you must visit in your lifetime and why.
My husband and I would love to visit Japan someday. I find their culture incredibly fascinating.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Life is too short…go eat rice pudding with someone you love!
***Mayka, thank you so much for stopping by to share with us. It was a pleasure getting to know you better.
Mayka is offering free shipping on everything in her shop through January 15th! Add her to your favorites!
Time for a Giveaway!
Mayka is so generously giving away one of her fabulous bags to one reader! The winner will receive the gorgeous Augusta handbag pictured to the right -- a $50 value. So jealous!!
To enter, name one thing you must have in your purse at all times! Don't forget to include your name and email address or Etsy username so we can contact you!
For extra entries you can:
Tweet this giveaway, and/or follow me on twitter
Follow my blog
Blog about this interview/contest
Purchase from CindyMars7
Just leave a comment with your answer. Then, an additional comment if you are applicable for extra entries.
For example: If you want to enter and you also tweet the giveaway and follow my blog; leave your original comment + another that you tweeted + another that you are a follower = a total of 3 comments. Don't hesitate to contact me with any questions.
You can also tweet this giveaway once per day or follow me on twitter and get an additional entry for doing so!
Contest ends Sunday, January 17th at 11:59 pm EST. Winner will be chosen at random and will be announced the following day.