Artist: Dennice Mankarious
Location: San Diego, California
Web site: http://www.fringe.etsy.com
What do you make?
I hand-knit and crochet (with a bit of sewing and embroidery thrown in) accessories such as scarves, cowls, lariats, capelets, shawls, bags and purses, belts, and other little surprises.
Where and when do you do your creative work?
I do most of my work at home.
Where and what did you study?
I studied electrical engineering in southern California
What inspires you and what motivates you?
Music inspires me. I guess the act of creating motivates me. I will be lying in bed at night and have this idea pop onto my head. I have to get up and write it down, or get started creating it. I am always thinking about new designs. The feeling of accomplishment when it is complete is a great motivator. Once I complete an item, I already have another one planned to start on so it seems to be a continuous cycle of creating. I’m always motivated to finish what I’m working on so that I can start the next creation. The self-gratification that comes from clients who love my work can be a bit addictive as well.
When did you start doing this?
I learned to knit and then crochet at age four. But I have only been creating in this capacity for about four years.
What memories to you have of getting into art as a kid?
The one memory that stands out (probably because of the size of it) is when I was in 4th grade; my art teacher gave us an assignment to create anything we wanted. Don’t ask my why, but I chose to make a life-size big bird from Sesame Street. Some of the kids in class said I couldn’t manage that, but the teacher said go for it. So I did. He was really big and really yellow. I remember being quite proud of him. It’s the same when you grow up. You may have an idea that seems impractical to some or most, but if you are passionate about it you should go full steam ahead. There are always going to be people to discourage you. You have to learn to ignore that element completely.
When and why did you decide to start your own business?
It just kind of evolved. I started making scarves about four or five years ago for myself. Then I made them as Christmas gifts for the gals in my family. They went crazy for them. Then the following year, a girlfriend suggested I try selling some at her Christmas boutique. I really thought it would be a waste of time, who would want to pay for my scarves? I sold forty scarves in two days. That is where it all began.
How did you choose the name for your business?
A dear friend of mine (the gal that asked me to sell at her Christmas boutique that first year) came up with it. I knew it was perfect the moment she said it.
What do you love most about doing this work?
I am the boss of everything! The creative outlet is so satisfying too.
What's the most fascinating place you've been?
I find something fascinating about every place I visit. One of the most poignant and emotional places I have been is The Wall monument in Washington, DC. It was so very moving, and I really didn’t expect it. If you have never been there, it’s like this. You don’t see the monument until you are upon it because it is cut into the ground. When you walk down to it the air is still, it’s quiet and you just feel the pain of loss all around you. Incredible artist impact was created by the designer of that monument.
A book you love:
Anything by Hemingway.
What's the most interesting thing about you?
Three years ago I found out I had a brother. Just when you think you know where your life is taking you, you get a curve ball. It was a dream come true for me. We are just alike and he has a degree specializing in textiles. Isn’t that wild? We are like two peas in a pod now and it’s the most wonderful relationship.
What achievement are you most proud of?
My marriage and my children.
What advice would you give women starting their own business?
I know it is the worst cliché, but you must believe in yourself and be patient. Anyone who gives you negative input doesn’t belong in your life. Most importantly, in the words of Winston Churchill, “nevah, nevah give up”.
What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?
Shipping and dealing with the post office! I’m only half-joking about that. Challenges are good. They make life interesting and satisfying when you overcome them. What do you love to do in your free time? Free time is a fantasy. A figment of my imagination. Theoretically speaking, in my free time I would love to get a little cooler of drinks and goodies, a good fat book and go to the beach all by myself for the day, without a cell phone.
What are you working on right now?
Designs and color story for fall 2007
What do you hope to achieve next?
I would like to expand into more boutiques. That would be so grand! I have a very long wish list but in the immediate future, more boutiques.