Feature Friday: MO&PEA

Happy Feature Friday!

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This week we’re featuring knitwear, accessory and graphic designer Laura Elisabeth! If you’ve ever found yourself looking for a warm, chunky and stylish scarf look no further than MO&PEA. Her Etsy store is filled with comfy goodness. She also does custom orders. How often do you get to request a knitwear dream you see in your head to a designer who’ll make it for you! To hear more about Laura’s creative journey read on!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

iusb_760x100.16949994_a5gq: My name is Laura Elisabeth. I create knitwear accessories and home decor. I’m also a Web and Graphic Designer and student. I currently live in CT with my boyfriend and our cat, Matcha. When I’m not crafting, I love to read, drink tea, or play Animal Crossing.


Castle Logo: How did MO&PEA get started?

iusb_760x100.16949994_a5gq: MO&PEA became its own brand in August of 2014. Prior to that, I was selling seasonal accessories through my sister’s brand, Mila Rose Designs. I felt confident enough to branch out on my own last year and continue to thrive and learn about running my own small business.


Castle Logo: What about knitting, crocheting and sewing do you love?

iusb_760x100.16949994_a5gq: I love it when I can take an idea that I have floating around in my mind and physically create it. I have always loved working with my hands (and was a barista for 6 years as proof). I love purchasing skeins of yarn and knowing that I can turn them into beautiful and functional pieces of wearable art. I have been crocheting and knitting for over six years now, so it just feels like such a natural process to me. I only began sewing in 2015 and I love the challenges of learning a new skill.


Castle Logo: You run, design and create for your Etsy store. What are some of the benefits and challenges of doing it all?

iusb_760x100.16949994_a5gq: The biggest benefit is that I can make my brand look and feel exactly the way I want it to. I don’t have to ask anyone for permission and I have complete freedom in what I design and how I present it to potential customers. I’d say my biggest challenge with running a small business is time management. MO&PEA is a full-time job for me, but is competing with being a full-time student and also working as a graphic designer for a small tile company during the weekdays. The work I do for MO&PEA rarely ever feels like work, though, because creating helps me to unwind from the other stresses.


Castle Logo: Do you have a go-to staple you love to wear from your collection or a favorite bestseller?

iusb_760x100.16949994_a5gq: My new staple piece for this upcoming season is my Kauri beanie. It is a cable knit fitted beanie with two large pom poms on the top which look like little bear ears. The design for this hat was actually presented to me by a customer wanting a custom creation and so I put my own spin on the photographs she sent me, and the Kauri beanie was born! It’s super cute, unique, and also keeps you warm. What could be better?


Castle Logo: What inspires the designs of your pieces?

iusb_760x100.16949994_a5gq: I’m most inspired by simplicity and functionality. I’d love for all of my pieces to feel like they can be worn by many different people with many different styles.


Castle Logo: You take custom order requests. What was one of your coolest custom pieces to work on?

iusb_760x100.16949994_a5gq: I’m actually working on a pretty cool one this week! A customer requested a super slouchy knit beanie (and I mean, REALLY, slouchy) with a brim/visor, satin lining, and two pom ‘ears’ near the front. It is by far the most challenging custom order I have received so far, but I am loving that I can push myself to get it done, and I know it will look pretty stinkin’ cool when it’s finished.


Castle Logo: Are you a self-taught knitwear designer or were you taught? What were some of the ways you improved and honed your craft?

iusb_760x100.16949994_a5gq: I am entirely self taught. I first taught myself to crochet about six years ago through Youtube videos. Then in the last year or so I also taught myself how to knit. The best way to improve any craft, really, is to practice consistently and push through mistakes. There were many instances where I needed to start a project over, and at the time, it really sucked to have to pull it all apart but you learn to not make that mistake again!


Castle Logo: 20% of your proceeds from MO&PEA go directly to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Tell us a little about why this cause is important to you and your brand.

iusb_760x100.16949994_a5gq: My dad was actually diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease a few months ago. Since hearing the news, I have already participated in one Parkinson’s Awareness Walk and was able to raise over $1,000 for the cause. I really wanted to continue to raise money towards finding a cure so I decided to donate a portion of all MO&PEA sales to the foundation.


Castle Logo: Do you have advice for future designers out there?

iusb_760x100.16949994_a5gq: My biggest piece of advice is to continue crafting/making art/designing even if at first it seems to not be making you money or getting much attention. If you have a genuine love and passion for creating, the right people will come along and appreciate what you do, and it is totally worth it when that does eventually happen.

For a comfy overload check out the MO&PEA Etsy Shop and Instagram!

www.moandpea.etsy.com|Instagram: @moandpea

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