Meet Courtney of Femme-Enfant
Say hi! Would you like to introduce yourself?
Hi ladies! I'm Courtney of femme-enfant. I design, hand-dye, and construct womenswear in small batches. I specialize in natural, plant-based dyeing and enjoy using organic and vintage textiles in my designs. Learning about natural dyes has helped to shape both the aesthetic and ethos of my brand; they are intertwined. My work with plant based dyes allows me to embrace imperfections, admire the beauty in how the dyes age and change, and be more connected to nature, all in the pursuit of making beautiful clothing for women while considering my impact on the environment. femme-enfant is the idea of keeping a youthful, child-like spirit alive, no matter our age. I'm always exploring this philosophy of wonder.
What does being a creative mean to you?
Being creative is showing yourself, your soul, your world perspective. Creatives are explorers, experimenters, communicators, and problem solvers.
Do you recall when you first realized you HAD to be creative?
A few years ago when I was just beginning to play around with designing clothing again. I was still working a non-creative full time job while working on creative pursuits in my spare time. I noticed my anxiety levels would increase with the number of days away from doing something creative. This feeling brought in to focus how happy I felt when doing anything creative. It was definitely a feeling of ok, clearly I HAVE to be creative.
What is your favorite work ritual?
The days where I get to dye fabric are a lot of fun. The dye process is actually ritualistic. I take out all of my scales, dyes, containers, stirring and prodding tools and set up my giant pot over a flame in the backyard. I refer to books of samples with dye recipes I've made so that I can measure out exact amounts and achieve similar results each time. I tweak things along the way so it becomes a fun mix of methodical and experimental work. Tending to the dye pot is meditative and it's a major bonus I get to work outdoors with my dog at my side.
How do you cope when you feel overwhelmed?
I find that making a to-do list helps a lot - a plan of action to help me knock out the work that is overwhelming me. I try to face the work I want to do least first, so I feel super accomplished when it's complete. There are also times when it's best to take a break from work, get outdoors, do yoga etc. It's important to be in touch with your creative moods and feelings - some days the work is just not going to happen, and that's ok!
What three traits would you say are a must for someone going into business for themselves?
- Tenacity. You have to be a hard worker, able to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep taking the necessary steps to achieve what you want.
- Risk Taker. Passion and a good work ethic are required, but a willingness to take a leap of faith is necessary to start your own venture.
- Open Minded. The ability to evolve and be open to new opportunities. Your business may grow into something you didn't foresee when you first started out, and you never know who may become a collaborator.
What is your definition of success? Do you feel that you are successful?
Success is being able to live by your own rules and according to your principles. Being true to yourself and carving out time for what makes you happy. And friends! It's so important to have community to celebrate life with! I do feel successful and extremely grateful for the life I have.
What has been the best advice you have received?
Push yourself to achieve your artistic vision. Take the time and make the effort to do what you set out to do.
Who is a female (past, present or fictional) you find inspirational?
Right now, I love Solange and Leandra Medine for fashion inspiration - they make bold, unique choices - they're clearly dressing for themselves and no one else. I'm inspired by all strong women being true to themselves!