Getting To Know Ashlea – Where Did Bunnycup Begin?
I am Ashlea and I am the primary owner of Bunnycup Embroidery. I am going to write a number of blog posts over the coming months about me, the origins of Bunnycup, the embroidery business and so on just so you can get to know both Bunnycup and me.
To start, this is long overdue. I have become a pretty humble and shy being, so I don’t tend to talk about myself much, so this is a little out of my usual nature. So bear with me!
Today, I will start off with where Bunnycup begun. Once upon a time, a long time ago, I use to be a Chartered Accountant, a senior auditing manager. It was that stage of life where I was expecting our first baby and had just gone maternity leave. A very lovely neighbour of ours gave us a baby gift for our first baby, Bailey. It was a precious embroidered quillow.
For those of you who do not know what a quillow is, it is a quilt that folds up into a pillow. If you google it you can find lots of videos on how to make one. It is basically a quilt with a pocket on the back that the quilt folds up into the pocket so that the quilt becomes the stuffing of the pillow. A wonderful versatile project. The below image is from http://acuppaandacatchup.com/2011/05/quillow-tutorial/, where there is a great free quillow tutorial.
So my neighbor was telling of how this amazing machine does all the embroidery in the touch of a button. I was completely fascinated. And let me tell you, this surprised even me. I had never really sewn, my mother never really sewed or had much interest and I really had no artistic flair (accountant and artistic are usually not two words that go together). So I was delighted to find that something could do this and perhaps I could do something fun with no knowledge of sewing. Because of my fascination, and the fact I suddenly had free time because I was on maternity leave and intrigued I might be able to make little things for our coming baby, I went out and purchased a second hand embroidery machine. It was love at first sight.
I still chuckle over my first attempts. I had a baby singlet and wanted to embroider a tiny little rose on it. Excited, I hooped up the singlet (a challenge for a beginner). I was overconfident and thinking, just how easy it was. I put the singlet on the machine and stitch out this perfect little rose. I can even remember I was on the phone to a friend talking about it and how easy it all was. Then……… I went to take if off the hoop. Well, wasn’t that most interesting……………… I didn’t even know enough to think through what I was doing and had embroidered the rose through both the front and back of the singlet and I could not get it off the hoop! Scissors – a beginner’s best friend (and a bin!).
Needless to say I was not discouraged and learned a lesson and kept at it. I was soon making all sorts of little basic things. I even put my hand to sewing some basic cot quilts. I am still not great at sewing – but I got to know a thing or two about embroidery quickly.
What shocked me most of all though was accessing designs. Back in those days, designs were on cards and there were only a few online resources (this was back in 2003/2004). A card of designs could cost up to $120 and might only have 10 designs on it!
My father, who was a kind, humble and interesting man always taught us that there is very little someone else can do that you can’t do. Given the price of designs and my father’s teachings, I figured there must be a way to create my own designs. So I embarked on a new interest, learning how to create designs. It has been a long journey from there – one of passion and love. I have never gotten enough of digitizing and I am not sure I ever will. But let me tell you, the first designs were not smooth sailing. I remember my very first design, the needle kept breaking and it would not stitch out. I had to go to the dealer I purchased my machine from and ask them why the needle was breaking and I was told the design was likely too dense. Also bearing in mind, that embroidery programs have developed a long way too since then. They too were in their early days of development. At this point, I would like to give John Deer (https://ultimatestash.com/) credit as I did purchase his training videos and they were the corner stones of my early learning.
From there, the internet also was only in its infancy stages and I figured if I had these designs then I should be able to put them up on a website. So my next learning curve was how to create a website. Fortunately I am married to an IT professional, and a fine one at that. So I got to creating the very first versions of Bunnycup where I uploaded my very first designs. I just asked if someone who downloaded them liked them, that they consider donating a small sum to help cover costs.
Before too long I saw there was an interest, I was learning more and more and getting more and more confident with the feedback on my designs, so Bunnycup started selling designs. But let me say, and this will be covered in future blogs, embroidery digitizing is a time consuming occupation. It has left me little time to actually play with embroidery – but I am holding onto that for retirement. By the time I create designs, manage the testing, package them up for website release and do all the website administration, marketing, social media, customer support, there is little time left over to play with embroidery.
And one little more thing – where did the name Bunnycup come from……………………….. Well, it was my husband’s (Quentin who many of you have received IT support from) nickname for me. If I recall correctly, it was the cross between a bunny rabbit and a cupcake. Why he called me that, I can barely recall now – young love I would say. Until next time, thank you for taking an interest in me and Bunnycup x