Interview with Primitive Shop Owner: Choose Moose Primitive Designs
When it comes to primitive crafts, practice makes “almost” perfect. And, as anyone who loves primitive folk art and crafts knows, it’s that wonderful imperfection that gives primitives their charm. Margo Willoughby has always had an interest in things from years past. She is a long time antiques collector, having amassed an enviable collection for her home. But four years ago, when Margo retired, her love of antiques developed into a fascination with primitive crafts that had its roots in her childhood.
“I think it actually started when I was a little girl,” Margo tells. “My grandparents lived next door to us. I would spend most days with them while my parents were at work. I saw how my grandmother did things and how they didn’t throw anything away. They made use of what they had and, believe me, some of it was old! Old and primitive, to be exact.”
Margo is a self-taught primitives maker whose who creates primitive dolls, ornies, and bowl fillers. With the encouragement of her husband, she began seeking out venues for promoting and selling them. She discovered the Etsy handmade marketplace and opened up her shop, Choose Moose Primitive Designs in 2007.
“My store has only open three years, yet I still continue to learn new things. I like having an Etsy shop because there’s only as much pressure to sell as I want to put upon myself. That appeals to me. I especially like when customers ask me questions about my items or ask me to create something special for them. “
Surprisingly, Margo only learned to sew after retirement, on a machine left in her attic by her stepdaughter. “From my first stitch I was addicted and could not get enough. Sewing relaxes me, yet allows me to be creative, a win – win for me. I try to sew almost every day.” When I asked her where she finds inspiration, she says, “My inspirations come from the things I like and what appeals to me. I won’t create something I don’t like. Going into a fabric store can be quite dangerous. I look at the fabric and my mind starts thinking of all the things I can create!“
Opening Choose Moose Primitive Designs, as well as her website, have been instrumental in providing Margo with a fresh new career that she loves. For anyone who might be thinking about doing something similar, she suggests starting small. “Start with a small project and keep trying. In the beginning, the items that I created didn’t look as nice as those I create today. Practice makes almost perfect!
“It can be disappointing when you have created an item and it doesn’t sell, however, by being persistent and finding different selling venues, you can find someone who is looking for what you have to offer. Find out what works for you, stay focused, and do not give up.” Judging by the wonderful, and popular, collection in Margo’s store, “almost perfect” translates to being perfectly successful as a primitives folk artist.
Photo Credits: Margo Willoughby