A new feature in Haya Magazine!
Pokidots! has been featured again! Yay!
I am so happy to announce that I have been approached a couple of months ago by the luxurious Haya Magazine, for an interview in the recent issue of their online and physical magazine. I did the interview in English, and it was beautifully translated to Arabic, my mother tongue, for the magazine :) 4 wonderful pages!
Here is the interview in English, and you can find screenshots of the online version below!
Who is Louma El-Khoury?
I’m a fashion illustrator and artist, and I’m a mom of two little girls, Laurie, 4 and a half, and Leina, 2. I left Lebanon right after school to study Fashion Design in Montreal, Canada, and lived there for 11 cold winters! After I met my husband, I moved to Seattle, Washington, which has been home for almost 8 years now. I love the richness of the Seattle communities, and the beautiful scenery of the Pacific Northwest.
Tell us more about your project, Pokidots! What is it exactly and how was the idea born?
Pokidots! is my own small business and my newly found passion. I create personalized works of art using outgrown baby clothes, for parents to have as keepsakes of the times when their children were little.
The idea came to me very naturally as I was putting away my own daughters’ baby clothes: there were some clothes that reminded me of cherished moments with my babies, and I really wanted to keep them. Being a fashion illustrator, I drew my daughters as fashion illustrations, the way that I imagine them grown up, and dressing up the illustrations with their clothes. The result was perfect, as I was able to keep the clothes in the form of art, instead of just putting them in a drawer for years.
Little by little, friends and family started requesting keepsakes with their children’s clothes. I left my day job as Creative Project Manager for a Seattle company, and Pokidots! became my business.
Who are the people who mainly contact you? Tell us more about the process (contact, work, delivery…)
I get mostly contacted by parents, who, like me, wish to preserve a piece of their children’s baby days as a work of art made with their clothes.
I can be reached for orders at firstname.lastname@example.org, but the easiest way to order a custom keepsake is through the website at www.pokidots.com. Clients can go to the website shop and order their keepsake style from there, with their chosen options, like the name of the child if they want to include it, or the color of the frame. When I receive the order, I send them instructions by email on how to send me the clothes that they want to use for their keepsake.
I start working when I receive the baby clothes they send me. I work with each order differently, depending on the item received, the keepsake style, and the story behind the chosen clothes. When I’m done, I frame the artwork, package it, and send it to them in the mail. Orders inside the US arrive within a week, and international orders take 2 to 4 weeks to arrive.
Why do you think bookmarking a significant moment of our lives in a souvenir is something special and important?
You know, I didn’t know this would be important to me before it happened. I was putting away all my daughters’ baby clothes in a box to give away, but it wasn’t until I had my daughter’s special pajama in my hand that I strongly felt that I wanted to keep it. I remembered beautiful days when she was so little, wearing her newborn pajama that I had picked for her when I was pregnant. I just couldn’t put it in the box, it was too special for me. I felt like I would forget those wonderful memories if I got rid of the pajama. Now that I have it displayed in her room, I feel happy when I look at it. It’s like I have this beautiful and happy moment of my life with her, forever recorded, and as an original form of décor.
So in this case, I think that it’s important to keep memories of moments that make us happy and worthy. Being a mom tops everything that I’ve done in my life, but it’s easy to get carried away with life and stress and the difficulty of raising our children, and we forget the positive feelings. Bookmarking the beautiful memories reminds us of our happiness, and to slow down and enjoy the precious moments.
What is your favorite piece so far? And why?
Of course, my favorite pieces are the ones I made for my daughters :) The very first keepsakes I created with all the love I have for my girls. I like the pieces that have a special story, like a keepsake that I did with a piece of blanket that was preserved for 24 years. A mom gave it as a gift for her daughter when she turned 24, it was her favorite blanket since she was a baby, and now her keepsake, which is also an illustration that looks like her, is the thing she loves the most in her room because it means so much to her.
Do you often run into difficulties? And how do you manage to always work on something unique and different?
Some custom keepsakes are more challenging, like that one I had to do with a 10-year-old girl’s dress that was so big compared to baby items, or another one I had to do with very fragile baby clothes that were from the 1940s!
I get only one chance to cut the clothes and work on them. If an item looks more challenging, I usually give it a couple of days. I keep the clothing item in a visible spot, so I have to see it all day, and soon I trust my instinct, and start cutting. Most of the time, the style idea comes to me while I am working with the fabric, as if it’s guiding my hands :) I think my background in fashion design and a lifetime of doing meticulous projects with my hands also helps!
What’s the best part/stage of all this work?
My favorite part of the work is receiving the baby clothes in the mail. I open the envelopes as quickly as I can to discover what clothes I will be working on for the next keepsake. I also love when I get the chance to see the reaction of my clients. Their eyes twinkle and they instantly get emotional when they see their finished piece made just for them with their own baby’s clothes.
What are some of the most beautiful comments you have received from your customers?
Like I said above, the most beautiful comments are silent comments I get from clients that pick up their keepsakes at the studio. A twinkle in the eyes, an emotional smile, tears, those are the best reactions.
Otherwise, I have been told that the keepsakes are more than works of art; that they will be treasured heirlooms to pass down to generations in the family. I also heard that they make people so happy when they see them (like in my case) and that clients find themselves staring at them and remembering beautiful days.
I love to hear that clients find my work beautiful and high quality, but it is more important for me to know that it makes them feel happy and positive.
Do you find inspiration in your family, especially your daughters? And what do they think of their mommy’s work?
My entire business was inspired by my daughters. Without them, I couldn’t have experienced any of this! They understand what I do and they love watching me work. They like to see the clothes I receive before I cut them, and they give me feedback on the finished pieces. I also like to tell them the stories of where the clothes came from, and why they were chosen for a special keepsake.
What are the next plans you would like to achieve in your career?
I consider myself lucky to have found something that I am this passionate about. My plan is to keep growing Pokidots!, to preserve more memories and make more parents happy. Next steps include adding more keepsake styles, and in the future, making the website available in more languages.
I want to be a role model for my girls and show them that they can do what they are passionate about: all it takes is hard work and integrity.