10 Questions with… Mary from Pogtotes

IMG_5088Every week we have a fun “10 questions” session with some of our contributors to the Indie Craft Sampler. Some serious, but mostly fun questions. Our second installment for the November Sampler Contributors is with Mary from Pogtotes.

1. What is the story behind your shop name, Pogtotes?

One of my dogs, Charlie Brown, grunts like a pig. So one of his first nicknames was Pog – pig dog.  When I first started, I was only making tote bags, so PogTotes seemed perfectly logical!

2. In your profile you talk about brain surgery in 2011, if you feel like sharing, tell us about that journey…

In February 2011, I got a terrible headache one day at work.  It wouldn’t go away, despite taking ibuprofen, laying under my desk in the dark, and doing anything else I could think of.  I eventually called my husband at work, and he came to get me.  We went to urgent care, and then to the emergency room.   An MRI showed that I had a very rare type of brain cyst that had a ruptured, and the leaking fluids caused meningitis.
They had to remove the cyst so it wouldn’t rupture again.  After that surgery, I lost my ability to write, type or speak at the speeds I was used to – so my career as a litigator was over.  I also had significant cognitive impairment.  While I have improved since that surgery, I am nowhere near what I would need to be at to go back to litigating.

I had two more surgeries this year in an attempt to take care of a pseudomeningocele that has formed in the back of my head and is causing debilitating head aches.  So far, it hasn’t gone away, but my neurosurgeon hasn’t given up home.  The last surgery was to install a shunt, and we are hoping that it will eventually resolve things.

3. Where do you get ideas/inspiration from when coming up with new products for your shop?

My number one inspiration is fabric.  I’ll see fabrics I love, and I will want to come up with the best ways to display them.  I really like combining coordinating fabrics.  And I get so many ideas from doing shows and hearing what customers are looking for.

4. Best advice another crafty/indie owner has given you? or something you’ve learned since opening a shop?

Don’t undersell yourself!  Pricing your creations at an unreasonably low amount hurts everyone in the craft community.  Your time and creativity are worth something.

5. Many of your goods use Japanese fabrics- what design styles are your favorite to work with (animals, kawaii, cutesy, etc)?
My favorite is definitely animals.  There are so many cute Japanese fabrics out there with dogs, cats, woodland creatures, etc.
Pog & Squirrel

Pog & Squirrel

6. What are some things that freak you out?

Driving!  I do it, but I am not a fan of it.  I’ve had one too many nightmares about driving off a bridge.  A good horror movie freaks me about, too – not gory, but suspenseful.  Descent is one of the best.

7. What is one of your favorite songs ever?

“Thrice All American” by Neko Case, on Furnace Room Lullaby.

8. Five people you find fascinating?

Rachel Maddow, Tina Fey, Michelle Obama, Neko Case, Jen Kirkman


9. What is a talent you wish you had?

Drawing!  I would love to eventually design my own fabric, but I can’t draw to save my life.

10. And finally, why should people visit your shop? 

Because I make cute and pretty things!  I’m very particular about the fabrics I use, and I only want to make things with prints that I think people with love.  I also take pride is making everything perfect – I won’t ever send out something without straight seams and sturdy construction. Visit Pogtotes.
  Mary has indeed contributed 75 of the most oh-so-lovely zippered pouches for the November samplers. Buy a sampler box here 🙂