Q+A with Aubrey Cantu | Bertie Lou Baby

Aubrey and I connected on Instagram when I was looking for some shops to do trades with for flatlays. I loved the whimsical, energetic style of her handmade toddler bag line Bertie Lou Baby and she was such a sweetheart! We clicked and have been the biggest fans and supporters of each other along the way. This mama has such a kind and quirky soul, you just HAVE to "meet" her!


Q. My hometown is...
A. Silsbee, Texas, is where I grew up. But San Antonio, Texas, is home.

What inspires you?
My daughter. My love of the creative process. Textiles with interesting colors, textures or patterns. My faith. Music of all kinds. Art. The whimsy of childhood and the fun of a child's imagination. To see these awesome little girls from all walks of life wearing and enjoying the bags that I stitch is just an awesome feeling. Knowing that I don't know what's coming next but just jumping and going for it. The exhilaration of the "trying" is a really big thing for me.


The magic mini-bag factory @bertieloubaby
What's your creative process like?
From a very young age, I discovered that if I wasn't expressing my creativity in some way, that I felt stagnant. So I have a tremendous respect and love of the creative process. For me, it's not just having an idea and then sitting down to sketch the pattern and testing the pattern and revising the pattern and choosing the fabrics, etc. That's all part of it, yes -- but for me, the heart of my process is really a challenge to myself. "Can I create this?" "Can I find a way to make this work?" "Can I find a better way to do it?" So for me, the creative process is very personal.

What's your business all about?
Bertie Lou Baby at the very heart is about making awesome bags for awesome kids. It's about making heirloom-quality bags that capture the spirit and vitality of childhood, and expressing that in a totally unique and one-of-a-kind way so that every bag is as unique as the kiddo that carries it.


That fabric and trim stash though! @bertieloubaby
When and how did you start your business?
I've had a desire to have a handmade business for quite a while, and on my shop's page, you can see that Bertie Lou Baby was founded and opened in 2012. But work and other ventures always kept me from devoting the time I needed to get it off the ground. In July, 2014, I stitched an early version of my "Tilly the Octopus" bags for my best friend's little girls and I just thought that it might be a great opportunity to put myself out there and to give Bertie Lou Baby a go. I stitched another bag for my daughter, and another for my sister and began revising and rewriting the pattern. And after that I just went for it. I was very lucky to already be plugged into the IG community and had made some very good and dear friends that supported me and pushed me and mentored me - and still do. I owe a whole lot of my success to those women that were willing to stick their necks out to support me or were willing to work with me. Tamara Arcilla was one of those women, and I am forever grateful.

What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome to get to where you are today?
Timing has always been my biggest challenge. My second is a chronic condition which I battle on an everyday basis. So once the timing worked itself out, it was a question of whether I would allow my condition to limit my choices. And in the end, the answer for me was "no".


Adorable owl bag by @bertieloubaby

The thing that surprised me most was...
The thing that has surprised me most is the discovery of my entrepreneurial spirit. Creating a product is one thing; selling it is quite another. I started BLB because I wanted an excuse to stitch and be creative. But in launching my brand, I found that I enjoy all aspects of running a business. From budgeting to marketing, branding and networking - the entire process is something that I enjoy. And figuring out that I didn't just want to sew purses for little girls, but that I wanted to build a recognizable brand was a huge surprise for me.


I'm most grateful for...
My loving and giving husband who has always been my biggest support and for my beautiful grandmother who taught me the skills that I use everyday. I owe both of them a great debt of gratitude.


Bag by @bertieloubaby
My advice for anyone thinking of making and selling is...
Find your creative voice and go for it. You'll never know if you don't try.

Is there anything you would do differently if you had to start over today?
I would probably make a better plan to strike a more even home/work balance. It's something I struggle with every day.


Bag by @bertieloubaby

My favorite colors are... Gray and grayer.
The song that's stuck in my head lately is...
The entire new The Decemberists album. It's on eternal repeat in my little studio.


@bertieloubaby

Currently streaming...
I just finished Sons of Anarchy and LOST on Netflix. Sundays are for Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley at our house.

My favorite sip-able treat is...
I run on an equally balanced formula of coffee and malbec.


@bertieloubaby

If I could pick a super power it would be...
To get things accomplished while I sleep. I mean, imagine the possibilities! LOL

If I had the whole day to myself I would...
To impress you I would say that I would grab a coffee, head to the museum for a few hours before grabbing lunch at a local cafe and then ending the day with a book in my hand at one of my city's many beautiful parks. But in reality you would probably find me in my pajamas watching an obscene amount of Netflix with a bottle of malbec. Or taking a nap.

@bertieloubaby

Best quote ever...
Proverbs 14:1 - The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands, the foolish one tears hers down. (NIV)

Best book ever...
I love All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin and as cheesy as it may sound, the Bible. My day just isn't right if I don't spend some time reading it.

Best movie ever...
Say Anything.

My Woman crushes are:
my sister, Kasey. As a person with special needs, she has never let it stand in her way. Always with a smile on her face, she gives so freely. She will always be my hero.

@djs_handsies - I have always looked up to Danette. She is incredibly talented and a beautiful human being. I am thankful to her for all of the support she has given my shop. I am definitely blessed to call her my friend.
@juneugtennessee - Tiffany is one of those people that just oozes talent and skill. She has an impeccable eye for design and a desire for quality in the products she makes. And that she is such a loving person on top of all that is just amazing.

Follow me at:
Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BertieLouBaby
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bertie-Lou-Baby/1446496692301042
Instagram: @bertieloubaby
Twitter: @bertieloubaby