Meet Meerwiibli, An Eco-Friendly, Mermaid Loving Clothing Designer

Please meet Sarah-Maria of the eco-friendly clothing shop, meerwiibli on Etsy. She is a talented designer who opened shop on January 1st of last year! If you would like to learn more about her, check out her facebook page or her website.

Describe yourself.

I’m a fashion designer/seamstress/photo researcher who lives in the Catskills but grew up in Switzerland. That makes my clothing Swiss made in the USA!

What makes your clothing eco-friendly?

Well, we all create waste and even making clothing from environmentally responsible fabric creates pollution and waste but it also creates jobs. I love using bamboo knits. Bamboo is an amazing fiber which is also super-soft, draws moisture away from the skin and it’s naturally antimicrobial. I also use organic cotton and most of my fabrics are made in the USA or Western Europe, where there is a high anti-pollution standards for manufacturing.

How did you get started in the world of crafting/design?

I grew up in Switzerland, handicrafts are quite important there and I learned knitting, crocheting and sewing starting in 3rd grade in school.

Your etsy shop is called meerwiibli, does this have any meaning to you? How did you choose the name?

Meerwiibli means mermaid in Swiss-German. My family crest is a mermaid and I’ve always been completely obsessed with mermaids so it was quite an easy choice.

What is a typical day for you?

Sadly I still spend most days at my day job. So my sewing time is between coming home and dinner and on the weekends. I end up working about 60 hour weeks between my day job and my shop but I love it. I’ll be trying to cut back hours at my day job soon though, yay!

What inspires you?

Beauty and nature. It’s all around us. Plus I have a serious fabric buying habit. I often buy the fabric first and design around it after I have the fabric, not the other way round.

What is your favourite thing in your shop and why?

I’m always a sucker for my coats and jackets and they seem to be my bestsellers usually. What I love about outerwear is that you can just put on a great jacket and the whole outfit is saved.

If you could go back and give yourself advice on starting out on etsy, what would it be?

I should have opened my shop much earlier than I did. I thought I needed items in stock and while it sure helps it’s not necessary. I had a hard time getting started because I just didn’t have the time to create stock.

What are some of your favourite etsy shops?

Fairysteps is making me a pair of vegan shoes, her work is amazing! I really want a piece by Leanimal of Project Runway fame, her work’s been hugely influential to me. I’d love to have one of WoodlandBelle’s terrarium rings and emiliefriday has made some amazing felted figures for me.

Do you do any other types of crafts?

Well, nothing as well as sewing though I’ve incorporated needle felting into my sewing before, love doing that. I used to be a doily-crocheting maniac in middle school….

Is there any craft you wish you knew how to do?

Shoe-making! Oh my goodness I really need to get on that! I’m a shoe addict but also a vegetarian – not a good combination, it’s really hard to find awesome non-leather shoes that are cool and good quality.

Zombies, pirates, ninjas, or vampires?

I’m going to have to go with pirates as the Pirate School books, written by my husband Brian James, always crack me up!


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  1. #1 by Katrina on April 6, 2011 - 11:26 pm

    Great interview – you have a gorgeous shop!

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