For the past two years, I have wanted to create a place where Mississippi crafting, art, food, music, people and landmarks can be bragged on. For a while I thought I would start my own website dedicated specially to that. Recently, with my schedule getting busier and busier I realized talking about it right here on our blog would be a great way to do just that; Why wait? Every Monday, right here on The Thread, we will be featuring what we love about our state from businesses, crafters, artists, musicians, landmarks, food, etc. We are calling it 'Mississippi Monday,' and we couldn't be more excited! This Monday we bring to you the talented duo of The Fancy Fox with an interview starring co-owner, Kayla Gates. She interned with Thimblepress during the summer of 2014, so this is a very special Mississippi Monday for us. We love their awesome crochet pizzas and handmade wares they create in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Check out the interview we had with Kayla below. xo, Kristen
Q&A WITH KAYLA GATES of THE FANCY FOX
What exactly is The Fancy Fox?
The Fancy Fox is handmade. From crocheted pizza, to angsty embroidered hoops, and terrarium necklaces, to hand-sewn pillows with a heart over your favorite city of any state; we make all things quirky and *fancy* for your home and for your self. Everything that we produce we strive to put our heart and souls in to. We make what we love and what we are proud to share with our friends aka our "customers."
How did it get started?
I (Kayla Gates) started The Fancy Fox in 2011 with only a few crocheted flowered headbands to sell at local craft shows in Laurel, Mississippi. After about a year of doing things by myself, I knew I was ready to expand what I did and get another "designer" that was strong in areas that I was weak, and someone that could just really help me along the way. That's where Haley Ford came in! And things have just snowballed from there!
Where in Mississippi are you located?
We are currently located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
How does Mississippi play a role in your business?
Being from Mississippi has definitely taught me to "grow where you are planted." You can do what you want and what you're passionate about andbe successful at it no matter where you are from. Just because no one else around you is doing what you're doing, doesn't mean you will fail, but that you'll more than likely be sought after for your uniqueness! So, it's really taught me do to what I love no matter what. Thanks, Mississippi!
What or who was your inspiration for starting The Fancy Fox?
My true inspiration for The Fancy Fox came from just wanting/needing an outlet for my creative endeavors. I literally can't imagine my life without it. But I fell in to the blogging community back in 2009 and just absolutely fell in love with the idea of "everyday people" making and selling what they love. The A Beautiful Mess blog was *really* influential to me in my last few years of high school and early years of college. They posted our picture on their instagram Saturday, and I cried when I saw it! The people that gave me the inspiration to do what I love posted our picture... What a dream come true!
Who is all involved in The Fancy Fox?
Me (Kayla Gates) and Haley Ford, technically.... But it takes a village to raise a business, right? My dad and both of our boyfriends help us by encouraging us and building things for us and helping us lift heavy objects almost every single month. So, hats off to these guys for their support!
What are your goals for The Fancy Fox?
My goal for The Fancy Fox is for us just to never lose sight of why we started to do all of this in the first place. We did it/are doing it because we love creating things by hand. We love the personality that handmade things offer someone. I love sharing what I do to my friends in the creative instagram community that we've been so blessed to be a part of. I think if we keep that in mind, The Fancy Fox will always be fun and the outlet it was always meant to be.
What is your background?
I am from Laurel, Mississippi. I went to a *tiny* private highschool in Heidelberg, MS where I graduated with 26 people. I somehow blossomed from a country-wannabe tomboy into the person I am today. I can thank my friends that I had my last couple years of highschool for bringing out the person that I think I was always meant to be!
Where do you find inspiration?
I honestly find a ton of inspiration from the creative group of friends (like Thimblepress!) that I have met through Instagram. Being a part of a handmade community really pushes me to be the best that I can be. But also, long drives or trips where you can just clear your mind and think (you know what I mean?) *really* brings out some of the best ideas!
What do you like to do when you aren't creating new work?
I love to travel. I think it's good for the soul. New England (especially Rhode Island) has become like a second home to me. I love to break out of the daily routine and getting out and exploring new places! On the regular though, since I'm not made of money, I am a huge fan of binge watching shows on Netflix or hunkering down with a really good book.
What are your favorite local places to shop and dine?
Hmm.. I might have to break this down in to categories as far as the food in Hattiesburg goes! (PS - I'm a huge foodie) For breakfast, I love Southbound Bagels. Lunch, The Depot Coffee House and Bistro. Afternoon coffee break, T-Bones Records and Cafe. Supper, The Keg & Barrel. Mmm! The best local shopping would be a tie between T-Bones Records (I mean.. Records and books in one store?!) The Lucky Rabbit (only open once a month, but it really has unique finds!) and Weekender Boutique.
What are some of the reasons you call Mississippi home?
The main reason is because it is where I was born and raised. Even if I don't live in Mississippi my whole life, it will always be home. It's my warm, muggy hug when I'm sad, and it's is my home made sweet tea when nothing else can satisfy me. It's comfort, you know?
How do you think what you are doing is helping to shape your local community as well as the image of Mississippi?
I hope that it is positively changing how the people of Mississippi are viewed. We're not all country bumpkins that love camo and don't know what's culturally going on in the world. We have a huge community of talented, creative people here - that I'm happy to be a part of - and we're here to show y'all what we've got! ;)