The/Studio: Introduce yourself. Tell our readers a little bit about who you are!
Eileen: My name is Eileen Strom. Up until 5 yrs ago I had spent pretty much my whole life in Southern California, but now I live in Texas. Among other interests, I love to design and create and found that my talents came in handy for various projects over the years, but especially when my husband decided to become a Santa Claus 11 years ago. It is an interesting group of people and I soon discovered that others out there wanted my help in creating items for them as well. I am now also a Mrs. Claus, so I have also made items for myself! (When I can get time to do so that is!)
So now I am a 1 person hobby gone crazy. I have made items that are now all over the world. I have also had designed a replica wreath ring from the 1994 Miracle on 34th St movie, as well as designed a Santa sized belt buckle. Being, again a 1 person hobby, there is only so much I can make/sew/do, try though they want to have me make more!
I came up with the fun name of North Pole Clothiers for my stuff. I also love to make and or embroider gifts for family so I spend a lot of time in my sewing room.
We are both members of the Lone Star Santas here in Texas, and have had the good fortune to be involved with the Convoy of Toys that we do.
The/Studio: It sounds like an amazing hobby! Tell us more about North Pole Clothiers.
Eileen: I sew and embroider things for mostly Santas and a few things for Mrs. C’s. While I don’t make their suits, I pretty much make everything else. The fancy vests, workshop aprons, toy bags, casual shirts, the list goes on.
The/Studio: Santas are very lucky to have you! What have you learned since starting North Pole Clothiers?
Eileen: Time is not my own. And that a much larger amount of space would sure be nice to have! My little sewing room is just a bit over 10’ x 11’ and it is bursting at the seams – no pun intended.
The/Studio: (Laughing) What about North Pole Clothiers are you most proud of?
Eileen: My husband says I should have a motto of “improving Santas, 1 Santa at a time”.
I love being able to see that my work, not only brings a smile to the Santa it is made for, but it is knowing that it is also helping to continue to make the magic of Santa and Christmas just a bit more special to all the children and adults out there.
The/Studio: That must be a wonderful feeling. What are some of the greatest challenges you face with North Pole Clothiers?
Eileen: Being Santas, and hence Santa-sized, most, if not all of them, do not fall into regular otc sewing pattern sizes which if I am lucky go up to a XL. Santas are round and 2XL – 4XL. So, I have to custom make most of the items for that individual Santa from scratch. Also, many of the accessories that I make are because someone asked “can you make a …?” So I make patterns for those too. Things like book satchels, magic bags, toy bags, etc.
The/Studio: This sounds like a lot of work, but I am sure it is fun! Where do you see North Pole Clothiers in 10 years?
Eileen: Assuming I am still capable of continuing, I really won’t be any “larger or bigger” as I can only sew so much stuff by myself. But my “list” for 2016 orders was filled up by August 2015, so I am not lacking for work. I get told I need a clone or 2 to help me.
The/Studio: What type of legacy do you want to leave?
Eileen: That my sewn items last (as much as fabrics can last), my buckles help bring smiles to both the Santas and children alike, and that I have helped to spread the joy of Christmas just a bit.
The/Studio: What is the story behind the custom product that you produced with The/Studio?
Eileen: I wanted to get sewing labels that could be added to my items and I wanted them to match the business cards that I made for myself so that there would be continuity with them both.
Thank you, Elieen, for sharing your story with us and most importantly keeping the Christmas spirit alive. Merry Christmas!