Good morning! Today I’ve got an Independent Spotlight with Starrbird Productions. Starrbird is near and dear to me because my friend Carlye started this company. She’s an incredibly talented seamstress, designer and cosplayer. She’s been a friend of mine for about 9 years. I’ve had the pleasure of attending many Dragon Cons with her. She always blows my mind with her amazing costumes and designs. I hope you enjoy this interview with her!
Independent Spotlight Starrbird Productions
Nya and Carlye both took a huge leap of faith by leaving their corporate jobs to start this small “Made in America” unique production company. With only the two of us employed, we often have caffeine fueled days of pattern drafting and late night sewing parties to help our clients meet important deadlines. StarrBird wants to continue to expand and help sustain the indie fashion industry’s push for onshore manufacturing at affordable prices. From helping a local fashion icon start her line made of recycled & reconstructed clothing to jump starting one woman’s dream of custom bikinis or constructing the perfect costume replica. And as many costumes, outfits, as you want to share, as well as what services you offer. We do everything from private label to custom costumes. The only things that we won’t touch are bridal dresses and alterations. We have made huge Pikachu outfits to yoga shorts. We do it all. Carlye and Nya both have degrees in fashion. Carlye started her love costumes in the cosplay community.
Do you have a partner? How does that affect your business?
My partner makes my business possible. She’s the yin to my yang and without her there would be no Starrbird.
What made you decide to form your own company?
I was unhappy at my corporate job and a friend who used to work there had a client who needed a designer so we teamed up. I produced designs and she was prototyping and manufacturing them. We started making stripper wear for this guy then another client came along and Nya said “we are basically already partners, let’s just make this official.” I am very grateful to have met her and then reconnect with her after she had left Busch Gardens. She’s talented, smart, and driven. She’s also a smart ass which is perfect because so am I.
How did you come up with your name?
I wish I could claim the name was my idea BUT it was most definitely Nya’s idea. We hadn’t formed our company yet and one day over the phone Nya said something that I thought was starboard. I said excuse me and Nya got a little bashful saying, “Oh its stupid it’s just if we formed a company we should call it Starrbird, because you are a Starr and I put birds on everything” A few weeks later at my bachelorette party she gave me a purse with an awesome type and logo on it that said Starrbird, I was sold.
How long have you loved makeup?
I remember once when I was about 7 I had a set of sisters over for a sleepover. We went into my mom’s bathroom and got all of her makeup out. Nail polish, blush, eye shadow, lip stick, you name it. We got into just out under wear and covered ourselves with “tribal” markings so we could be Native Americans. We walked into the living room to show my mom and it was met with an immediate and loud “DONT TOUCH ANYTHING GET IN THE TUB!” So I would say since I was about 7. I love all kinds of makeup but I specialize in body art and horror make up.
How long have you loved creating costumes?
Oh since I can remember! I played dress up almost every day of my life and tried every odd fashion choice you could imagine. When I decided to go to college I couldn’t figure out what art avenue I wanted to take and a boyfriend at the time told me, “You always draw hot chicks in dresses or costumes so maybe you should do fashion” clearly it stuck.
How did you get into costuming?
I decided to go into costuming because the fashion world is catty and cold and basically boring. To make any money in fashion you have to be a mass producer and sell in Walmart or be a haute couture designer, of which there are very few and even they have day jobs designing under big labels. I didn’t like how snotty the fashion world is so I tried costumes and loved it. I do not particularly specialize in theater but more replicas, comic, animated costumes. Oh and of course originals.
How many pieces have you created?
Between private label and costuming, somewhere in the hundreds most likely and if you count my years as a costumer at Busch Gardens its thousands I am sure. I have logged enough hours to be considered a master in my field.
What is your favorite type of costume to create?
Originals all the way, I love finding the spirit of the character and bringing them to life. Replicas are rigid and formal and the fans are brutal!
What is the most challenging?
As mentioned above it’s anything with a rabid fan base, if you mess anything up they are going to let you know.
What’s your skincare routine?
I use a scrub at least 5 times a day. I am religious about washing my face and keeping my oil to a minimum. I am also a huge advocate for moisturizer. Let me honest, white women don’t always age well so we need to take care of our skin. This includes daily doses of sun screen.
How do you relax or pamper yourself?
What is relaxing? I try to read when I can. It’s my favorite way to unwind, with a glass of Malbec for company of course. If I am feeling really indulgent I get a massage or a pedicure. I can’t have a manicure, no not even the gel, because of what I do day in and day out. It’s a total waste of money for me.
How do you balance work and family?
That is probably the hardest balance to find. I am a workaholic so I force myself to slow down and enjoy quite moments with my daughter. We make sure to eat one meal a day together and have story time. My husband works evenings so I only see him on the weekend and I make sure we get quality time whether we are cleaning or just having fun.
Do you have any pets?
Yes I am an insane pet person. I have two dogs, one of which is deaf. I have four cats, two are outside. My indoor cats consist of a naked kitty, (the sphinx breed) and a super fluffy black cat with a crazy crooked tail that I found on Halloween three years ago.