Name: Shauna Hursh
Occupation: Clothing Designer
Born: Hermosa Beach, California
Lives: New Braunfels, Texas
How long have you been in New Braunfels and why did you move here?
We have been here almost four years now... and while it took some major adjustments... I call it home now.... My dad was born and raised in Texas... and he always said while living in California that he thought Texas was the better place to raise a family. Everything in Texas is unique. People are much more friendly to strangers out here... and people wave at you when you drive past them... I.love.that! I enjoy the wide open spaces of the country, the lake and the smell of cedar burning... Texas is very family oriented and I'm stoked to raise my daughters here.
What do you call what you do?
My heart's desire is making clothes and being able to stay home with my children and support the orphans in any way I can.... outside of these three things.... its all in support of the above three.... and that's the main focus.
What made you decide to open up shop?
After I finished design school, I was waitressing at my friends Mexican food restaurant, El Gringo. I would roller skate to work and pop on my flip flops to sling burritos... it was a nice simple life.. I always had a big dream to own my own shop and be my own boss. I was driving around with a friend and a Starbucks when I saw a "for lease" sign in a small cottage style shop right on the beach in Hermosa. That was five years ago. I filled out an application and got the shop, just like that. I had no money or business plan.. I just winged it and it was a great success. I didn't take out a huge loan that hung over my head... instead I moved in an old vintage sofa, a vintage TV that played Disney movies all day long and brewed tea or coffee at the front door. I hung clothes in the shop like it was my home and people came in and hung out like it was their second home. It was very warm. After being in business three months, my shop was named best one-of-a-kind clothing store in the South Bay's easy reader. Business was plentiful. However, when I became pregnant with McCoy, after only a year of being in business, I knew I couldn't juggle running the shop and being the Mom I wanted to be. I decided to close shop... and sell on ebay. Then someone told me about etsy and it was love at first sight. ETSY has been a great jumping board for me... especially in the season of raising kids... its great to be able to be home with my children yet still work and do what I love. I also sell to various shops and try to do local fairs and such.
What makes your stuff different from everything else?
Well for one... it is handmade... and with so much stuff being made in China or elsewhere in a factory... its nice to know there is a person behind the product. Also, my stuff has a sense of humor... it embraces the imperfect beauty of a person... and most of the people who wear the clothing testify that they feel more "themselves" having worn it. I don't know how to best put it into words...but PPP is all about being you... and not having to fit into an obnoxious mold of fashion trends...
Where did the name Poor Pitiful Pearl come from?
I remember the day... here goes: At that time, I was waitressing at my favorite Mexican food restaurant El Gringo in Hermosa Beach, (tell them I sent you :), the food is unbeatable and the surfer-mexi ambiance is the synopsis of my hometown. I had dreams as long as I could dress myself to have a clothing boutique- a place where I could sew, sing and laugh and call it a job. I remember this morning like no other. I hopped out of my dented truck parked at my Gram's Annabelle. I could smell the wondrous winter ocean salt as I hurried to her front door. Plopping myself down on Gram's twirly chair, I jostled my hair into a messy ponytail. My Sweet Gram, the sweetest woman you would ever meet looked at me with those blue eyes, the eyes of an angel and giggled innocently. She shook her head as she studied my once again off the wall ensemble. "My little Poor Pitiful Pearl, ahhhh!" She sighed..."that's what you are, a little doll" I knew right then and there that she had just named the art I called my anti-fashion, the fashion that is about being authentic, real, comfortable and well, pitiful I guess at times... Some people remember the actual doll, she was a meek little thing, nothing spectacular about her, straw like hair, plain face and an orphan dress to boot, but there was something so charming about her...its hard to put to paper. Pearl had nabbed the hearts of many and claimed her stake in history as a once very popular doll. Just like us, all individuals set apart from each other in magnificent ways... In what we may proclaim to be a fault or imperfection per se in worldly standards are the exact things God gave us to create a perfect work in us. We live in an oversaturated world of material things and it frees me from the bondage of needing to be perfect to seek resourcefulness in a world that breeds "sameness". Too much philosophy for clothing? I disagree. In fact, I think the clothing we wear expresses so much of who we are, how we feel that particular day and most importantly how we see ourselves. It's frustrating to understand the way marketing has brainwashed us into thinking we are nothing without a name brand or the "vogue" look. What I have set out to do is to embrace all of my customers as the individuals they are by offering them a totally One-Of-A-Kind item, handmade & sewn with integrity & love...no sweatshops allowed! Not to mention, earth friendly too, because nothing in my scrap bin is ever trash!
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Everything. I love colorful happy things. Things you wouldn't expect to go together. Things that don't match, mixing the old with the new. I love the texture of certain fabrics and am drawn to things like nubs on an old worn out dish cloth. I love rummaging through bins of junk, finding a treasure amongst it all. That is so rewarding. I love taking things that are seemingly trash to someone else and make it into something unforgettable and special. I am very much a visionary... a total dreamer. I lie awake a lot, feeling a sense of urgency to put my ideas to paper. When I design an article of clothing, I paint a visual picture of a moment and a person in that moment... I think all things tell a story and that's why I feel like I sell more of a lifestyle rather than clothing. The clothing I make is inspired by the girl who lives life without the worry of spilling a bit of coffee on her shirt... I embrace the beauty in imperfections and am attracted to things that are real and authentic.
What is your favorite part of the business?
Oh boy... everything. I love shopping for thrifted pieces,... and I love spending hours... digging through vintage sheets, towels, tablecloths... I love putting random stuff together... playing music and designing... going into a zone... and just making stuff... I have been blessed with a loyal following of great customers... and I very much enjoy seeing their pictures in their PPP... and communicating with them... I really love what I do... I couldn't imagine doing anything else.... oh and photo shoots are a blast ... I am learning a bit behind the camera... and its very exciting.
What is your least favorite part?
Gosh... to be totally transparent... my least favorite part is that it takes a lot of time to run a business of my own. I have often wondered if I worked a regular job and came home with less occupying my mind if I would be better because of it. I just can't fathom the thought... because I feel as though I was created to do this.. its inherent ... its like eating...My biggest struggle is making sure that my job doesn't consume me... as I have trouble keeping work and life separate.. I think most business owners could attest to that... so for sure... I'd say the constant struggle to find balance.
Whose work do you admire?
Oh hands down.. TOMS SHOES! The Toms Shoes commercial makes me cry every time I watch it. I have such a heart for the orphans. My dream is to someday be successful enough with PPP, that I can take personal trips to orphanages and bring clothing and necessities to them. This is the dream in my heart that breaks up the routine of everyday life and makes my life full of purpose and intention. I love how Toms shoes donate a pair of shoes to a child in need for every shoe sold. I am so inspired by this way of running a business.. if only we could all operate our businesses this way. What a radical change in our world we would see. WE committed to sending 10% of our profits to the Casa Hogar Orphanage. For more information about these children please see our site.
Tell us a little about how your creative process works?
This part is hard to describe... I can tell you what my creative process ISN'T. I don't decide to make a dress and then go buy all the things I need for it ... when I thrift, I look at colors, textures, things that speak to me.. I just buy what I like.. and then I tear my studio apart and go at it...I just start putting things together. I have two assistants that help me sew, mail packages and do various things that make the process run smoothly...
Who buys your clothing?
Everyone... It may seem like a marginalized customer base... but the variety of stuff I have opens itself up to everyone really. ( besides men ... unless of course you have a gift giver on your hands).... My mom wears the oxy tubes... and my seven month old wears the little PPP Tutus... and bloomers... its for all sizes... all people... My main client however is the young Hip Mom who detests following fashion trends and wears what she wants to wear. Ohhh... and I was totally stoked when country singer Miranda Lambert picked out a PPP Patchwork Vest to wear for her photo shoot... on the cover of People Magazine... that was an honor.....
What kind of goals have you set for yourself going forward?
I'm naturally a goal setter... obnoxious charts and stuff... I just enjoy projects and pushing myself... I could totally bore you with my random goals... like wanting to learn photoshop.. play the guitar and organic gardening... but I will leave it at this... I am totally open to whatever God shows me along this path... my life is his and this business is a huge gift from him... I have no anxiety when I remember this.. I am confident he will bring me and this business to where it needs to be...
What 3 words best describe Poor Pitiful Pearl?
recycled. eclectic. bohemian.
Briefly describe a normal day in your life?
Coffee, drop off daughter at school, quiet time with God, yoga, take an obnoxious amount of pictures of my beautiful children, sew, design, emails, thrifting, photo shoots in random parking lots, stalk Starbucks, cook, homework, kiss the baby, kiss my four year old, kiss the husband...maybe a game of backgammon to seal the day... oh and I almost forgot... I frantically clean house.
What's next for Poor Pitiful Pearl?
Hmm... its kinda top secret... if I say it... it might ruin it. I have some dreams up my sleeve always... the wheels are always turning.
Jesus.... this is all his plan.... and all glory goes to him... always!
*photo courtesy of Poor Pitiful Pearl