I got it from my mama.

Posted by Marina Fleites on

No, but really.

 My mom, Mylene, is the person who really    nurtured (read: enabled) my love for all things  crafty. Her initials before she got married were  M.A.R., so her older brother always called her  Mar. When I got to high school, my friends  started calling me Mar, too, short for Marina. The Original Mar herself is

Baby Mar Looks up at her mother.

 a sewist, and when  my kindergarten art   teacher had us hand sew  pillows, my mom   immediately saw how much I  liked it and got   me lessons. My summer camp  and   elementary school both started offering   sewing class in 4th grade, so I dove right in.   Fast forward to eighth grade and my mom   was right there helping me sew my semi   dress and dreaming up all kinds of projects   (most just for an excuse to go to the fabric   store).

My high school senior project was a family tree quilt for my mom, and that was the first time I did any hand embroidery. I left it alone in college, mostly because I didn't have any time. The summer before my senior year, I painted a denim jacket for my sister's birthday and posted it on Instagram. Immediately I started getting DMs - "Hey, if I give you a jacket will you paint it for me?" - and that is how MarMadeThat was born.

Senior year, friends would drop off a jacket at my apartment and Venmo me for the art on the back. I started doing some that were embroidered with very basic designs. I made an Etsy store, and then promptly forgot about the single listing in the shop.  When I graduated I moved back home to Boston, then six months later got a new job in NYC. My first Etsy sale came through in February of 2020 when I was living in Brooklyn - you know, like right before the world shut down.

When the world did shut down, I started to do more embroidery because it took up less space than all of my fabric paint. I was staying at home with my parents in Boston, and decided it would be so cute to stitch our family beagle, Clark, in a pocket tee. I had made MarMadeThat an Instagram at this point, so I posted the photo there and all of a sudden I was an embroidery store, not a painted denim store.

Since then I've learned so much about running a business, being an artist, the best ways to stitch, and the best way to build community. My mom even sold her handmade masks in my store to help raise money to make more to donate to frontline workers.

In January of 2021, I moved to Burlington, VT and it was the best decision I ever made. The community of artists, creatives, and their supporters here is incredible, and I'm so thankful to all those I've met and those I haven't yet. I've been able to dive deeper into my sewing and upcycling since I now have my own office/studio besides the living room floor, and with almost every project I'm sending my mom photo updates since she now lives in Florida.

My style and products have evolved, and I've made so many new friends, but one thing is for sure when you support my store (whether its me or for a little while there my mom) Mar definitely made that.

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