We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Ferry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I would not say I have ever pursued a career, if anything I’ve shied away from the idea of having a specific career. My university degree is in Recreational Therapy yet I was initially enrolled in a Graphics Design degree in Melbourne, Australia, where I am from. After traveling overseas and around Australia for a couple of years after high school I decided that I didn’t want to spend my days designing logos on a computer and loved more being with people and the outdoors. Fast forward 6 years I found myself living in Boulder, married, and at home with a 1 year old daughter. I have always loved sewing and repurposing thrift store finds so naturally I began making little girls dresses out of old linen shirts I found, which in short lead to an Etsy store, which lead to local Firefly markets, which lead to exploring women’s styles based on customers feedback, which lead to where I am today. I come from a creative extended family so have always been very encouraged to nurture my creativity whether is be through sewing, drawing, painting and I have a very supportive immediate family that has always encouraged and supported me in my handmade clothing venture Charlie + Me. If asked “what I do for work” I still often say I’m a stay at home mum (even though my kids are 9 & 12) with a small handmade clothing business on the side, and often sub in the school district, so at the end of the day the debate is still out if I have a “career” or just a bunch of amazingly awesome activities I get to spend my days doing.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Charlie + Me is my small, handmade clothing business that I run from my home in Boulder, Colorado. Each piece is designed and stitched together by myself in my small studio/shed in our backyard. Charlie + Me initially began as a children’s clothing line but slowly morphed into a women’s line, and more recently I have narrowed my focus towards the pieces I love making most which are my naturally dyed, quilted, linen jackets. Running a small business from home has certainly had it challenges but has also given me the opportunity for flexibility when it comes to balancing family/ work time. I feel very fortunate to be able to be at home with my girls, especially during this time and still be able to sew and create at a steady pace without the pressure and stress of having a 9-5 job outside the home. Over the years I have learnt more and more about the negative side effects of the fashion industry on communities and the environment across the globe and a few years back decided that if I was going to be even just a tiny fish in the fashion industry fish bowl I wanted to do it in a conciencious way which meant using organic threads, natural or organic fabrics, and try to keep waste to a minimum by mainly making made-to-order pieces. It makes me sad to see how much as a society we think so little about where our clothing comes from yet we so often see it as an expression of who we are. I do hope that slowly we can move back towards a slower, more deliberate approach when it comes to fashion.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh if my best friend could come here it would be a dream. I would firstly take her to the top of Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder to look off West and enjoy the view. After that we would head back down to Pearl Street and enjoy a coffee at Trident Coffee shop before strolling the Pearl Street Mall. That evening we would eat at Sherpa’s restaurant on the patio and enjoy the best Chai tea in town along with a good glass of red wine. The next day we would head to the 4th of July Trail past Nederland and hike most of the day and stop in to explore Ned on the way home. During her week here we would explore Rocky Mountain National Park for a day, eat at the Denver Milk Market and explore the Rino area while enjoying all the street art and a beer at Improper City. Depending on the season maybe mountain bike at Batasso, or tube down the St. Vrain river in Lyons, and then eat at Hapa Sushi on Pearl St.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My biggest shoutout goes out to my Mum back in Australia. She has always been a great inspiration to me and spent a lot of time teaching me to sew when I was young. She always encouraged my creativity and would sit with me at markets when I was young and trying to sell my handmade felt hats and her dedication to her family has always been a great inspiration. She is a hard worker and quite resourceful and very proud of her children and grandchildren. This year has been hard not being able to see each other in person due to Covid travel restrictions but she has always been optimistic and when we do get to hug again it will be a spectacular day!