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Life & Work with Susan Vanderveen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Vanderveen.

Hi Susan, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I studied Interior Design at Kendall, and went on to work as an Interior designer for 25 years. While I loved the work, after so many years I was ready for a change and a creative outlet with more freedom. I have always been drawn to creating items with fabric so I started making custom pillows. About that time we moved to a beautiful eight-acre farm in Lowell, MI. Our two border collies love the country fields almost as much as I do. We transformed one of the barns into my studio, which was just perfect for what I needed. Alongside my love of working with fabric, I have always had a great love for all things vintage with a story to tell. One of my favorites had always been vintage pennants — so naturally, I put fabric and pennants together and formed a line of vintage pennant pillows. For some time, I sold these pillows at vintage markets. From there, I was asked to sell my line in the store The Found Cottage in Hudsonville, MI. That opportunity really helped my brand expand into what it is today! Their style and mission align so well with mine and I have loved being involved with the store for the past several years. I also now have an area in the store to sell other vintage items that highlight my style— all things plaid, cozy camp, and cabin. I enjoy working at home on our farm with my husband and our two border collies.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I have to say it’s been pretty smooth! I knew my style and my passion from a very early age, thought it has taken many forms over the years. My family has always been supportive of me owning a business and pursuing my passion over more conventional routes. I was very blessed to have support from my friend Liz Marie Galvin and many others through Instagram! I of course like many other women struggle with balancing work and family, but that is the great benefit of having my own business. I am so blessed to be able to be flexible and make time for the important things in life, and allow work to build itself around that.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
From the earliest years of my life I can remember, I have always been making things — I now specialize in vintage fabrics turned into decorative items for the home. My main staple is the vintage pennant pillow. I am most proud of coming up with the idea of putting my love of vintage items and home goods together to create this line of vintage pennant pillows. I will never tire of finding unique pennants from small towns and finding just the right combination of fabrics to bring out the best in that pennant. As a life-long antique market attendee, I really enjoy putting my own booth together in new and creative ways at The Found Cottage. My style is unique and feels very personal to me. Those who know my work can recognize it when they see it out and about, and that is a very special thing to me.

Risk taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
There are times when I see a pennant, or a piece of incredibly cool vintage furniture and I have to think — will someone purchase this? Will someone else see how special this is beside me? I have to trust my eye to hope that spending the money on materials and vintage pieces will be worth it. It can be stressful to purchase something expensive and to not always know if it will end in profit and a happy customer.

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Image Credits
Susan Vanderveen

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2 Comments

  1. Diane Van Horn

    June 28, 2022 at 1:00 am

    I found Susan’s account on Instagram and instantly fell in love with her creations! She has such an eye for detail and it shows in the quality of her products. So great to read about her journey.

  2. Kay

    June 28, 2022 at 1:22 am

    Loved reading this, knowing Susan’s story + catching a glimpse of her beautiful home! I am such a fan!

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