Meet Carole Olson of Carole Creates

tell us about your products. where they are made. who makes them. favorite product features.

In my Skokie studio, I handcraft all my designs by myself. At first, loyal only to an avocado green, 70's Montgomery Wards Signature sewing machine, I have since then upgraded to a Viking Emerald. When introduced to my signature hobo tote, customers can't believe it is made from "faux" suede which will survive repeated cold-water washings.

tell us about your connection to chicago. your neighborhood.

The north suburbs of Chicago have been my home for the last forty-something years. Since most of my artist friends have studios in Chicago, their favorite haunts, vendors and neighborhoods have become my favorites.

what do you love about your business, your industry.

As both designers and consumers we are challenged to think "ethically." I'm grateful that INSTAGRAM keeps us current with an array of global initiatives.

tell us about your design inspiration - space, smells, colors, textures.

When i take time to be mindful and present I rarely lack for inspiration.

what advice do you have for other creative entrepreneurs?

Practice being comfortable with your discomfort. Hang out with people who are honest about their own passion, struggles and truth.

share a favorite quote, a mantra.

"authenticity to self"

surprise us with your secret talent, fact, etc.

what's the most common question you get about your business?

"Seriously, you make all these bags by YOURSELF"?

tell us about your process for making + creating.

I dream, sketch and jump in. It is messy, it cannot be rushed, and it is rarely as perfect as i desire. After i finish a sample, I always live with it for a month to learn what works, needs to be tweaked or abandoned.

name 3 local makers/brands that inspire you and why.

SWABY: Her creations are "stunning" works of ART. YASOU: Her demonstration of integrity and perseverance inspires me. [you can shop both SWABY and YASOU at COVET in December!]

what is the best advice you've ever been given and how has it shaped you and your business?

On the eve of launching my first collection, a seasoned north shore designer asked, "Carole, how will you measure success?" The more I remember that success is not measured by notoriety or my bank account, the more I can remember not to angst about the approval of others.

Connect with Carole Creates

Facebook and Instagram @carolecreatesdesigner

kendra chaplin