This is a pic a friend did for me. It seems to be what most people "expect" a button lady to look like:)
I didn’t start out calling myself The Button Lady, it just sort of grew on me. There are lots of other “Button Ladies” out there, but buttons are my specialty and when you sell buttons that’s what you are called.
Starting with small antique and collectible sales at flea markets in the early 90's I quickly realized that to be successful in this business, you have to specialize. I had been buying buttons because I liked making jewelry for myself and friends and had accumulated quite an array. It didn’t take long for me to understand that people were really looking for ‘nice’ buttons for their clothing and projects, not just jewelry. This was a gap I could really enjoy filling. I stopped buying very much of the antique and collectible items and concentrated wholly on buttons. Also dropping the flea market venue was a definite plus. Loading the truck at 3:00 am was never my cup of tea.
I have a huge selection of buttons, most people are surprised to see so many buttons in one place. Also, I’ve always thought that to be a good dealer, you don’t just sell your merchandise, you know your product and help the customer learn about what they are purchasing. To that end I invite people to bring buttons from their own collections so that I may help them identify buttons as to their era, material and value. Along the way it is my hope to save valuable buttons from being used for craft projects and to encourage others in the collecting of buttons. Although much of what I have is new, I do have buttons that date thru the 1800's and early 1900's. Modern buttons are considered to be anything after 1918.
Of course my buttoning ventures have helped my own button collection grow as well. I’ve been a member of The California State Button Society for over 10 years. Other club members have contributed much to my growing knowledge of buttons. Some of the most interesting buttons I have collected include a hand-painted miniature on Ivory and some Enameled, Sterling, Arts and Crafts period buttons. The oldest buttons I own are from the 18th century, one of which is from the French revolution and has a catgut shank.
So much of what you find in the way of buttons in your general fabric stores are pretty uninteresting. I try to have a selection of anything you ‘can’t’ find there. I love it when people bring in a special garment they want to change the buttons on. It’s a challenge to match the buttons with the item and the person. Creating the jewelry comes easy to me. I get ideas I have to implement, it’s fun and an outlet I seem to need.