Popcycled Baubles is a geek chic business that makes bags, necklaces, pocket mirrors, coasters, bows, and other accessories from licensed fabrics or upcycled comic book pages. Laura Longtine- Rosado is one of the most driven women I have ever met, with endless ideas and an admirable willpower to somehow accomplish them all. I previously featured her as a Badass Babe of the Week (she owns three of my dresses)- and it is debatably the most heartfelt one I ever wrote because she personally motivates me to be able to do more. I am constantly in awe of her stamina. Laura unfortunately won't be at our Girl Power Awesome Con After Party (she will be at HeroesCon) but she sent me over some fantastic photo props for pictures and a Wonder Woman coaster set for the raffle!
Tell us a little about yourself!
I was a nerd before I was a geek. The awesome 90's show X-Files was my first love, and I wanted to be Scully so hard. I didn’t see Star Wars until I was 18, and I didn’t even like it until Yoda showed up! Now Star Wars is at the top of my fandom list, along with a million (literally) other shows, cartoons and movies.
I live in Charleston, SC which is a lovely city but it’s really hot here! I’d love to be someplace much cooler. I'm married and my husband helps me run PopCycled. We also have a pup who keeps my spirits high, in fact I called her my Chief Morale Officer. I work with databases and I really like statistics. Basically, I am a Slytherin Jedi Master who loves fairies and the beach at night. I make stuff, do things, and hope to live to be a 120 (while still be sharp as a tack) working to make the world a better place.
Why did you decide to start your own business, and is it your full-time job?
The first and foremost reason was a HUGE lack of fandom items for female buyers. I was just so sad to go to a comic shop and see nothing aimed with me in mind. So I made a plan to make fun jewelry from comic books and from that concept became Popcycled Baubles. We do so much more now, but it started with a single pendant in 2010.
Although Popcycled is a huge part of my life it’s not my “full time job” - I have two full time jobs, lol! I also work as a database administrator for a non-profit in my town.
What is your most popular item vs your favorite?
Right now, our most popular item is our 8-bit collection. Each is made bead by bead and they are stunning and quite a draw. I honestly don’t have a favorite item, I love them all like children (seriously). I make each one and love them equally and then see them off into the world to be loved. That’s my favorite thing, making an item that someone is excited to find.
Owning a small business is incredibly rewarding but can sometimes be viewed through rose tinted glasses. What are some challenges you face? Do you have any advice for others thinking of starting their own?
Keeping up!! Most every night and weekend is filled with to-do lists of items I need to get back into inventory, plus trying to work on new ideas. It’s hard to get new products into the shop when I’m so busy working on current items. Plus book work, and taxes, and trying to have a life…it’s hard. Taking time for yourself is key, I just took my first vacation in 5 years and it was so mentally cleansing.
My biggest suggestion to anyone looking to start a small craft business is this – do not undersell yourself!! You’re not a big box store; make sure you pay yourself a living wage.
What gives you the drive to keep doing what you do?
My customers, hands down. I will be honest, I have almost quit a thousand times – but then someone will come to my shop and squeak and cradle an item, and I remember. I do this for them and that feeling I get in providing handcrafted and unique items. It’s truly an amazing feeling.
What is your favorite convention that you vend at?
I’ve cut my convention “tour” down significantly, so I have more time to create inventory - I only kept the ones I enjoyed. My favorite though if I had to pick one is Dragoncon. Dragoncon is my first love convention wise and even if I cut all my other shows out tomorrow – I’d still do Dragoncon.
What comic book/ nerd culture character do you identify with the most and why?
I have a fandom problem! I like too many things and can’t ever pick one. I have bits of everything all mushed up in my brain – can I be a Leslie Knope, Yoda, Peridot, Wonder Woman, Batman, Vader and Klingon hybrid??? LOL – that seriously scatter brained list sums up my personally pretty well.
Why is it important to you to support other women in the industry? Name drop a favorite boss babe that isn't Little Petal.
As we all know we women are still are fighting for equal pay in the workforce and many of us are creating to supplement income to pay student loans or even just make ends meet. I always try to support small businesses, like my good friend Emily of Cold Lipstick’s Garden. She is a hard working mom and business owner. We work together on some items and she’s an awesome person and I enjoy supporting her business however possible.
In fifty years, if the world could remember any one thing about you and your business, what would you want it be?
When I started Popcycled, there wasn’t many people doing anything like what I was doing. Now there is an explosion of crafters at shows and online. Not only that but in recent years, fandom items for women and now even little girls are becoming easier to locate, even in the malls. I’d love someone to recognize businesses like mine helping to create the groundswell of demand that has resulted in female driven items being commercially available.
Check out all of Laura's amazing designs at www.popcycled.etsy.com