As part of Style Maniac’s 2011 Spring Gift Guide, I’ll be highlighting not only great products, but also some of the stories and people behind them.  Today, meet Poppy & Bean, an eco-sweet line of baby blankets, burp cloths, crib mobiles and more crafted by the sweet and talented Colleen D’Agostino.  In a world awash with neutral, nubby eco-friendly options, Poppy & Bean stands out with bold patterns and bright happy colors.  Each piece is hand made from vintage, salvage or remnants; and the prices are incredibly reasonable (blankies range from $18 to $36, burp clothes under $10).  At a recent Poppy & Bean trunk show hosted by a mutual friend, I bought an adorable nautical-patterned piece for a relative’s new baby.  It’s colorful yet cuddly, and completely one-of-a-kind.

Colleen and I first met through our interior decorating worlds, and it’s been exciting to see her grow a new business.  I asked her to share her story—an inspirational one for any closet crafter with bigger dreams.

Colleen D'Agostino, creator of Poppy & Bean
When and why did you begin Poppy & Bean?
I began working on this idea in the spring of 2009 after years of crafting, creating handmade gifts and realizing that I had a huge collection of fabrics overflowing in my house!  I made a list of monthly goals and I opened my Etsy Shop in January 2010.

What made you take the leap from idea to actually starting the company?
When I turned 29 it felt like junior year in high school, time to get moving!  I was ready to take a chance, work hard and use the knowledge I had gained to begin a new chapter in my story.  I started with the concept of a children’s line because it seemed there were not many options for people who wanted a more eclectic style and I think every child needs a few very special gifts for their hope chest.  I wasn’t really sure where it would all go but I started by creating a “collection” for a trunk show, then I started building my inventory and my Etsy page, then applying for summer and fall craft shows and soon I had some momentum which gave me the confidence to pursue this and move forward with my brand and my business.

I feel so lucky to live in a city and be part of a community that supports local artist and handmade goods.  I felt amazing support every step of the way and I am so grateful! Especially, for my husband who showed me how life can be when you work really hard and do what you love.

What are your plans for Poppy & Bean this year?
I am excited to debut the spring/summer designs I have been working on: bright, graphic patterns that feel crisp and energetic.  Perfect for our long-awaited spring!  Also, in May I will debut a mini look book and website.

Are all of the fabrics vintage or salvage? 
Yes, all my fabrics are high quality designer samples, vintage or remnants.  They are all pre-washed and pre-shrunk prior to fabrication and every item is machine washable.

Who is the little girl on some of your tags?
Oh! That is my sweet niece Riley and one of my very favorite people!  She is my best friend Nicole’s daughter and we have always joked that she inherited my style-- I do dress like a four-year-old some days!

Poppy & Bean can be found at:

Poppy & Bean ETSY shop

The Little Apple, Manayunk, PA

Colleen creates custom orders as well.  

For more see:

Poppy & Bean's Facebook Page
Website coming soon.

Colleen’s photo by Aileen Bannon Foto.  

All other pictures by Doreen Creede.

"Use the good china for breakfast."