We had the good fortune of connecting with Inge Skelly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Inge, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born in Gent, Belgium and moved to the US when I was 15. My family still lives there and I visit often. Those are really my shopping trips. It is my favorite source for delicious vintage items that are not easily found in the US. My father had a vintage shop, and because of the tedious polishing of dirty brass, silver, working the early morning, very cold open air markets, the hauling and all the hard work that comes along with that, I swore I would never want for the same business. I thought I have had my fill. But my business is exactly that, a vintage and handmade gifts shop, and I love it!
My schooling was strict in Belgium; boarding school led by Sisters, which contained me while there, but the public high school I arrived to in the US, set my creativity in motion. There was no time for play before. Now, that’s all I do!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It’s just so wonderful, how an idea for a new project pops into mind when I let myself just be. That’s really how the shop started. Stone Button Studio was born from a morning stroll on the beach. Just walking to see the natural beauty of a Florida beach, at low tide. There was the smoothest grey oval pebble, and holding it, it so became a button in my mind. I raced home that day, for ideas drop to the back of my mind if I don’t act on them. That morning, I made my first button!
Etsy, 11 years ago especially, is an excellent online shop site. When opened it, and listed my stone buttons, I had an almost immediate sale. That was fuel to my creative fire. To be able to do my creative work and earn some money whilst working my full time bar tending job, was so motivating for me.
Besides handmade goods, Etsy encouraged vintage item sales as well, and the combination of the two, is magic for me. All of a sudden, I’m back in my dads vintage shop, and it’s so much fun!
After you have gathered a bunch of items, handmade and vintage, and you have a growing family in a small house, you find yourself in need of another work space, to store and create in peace, which is how the actual shop started. My Etsy pushed me out of the house and into a creative space which is my brick and mortar shop named after my first stone button find.
I do travel back to Belgium and while there, I shop for vintage items. My customers love hunting through my shop to find what I have brought back. I tag everything freshly sourced with a Belgian flag color twine and the hunt is on.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It takes two to tango! My husband, Tim, of 28 years, has been my supporter, my cheerleader and business partner from start to where I am now. I may be the creative mind behind it all, but you need someone you can always count on, that lives you for the creative you are; that’s my hubby.
Tim Skelly Roberta Katz