Artist Spotlight: Heidi Skillman, WinterScarf

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In the days leading up to Craftproducers Autumn Arts Festivals, we are profiling a few of the participating Exhibitors. If you are an Exhibitor and you would like to see your information here, email amanda@craftproducers.com.

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The saying is that “necessity is the mother of invention.” And so it was for long-time business executive, Heidi Skillman, who, while solving a problem, invented the dynamic 360 Scarf and launched WinterScarf.   Skillman’s WinterScarf products exemplify her common sense approach and practical-driven past as well as her creativity.

Throughout her career, Skillman has focused on creative ways to drive strategic change, improve revenue, maximize efficiency and increase customer satisfaction. After years of serving at the top of the corporate ladder in finance, business strategy and supply chain management, Skillman gained the confidence to build her business from the ground up. In 2003, she designed her first 360 Scarf® after a cold and blustery Chicago day when she wanted to walk her dogs in single-digit temperatures. Soon after requests starting pouring in for the scarf from friends, she decided to leverage her business skills and launched WinterScarf. Skillman’s creative and strategic thinking continues to shine in her WinterScarf products as she adds her functional flair to once-mundane accessories like scarves, hats and gloves. Simply put, Skillman’s practical yet strategic approach strived to make the most out of available resources in her corporate life. And in a sense, she continues that work today with WinterScarf.

The fusion of fashion and function is the purpose of WinterScarf. When founder Heidi Skillman created her first 360 Scarf® in 2003, her simple goal was to create winter wear that would keep up with an active lifestyle.  There was a need for highly fashionable, highly functional winter accessories and it took Skillman’s vision to create the 360 Scarf® and launch WinterScarf.

Skillman patented her 360 Scarf® and soon began selling it at local markets. The demand was immediate and she soon expanded WinterScarf across the country at various craft shows, boutiques and over the Internet. Based upon customer demand, the product line has grown to include matching hats and gloves.

WinterScarf believes in using only the finest quality fabrics. All products are made with only the  warmest, softest, and most stylish fabrics for our customers. Customer satisfaction is our number one priority, and we truly believe it drives our success.  We always strive to keep our customers warm and looking absolutely fabulous!

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When people ask you what you “do”, how do you answer?
I have a patent on a unique neck warmer and hand make them along with matching hats and gloves

What mediums do you work with?
Fiber

How would you describe your subject matter?
Highly fashionable and functional at the same time.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?
Warmth and convenience

What do you want your work to accomplish?
Warmth and convenience

What are you most proud of?
The substantial amount of repeat business and customer following I have.

How long have you been exhibiting at Arts Festivals?
10 years

How many shows do you do each year?
Only in the Fall – about 13

How long have you exhibited with Craftproducers?
4 years

What aspect of Festival life do you most enjoy?
Seeing my customers and how much they really enjoy my products

Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
Age 8

Do you have a designated Studio? How does this space inspire or contribute to your creative process?
I work from my home

What is the best advice you ever received about how to be more creative?
Listen to and observe your customers

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Meet Heidi and see the WinterScarf products for yourself at the Manchester Fall Art & Craft Festival, beginning tomorrow – October 4 – and running through the weekend at the Practice Tee at Riley Rink in Manchester VT.

Find WinterScarf online at www.winterscarf.com and on facebook.

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