Kathie Plaskiewicz is no stranger to the idea of adapting and one of the Canton resident’s most recent ventures allows her to combine a creative passion with business sensibility.
About eight years ago, Plaskiewicz selling shawls under the name The Proud Peacock. Plaskiewicz gradually expanded the business' offerings and about three years ago began offering leather handbags featuring her original photos.
“I just starting looking for something different to do with my photography,” she said. “I came up with the handbag idea.”
Specifically it involves a nylon panel featuring one of her images stitched on to leather bags, including handbags, messenger bags and shoulder totes.
Plaskiewicz still sells the shawls (or scarves) she's known for as well as other items such as photo prints. But she especially loves the combining her photography with the bags, which are manufactured for her.
“That’s by far my passion,” she said.
A big part of her business is vending at shows, where she will often spend extra time in a place, taking photographs of items like the doors of St. Augustine, Florida or Nubble Lighthouse in Maine.
“I basically shoot wherever I am,” she said.
It’s not always easy. She shoots a huge number of photos, shifting the camera constantly to make sure she gets one that will fit the bags, which do not conform to traditional photographic proportions.
Before starting The Proud Peacock, Plaskiewicz owned a boutique shop, Little Shoppe on the Corner, in Torrington.
While there, she started vending at venues such as corporate offices and began selling under the name The Proud Peacock — named for a shawl design and her love for the creatures. It began as an effort to supplement her income but soon proved to be more viable than the store.
She began vending at more and more places and for events such as flower shows, fairs and elsewhere.
The Big E remains on of her biggest shows and she even owns at 10 x 20-foot shed at the site that makes setting up and securing it much easier.
These days her business focus has shifted again as the corporate markets suffer from economic conditions and oversaturation.
Plaskiewicz tries to now stick to the longer duration shows, where several days of selling makes the effort of setting up and breaking down less hectic.
She’s also working with a catalog company that could eventually begin carrying her bags. It’s another effort in an ever-evolving business.
“I’m constantly adapting and changing,” she said.
The Proud Peacock