Over the years, I've had the immense pleasure of chatting many individuals and even one fabulous couple here on my blog, but today is the first time I've sat down with not one, not two, but three fantastic individuals for an people for the same interview post.
Specifically, I'm talking about none other than the dynamic, inspiring and very lovely Boyer Sisters, who many of you may be acquainted with through their stellar vintage fashion, sewing and lifestyle site, The Boyer Family Singers Blog.
Whether you're just meeting this trio of talented ladies for the the first time right this very moment or have been firm fans of theirs for some time now, I'm sure that you'll adore today's rapid fire style interview with these three delightful women.
Gift vocalists each, the Boyer Sisters - a swing era style musical harmony group comprised of three actual sisters, Jessica, Charlotte and Brigid, respectively - have been preforming together since 2008 (when they were all still young children spanning in age from 9 - 13) and have developed a distinct and deeply lovely sound that channels the the spirit of the big band days to no end.
The Sisters perform at many events and venues around America, including some involving WWII veterans, and just released their first ever, eponymously named, full length album last year (to learn more about the Boyer Sisters music, be sure to check out their website devoted to such).
As if that wasn't enough to keep anyone on their toes, the Sisters also run a frequently updated and immensely lovely blog, which includes a vast array of posts spanning topics as diverse as sewing projects to their faith, birthday celebrations to "what I wore" style outfit entries.
I've had the pleasure of knowing and working with the Brigid, Jessica and Charlotte in various capacities for a few years now and can honestly say that they are some of the sweetest, nicest, and most kind hearted folks I've ever encountered online or off.
These passionate young ladies bring grace, elegance, and a deep reverence to the past in all that they say and do online and with their music, and I feel truly honoured to have the opportunity to not only interview them, but to offer one lucky Chronically Vintage reader the chance to win their very own copy of the Boyer Sister's CD, here today.
Read on to learn more about the Boyer Sisters (who are each referred to by their first initial throughout this interview), their music, vintage wardrobes, dreams for the future, and so much more - then enter, below the interview, for you chance to win a copy of their toe tappingly fantastic CD.
1. What was the driving force behind the creation of your blog?
All: The driving force behind starting our blog was the inspiration that we gathered from other vintage, sewing and fashion bloggers, such as you, Jessica, and the realization that we had thoughts and opinions of our own that we wanted to share. So really it started as a blog for "us" in a way, and grew into something that was a way for us to minister to, and encourage, others.
2. Fashion, chiefly vintage fashion, is a key element of your website. How important is it to you to balance outfit/wardrobe related posts with other types of entries? Do you try to portion things out in a fairly set way (e.g., 50% fashion related posts, 50% other types of posts) or just let things flow organically there?
C: Overall, we schedule out our posts two weeks in advance and try and have at least one type of post out of each category that we blog about; Fashion, Creativity, Lifestyle, and Beauty, in each week. What we post is very organic in content, and we will trade off who will write up a fashion post each week. If it comes to me to do a fashion related post, typically I will do an outfit post, unless I have a fun, creative fashion idea that I want to share.
B: I am "the seamstress" of the blog, so I find it harder to balance fashion related posts with "What I Made" posts, since, for me, the creativity of sewing is inseparably linked to fashion. Generally what ends up happening is I will share an outfit post, unless I have something new that I have made, in which case any typical outfit post for me is thrown out the window in favor of sharing my latest creation.
J: I will say that if I don't have anything new to share, be it a new outfit combination, something I have bought that I love and want to share, or something that I have made, I will typically opt for a post that is more uplifting and encouraging to our readers. I try to be more sensitive, thoughtful, and encouraging, making sure that my life isn't always represented by fashion, but is represented by the fact that I care about other people and want to minister to, and uplift them, in any way I can.
3. What has been one or two of the best/most rewarding things about blogging for each of you?
J: For me, it would definitely be gaining a host of new friends from all over the country (and the world) who, if they are not so completely similar in their thinking, are encouraged to try new things through our example.
B: The most rewarding thing for me has been connecting with our readers, and gaining encouragement from the community that has grown up around our blog. It always brings a smile to my face when I receive a comment on a post, whether it be sewing or fashion related, saying that I have inspired someone to try something new, or revived an old dream that they forgot they ever had. Being able to encourage others touches me in a way that nothing else can.
C: My answer is very similar to my sisters. Just receiving comments, letters, and emails, hearing from our readers that we have touched them and inspired them to do things they were unsure of, or try new hobbies and new pursuits, that has been the most rewarding part of blogging.
4. Would you say that it's easier, harder or about the same to have three people run one blog than it is for just a single individual to do so?
B: I would definitely say it is easier to have three people running a blog. While we don't always get along and agree on everything, we each have different talents and gifts that we can use to help one another, and we can depend on each other to fill in the gaps when life and the blog become too much to handle collectively.
J: It is easier for a person like me, who is not remotely interested in coding, to have someone like Charlotte who can provide such a wonderful platform to work on. And it is hard trying to keep up with my sisters' creativity, while not always being able to do so.
C: It is easier in the respect that you have three people who think quite similarly coming up with content, so we don't have too hard of a time sticking with our blog vision. And also, we are able to blog frequently because we have three people working together to make things happen. It is harder in the sense that each of us do have to get along with two other people, and we have to work in harmony to make our goals possible, as opposed to just dealing with yourself. It is always more of a hassle dealing with other people than just being responsible to yourself.
5. What are each of your favourite time periods and why?
C: My favorite time period would be WW2. Nothing was perfect back in that era, nothing ever has been perfect! But the courage and valiance that the men and women showed back in that time is something to be admired, and from which I think we can find much to emulate. Besides the graver side of things, the fashions and music of that era were pretty spot on. ;)
B: There are several different eras in history that I admire, but the time period that I connect with the most is definitely the era surrounding WW2. As Charlotte said, the folks in that time had to have so much courage and tenacity to make it through those years, and I think we had a better sense of community then, than we do now. And I will just echo what Charlotte said, and say that the music and fashions were pretty swell too.
J: Laura Ingalls’ time when everyone was settling "out west" holds a special place in my heart, because we are from the western coast of the United States. If those folks had never ventured forth into the great unknown, we would never have had our home in the beautiful state of Washington (though we now live in the great Midwest in the state of Ohio), and their courage and fortitude were the inspiration that led to some of my favorite books that I have read.
6. In a few words (or lines), how would you each define your current styles?
J: Sturdy and reliable, natural, and tasteful.
C: Vintage-meets-modern, eclectic, with pops of color and a minimalist twist.
B: Authentic, ladylike, and eccentric.
7. What are some of each of your dreams and goals for the next five years of your life?
C: I've always had a dream of sharing my photography skills & web/graphic design know-how with a broader audience than just our blog, so starting a business with one (or both) of those hobbies is definitely a goal of mine. I would love to further pursue singing opera/Broadway style music outside of our girls' current career as 1940s-style performers, and I have always had the desire of becoming a wife and mother, so we'll see what happens with that :)
J: Oh, ho ho! You're talking to the girl who very much dislikes to plan for things, and rather likes to "go with the flow", if you will, of life and whatever it will bring. Having said that though, I have just picked up drawing again, so I hope to infuse that creative pursuit more heavily with the work I do on the blog. Besides this, I have begun to thoroughly enjoy the sport of running, and by the time the next five years is over I hope to have run a couple 5ks in the least. I have also just picked up a new Frank Sinatra book to study for voice, and I hope to incorporate those classic bluesy songs in with the shows the girls and I do already, if not to go out and do some solo work on my own. And to parrot Charlotte, I too greatly desire to be a wife and a mother, and pray fervently that that desire will be answered by the Lord someday soon.
B: To get married is definitely top of the list for me in the way of hopes and dreams. :) Aside from that dream of being a wife and mother, growing my ePattern business, Brijee Patterns, is going to be a focal point for me for the next few years. I always dreamed of having my own dressmaking business, but after realizing I am not cut out for the high-stress demands of that line of work, creating sewing patterns for other people to make clothing from has become a dream and passion of mine. We will see where I go in the days ahead.
8. You've grown a wonderful and impressive blog following. Do you have any tips in regard for those who may just be starting out or who are looking to grow the reach of their own blogs?
All: Connect with your readers! Open up just enough for them to really get to know you and feel like they are reading the blog of a friend, not just "a blogger". Be personal, but be tasteful about it (as another blogger, Elsie of A Beautiful Mess, put it: your blog is not your best friend).
Create a blog vision and stick to it, and always try to keep quality over quantity. People are attracted to bloggers that take time and energy to post and curate their content.
9. What are five things that bring you each joy?
C: Music (Frank Sinatra all day, every day :); creating something unique and beautiful; a sunny, blue sky; singing anything from Phantom of the Opera; performing in front of crowds, and bringing them joy.
B: Making music: Whether it be playing the piano and letting the tunes flow from my head to my fingers, or singing a tune as I go through my day; Sewing: watching a garment grow with every stitch; Cooking and baking: being able to experience that sense of satisfaction when you have made something delicious for everyone to enjoy; Learning something new: Whether it be history or homemaking related, I love discovering new things; Watching a child learn and the light that comes into their eyes when they understand something for the first time.
J: Being outside doing some recreational activities like walking, running, badminton, and bird watching, or doing something useful like gardening; drawing; singing with my sisters; having a heart to heart chat with somebody I love, be it a family member or friend.
10. Sewing is an integral part of your blog. How did you each get into this timeless art and what are some of your favourite types of garments to create?
B: When I was seven years old I asked my Mom to teach me what she knew about sewing. It started with making doll clothes, and after my skill grew from attending two summer sewing camps, I started making dolls as well. It was actually doll-making that drew me into the world of fashion history, which in turn prompted me to start sewing my own clothes in the styles that I couldn't find anywhere else.
My favorite type of garment to make... Oh, that is so hard to decide because I don't like making the same thing twice, and I enjoy the challenge each type of garment brings with it. The choice would probably be between skirts and dresses. Skirts because they are so simple and quick to make, and dresses because there are so many details that you can put into them.
C: I got into sewing through my Mom & sister Brigid :) One day I decided that it was something I wanted to learn, and the rest is history! I love sewing dresses, mostly. With the perfect fabric & design, it is such a joy to put in hours on a single dress, finishing each seam, fitting it just perfectly, and adding those bits and pieces that make it something special and magical to wear.
J: Like Charlotte, I too was encouraged and influenced by Brigi and Mom to sew, though I hopped on the bandwagon last. Before I made the commitment to learn the art, Mom was always the one to sew my clothes. After a while though, I began to realize that Mom and I did not share the same standards of perfection when it came to making a garment, and so I finally committed to making my own clothes so that they would be made exactly the way I wanted them, without any short cuts.
Don't take me wrong, Mom has always done a fine job of sewing for my sisters and I, but she isn't one for detail work like I am. And for me, if I have the time, making sure that even the smallest of details is done to perfection is one of my greatest joys in sewing. You could call me a snail when it comes to making up my own garments and I would agree with you. ;)
11. Can you each please share a hidden talent with us (aka, something that you haven't really discussed on your blog and that it might surprise people to learn about you)?
C: I love singing Broadway and opera music! I'm a bit of an actress at heart, so expressing emotion through song is a huge passion of mine, and the operatic Broadway style has a special place in my heart.
J: My "hidden talent" is derived from being able to look at something and then translate it onto paper or a 3d medium (such as clay) and make an exact copy of the object I am looking at. I mentioned above that one of my joys in life is drawing, and after recently having picked up that art form after neglecting it through high school, I am more inclined to say that art done with a pencil and paper, brush and paint, clay and tools resonates more with me than sewing ever will. As the months go on, I hope to share this talent on the blog, and reveal a side of Jessica Boyer that most people didn't know before.
B: I mentioned above that I love to play the piano. I have been studying the art since I was six years old, and I find such great joy in being able to just sit down at that instrument and make music go floating through the air. The moods that you can express and create are as limitless as the feelings that you have everyday, and, being an introvert, being able to "have a discussion" with myself, or praying through music, by playing the piano has helped me to work through many problems and conundrums.
12. And last, but certainly not least, what is it like having not one, but two other sisters who each share your passion for the past, sewing, and numerous other elements of life?
C: Not to sound cliché, but it's a true blessing in every sense of the word. We have our days when we just want to pull each other's hair out, but that's life. Having two other people who you've grown up with, share similar passions with, and just be best-friends with is a gift that I don't deserve, but am so grateful for.
B: It is nothing but a joy. We may get on each other's nerves at times, but I couldn't imagine life without Jessica and Charlotte. We pull each other up when we our down, and push each other off of the volcanoes of conceit that we inevitably find ourselves walking on at times. It is especially a blessing for me because I have two people to sound off my creative ideas with.
Sharing a passion for the past has led to interesting discoveries because we come at a subject from three different angles, and my sisters will think of things that I never would have myself. "A threefold cord is not easily broken" is our blog verse, and there never could be a saying that was more true. I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for the blessing of my two sisters, and I know they would say the same of me.
J: I couldn't have asked for better sisters than what the Lord has so graciously given to me. Being the eldest it is natural to take the leading stance, but as time has gone on, our age difference has all but disappeared in my mind, and I view my sisters as my equals whereas I used to not in my younger years. Truth to tell, it has been amazing to watch my sisters come into their own persons, albeit we all influence each other, but we still have very different personalities and characters that clash just as much as they compliment.
For everything I am so grateful, especially for our parent's stressing the need for us to work together. If it weren't for this, we would never be where we are today, singing and blogging three people strong.
♥ ♥ ♥
This giveaway is for one physical copy of the Boyer Sisters CD, which will be mailed to you directly from the Sisters themselves. It starts today (May 16th) and runs until 11:59 PST on Monday May 23rd.
It open to participants from around the world and you are welcome to enter using as many of the following twelve different methods as you desire. The only one of which is mandatory to take part in this giveaway is that you leave a comment on this post telling me about your favourite type of vintage music.
If you have any questions about this giveaway, please don't hesitate to contact me via email.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
♥ ♥ ♥
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Jessica, Charlotte and Brigid for this fabulous interview, as well as for generously offering one lucky Chronically Vintage reader the chance to win a copy of their truly excellent CD.
Best of luck to all those who enter - and to the Boyer Sisters themselves, with their music, blog and all other areas of their lives.
You ladies are an inspiration on so many fronts, a breath of fresh air in today's world, gifted musicians, and an absolutely sincere pleasure to know.