Brandee Sanders of MetroGypsy focuses on high quality original mini top hats, tilt hats, feather fascinators, custom Sally Rand feather fans and one of a kind vintage and up-cycled pieces created for stage performance, burlesque and anyone who loves standing out.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft, Brandee.
I lived and worked professionally in NYC and L.A. pursuing Acting, Musical Theatre, Off-Broadway, Feature and Indie Film work for over 17 years. I even had a role in a film featured @ Cannes Film Festival in France and another distributed through Blockbuster and was featured numerous times on the IFC Channel and Showtime Channels. This pleased my parents VERY much, but I still get lumped in with "she was an actress but isn't super famous stereotypes"...*sigh*

What's this have to do with MetroGypsy?!
Well, my work performing on stage in NYC and my Bachelors Degree in the Arts from one of the leading musical conservatories in the US, led me to create "Absinthe Cabaret", a performance venue in the vein of old vaudeville, dark cirque and neuvo burlesque.

MetroGypsy began as a creative side project alongside "Absinthe Cabaret." As the show's costume designs sprang forth I found myself creating original pieces for our acts, and daydreaming about hats and feather sketches at my "paythebills" day job. As I would the change the coffee filter, I'd have to pretend to be doing my corporate shuffle when meanwhile I couldn't stop going on during every break I had there and gaze at new ideas: ostrich feather caps, hats, corsets, veils, gorgeous pasties, exquisite vintage...until finally I hunkered down on a Friday night with a bottle of J Roget champagne, an inspired idea, a Family Dollar needle kit and the glue gun of power all in a tiny Brooklyn apt...and made my first fascinator for a friend and MetroGypsy was born!

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Besides create custom pieces, I'd have to say a good glass of red wine and an evening of heated philosophy or political conversation with friends.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Organization! It's *incredible* how many times I've forgotten a bit of destash or a vintage piece because its not right in front of me, only to come across it while cleaning or preparing for a craft show.

What item in your shop would you most like to receive as a gift if someone were shopping for you?
Hands down, my Metro Mini Top Hat! I *LOVE* these!

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I thought I'd start out with simple things like:

1.) Astronaut
2.) Super Hero
3.) Broadway Performer
3.) Movie Star
4.) President of all Toys. Ever.

What other shops or artists out there do you love?
Well, I am absolutely crackhead addicted to all things Etsy!

I also love:

GothFox Designs - Her pasties are second to none!

ButtonHead - Super sweet gal who makes THE best buttons!

Louise Black - Now that she's on Project Runway, I know she'll become a mega-star, but I've been an old school fan of her corsets & the DollFlesh lines since the first days!

ReqBat - Fantastic artwork and a great sense of Edward Gorey humor!
LOVE her!

What does your future hold?
Surrounded by lots of feathers, family, ribbons, stage lights, road trips, good friends and red wine!

Visit Metro Gypsy on Etsy and MySpace!