1. Let us know a bit about yourself
I come from a small town in the north of Québec called Alma. Having spent a few years in metropolitan Montréal, where I studied fashion and marketing, and worked in the fashion industry, here I am back in my native town with my husband and two children. We love our regional setting, with its snow-covered landscapes in winter and fabulous sunny days on the beach in summer. My return marked by a new professional challenge: helping companies develop international markets. For three years I worked as a coordinator and as a general manager for a commercial organisation.
But for as long as I can remember, decoration, fashion, jewellery, beads and handmade objects have been my passion. Chic & Tonic was launched to fulfill the passions that drive me.
What else? I love café latte, music, cooking and spend time with friends and family!
2. What do you make?
First off, I make a line of home jewels for my boutique Chic & Tonic. I wanted to make curtain tiebacks and other ornaments again. My line of ornaments includes decorative wires, decorative magnets, curtain tiebacks, wine glass charms and napkin rings. I only use materials of the highest quality like ebony, crystal and semi-precious stones for my creations. I want my products to be easy to use and easy to install. All products that need to be fastened like curtain tiebacks are installed using magnets to avoid damaging drapery. Moreover, the ornament can easily be moved when necessary.
I have also opened a second boutique, Orange & Coco, that sells ornaments for children. Curtain tiebacks for kids were available through Chic & Tonic, however, I decided to add more creations. That is why the opening of a second boutique was inevitable. I sell through it curtain tiebacks, ready-to-hang frames, mobiles for babies and pompoms made of fabric.
3. Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration for Chic & Tonic products mainly come from the materials I use. The textures, the depth and the colours of precious stones often determine what my creations will look like. It’s when I mix these elements and see the result that my ornaments take shape. Since I make ornaments, colours influence the combinations I make. I take care in combining colours I like, but I also follow current trends of interior decorating.
As for Orange & Coco, my new project, childhood memories, which I mix with a refined style that I am very fond of, is my main source of inspiration. I also add a lot of vintage elements by adding patterns that are reminiscent of that style in my pictures’ composition. Thus the refined style and the vintage style are combined in this line meant for children’s bedrooms. I love the thought of little ones being surrounded by pictures that will make them dream away in their special place.
4. How long has your Etsy shop been open?
Chic & Tonic has been running for almost a year.
Orange & Coco has been running for less than a year.
5. Do you still have the time to make crafts for pleasure while running your own business?
Truth be told, because of business, two young kids and housework, I don’t have much time left to create for pleasure although I have a lot of fun running my business. However, during holidays like Christmas, Halloween or Easter, we enjoy decorating the house with our creations. If cooking, which I love as a form of artistic expression, can be considered a craft, then yes, I create a lot outside of work.
6. What inspired you to move your art into an online business?
I held a management position in a non-profit organization. After the birth of my first child, I realized that I missed art very much and I wanted it to be part of my life again. I always did crafts but since work was time consuming, I had less time to spend on art. It was then that I decided to turn my passion for ornament making into a home jewel business. I had so much fun running my first boutique that I felt like I had no other choice than to open a second one.
7. What are your future goals for your shop, and do you have a plan for achieving them?
My greatest challenge is the same as many other artisans: making my products known. Household jewelry is uncommon so I owe it to myself to explain the idea behind the concept. While starting my business, I came up with a business plan. I believe taking the time to think about your project, writing down your goals and finding ways to achieve them are paramount. I follow my initial plan but it is ever changing. Because I work alone, I set goals for myself each week. I also set medium term and long term goals for myself. They change on a regular basis as the market for handmade items and live in general are filled with unpredictable events.
8. Where can we find more about you online? (web site, social media, etc)
Chic & Tonic
Web Site and blog: http://www.chicandtonic.com/
Orange & Coco
Web Site and blog: www.orangeandcoco.ca (coming soon)
*Original interview was conducted in french. Translation credit goes to Mark Homsany