T.E.S.T. interview: genevievejodouin

We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the fifth in our series, an interview with Geneviève Jodouin.

Tell us about your shop.

I started my etsy shop as a means to sell my smaller, more retail-based items on the internet. You'll find greeting cards, stationary, wooden screenprinted brooches, and screenprints among the things I sell in my shop. I'm a printmaker and have a website for my art but the cards and other items I make for fun didn't quite seem to fit in there. So etsy was the perfect solution.

How is your Etsy experience so far? What have you learned about yourself? How does your store fit into your life?

So far, my etsy experience has been positive. A lot of it has consisted of exploring the site and finding way too many other cute shops to even count. It's nice to see what other people are making and selling and that's definitely a source of inspiration.

In terms of sales it's been slow but I'm not too worried. I sell my cards and pins at various stores around the country including C1 Art space and Kid Icarus in Toronto and Victoire in Ottawa. It just made sense to open up an etsy store and try to sell my stuff here as well. I'm adding new items regularly and hope that people will see them and need to have them!

You have mentioned your favorite medium is a screen-printing. Tell us about your creative process?

I find it pretty easy to think up designs for cards or brooches. I just think of something cute and fun and I draw it up. I'm pretty obsessed with floral patterns and have quite a collection of wallpaper and textile pattern books from which I draw inspiration.

In the case of this card, I was inspired by the Aberfeldy song, Love is an Arrow (watch it here).

I'm much more systematic when it comes to my screenprints as you can see in this interview on the Toronto Craft Alert site.

How would you define your style?

I'd say my style is romantic, feminine and fun. I love floral patterns and anything vintage. I try to keep it simple and sweet.

Love your kissing sequential! How were they born?

Those 1" pins are the bi-product of an installation piece I made entitled If These Walls Could Talk which was first exhibited at The Fleck Dance Theatre at Harbourfront in Toronto and then at LE in 2008.

What do you do as your "day job"?

I teach screen printing classes at Open Studio and C1 Art Space and I've done some freelance translation work lately. My schedule is pretty open which allows me to work on my art and other little craft projects.

How do you promote yourself?

I find that being active in the art community definitely acts as a promoting tool. The more shows I do, the more people will remember my name and my prints. I send out promotional emails whenever an event or show is coming up, I have a facebook page for my etsy store and I have my personal website as well.

What are your upcoming plans and goals?

This Saturday, March 20, 2010 I have a piece (called Together, 22"x30", 2009) in the Timeraiser Auction at the Fermenting Cellar in the distillery district. It’s a great event where art is auctioned off for volunteer hours, rather than money.

I’m also starting to plan for my next solo exhibition at LE which will be in October 2010, in conjunction with Printopolis which is the international print symposium presented by Open Studio.

My goals are to keep producing new card and brooch designs for my etsy shop and for the other retail stores that carry them. I just ordered more wooden shapes to make new brooches, including more birds so I'll be drawing up new colourful patterns for spring and summer. I'll also be spending lots of time in the studio before the fall, printing up a patterned storm!

Any advice for new sellers on Etsy?
Be patient. Sales will come but it might take a while before you start getting regular sales. Unless you've got lots of web presence already, it's hard for people to actually find your shop since etsy is so vast. So promote yourself as much as you can on blogs and other websites and that should help draw traffic to your etsy shop. Don't forget that good pictures make all the difference, so take the time to photograph your items well and that will definitely draw people in! Good luck!

Check out Geneviève's website and her etsy shop. Don't forget the 7th Toronto timeraiser event this Saturday if you're in Toronto - combine your community service and art hoarding tendancies in one evening!

Interviewed by ezhilin, the week of March 15, 2010.

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