T.E.S.T. Interview: FitzyDesign

Hand Painted Leather Cube Earrings with
Solid Copper Earring Wires by FitzyDesign

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 55th in our series with Robin Fitzsimons of FitzyDesign.

How did you get started making jewellery and other goodies?

In September of 2012 I started a 365 project as a way to bring more spontaneity to my artistic practice. (I’m an artist by trade and hold a BFA in Sculpture/Installation from OCAD University.) Since then, I have been making something every single day, and posting it on my tumblr (robinfitzsimons365.tumblr.com) by midnight. The pieces I’ve made so far run quite a wide range of media including drawing, graphic design, textiles, video, and a whole bunch of leather craft. Many of my daily pieces have been various styles of leather jewellery, and so after numerous comments from friends and fans who follow the blog, I decided to start selling my jewellery, and Fitzy was born.

Leather Hair Bow by FitzyDesign
What influenced your choice of materials?

I have always loved working with natural, hardwearing materials. When I first started working with leather, I knew that I had found my perfect material. Leather has so many of the qualities that I love about wood, it’s natural, durable, develops a gorgeous patina as it ages, but is much easier to cut with an x-acto knife, a huge plus since my current studio is my living room.

What inspires you in your designs?

Hand Dyed Leather Key Chain by FitzyDesign
I have always employed a clean, simple visual aesthetic in my work, and Fitzy is no different, this way my materials speak for themselves.

What is your process in making jewellery and other goodies?

I’d rather keep my processes under wraps.

There's usually a story behind a shop's name, so could you tell me the story behind the name Fitzy?

I wanted to choose a name that was short, simple, and related to my name, Robin Fitzsimons, but without being a direct copy of my name, and so I settled on Fitzy.

Is your career making jewellery and other goodies or do you have a day job as well?

Wide Mystery Braid Leather Bracelet by FitzyDesign
Right now Fitzy is my full time job. I’m lucky enough to have a great support system, so that I can put everything I have into making Fitzy a success.

What goals or plans do you have in store for your business over the next 6 months, 1 year, 2 years?

Six months from now, I hope to have a number of steady wholesale accounts, at stores across Canada, a year from now I hope to be spending every weekend at summer craft shows, and two years from now I hope to have my own studio.

Hand Stitched Leather iPhone Case
with Removeable Cord by FitzyDesign
How do you promote yourself? Do you find social media an effective form of promotion?

Right now my primary form of promotion is social media. On any given day you can find me tweeting, tumbling, instagraming and facebooking all the goings on at Fitzy. I think social media is a great way to keep Fitzy fans updated, but I still believe that word of mouth is the best way to get new customers.

Do you do craft shows?

Leather Cycling Leg Strap by FitzyDesign
I did my first shows this summer: the Parkdale Flea (July 7th) and Big on Bloor Festival (July 20, 21). My next show is the Junction Flea on October 27, at the Evergreen Brickworks

Leather Headphone Cord Keeper by FitzyDesign

Check out the other items available from Robin in her Etsy shop FitzyDesign! You can find more of her work on her website Fitzy.ca, on Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Interviewed by Brenda of SilverFoxDesigns6 in 2013 in Toronto.

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