Introducing Chichiboulie

Posted Thursday, May 03, 2012

Today We Introduce You To Gretchen from Chichiboulie

Q: What motivated you to start your shop?
Chichiboulie began on a bit of a whim after creating my oldest daughter's birthday invites 7+ years ago. A friend had said to me a long time before and in a completely different context "fake it 'til you make it" and so that's what I did and set up shop that day though I'd never sold my artwork in the past! I had, however, always loved drawing and with 2 little ones at home, I didn't want to work outside of the home. Chichiboulie allowed me to get paid to do something I love while working from home. It was just perfect!

Q: What is the story behind your shop name?
Ah ha! I get asked that a lot. Chichiboulie is actually one of the pet names my husband calls me. I suspect the "chichi" bit came about from an evolution of the French words "chérie" and "chieuse". I'll let you look up that last one for anyone curious enough. The "boulie" is completely and totally random! It just seemed to fit the light-hearted, fun attitude behind the art I was creating at that time.

Q: Do you have a favorite Etsy Shop (non-child related)?
One favourite??? Is that possible? I have so many favourite Etsy shops I couldn't possible choose just one. At the moment, I really love these among so many others:

Q: What surprised you most about having your own craft / online shop?
Learning how much I hate bookkeeping considering the amount of financial work I did in my past life as a fashion buyer. But besides that, I think the most pleasant surprise was the feeling of community. Although I work from home in my little studio by myself, I don't feel cut off from the world as there are so many opportunities out there for communication, support, advice, friendship even online. A less pleasant surprise, though one that is very important, is realising what a small fish in a big pond you can be. Things move so fast and there are truly so many incredibly talented people out there, it can get very competitive at times. But competition does often lead to creation so it's all good in the end and pushes me to learn new techniques and improve my art and products.

Q: What do you find most challenging about being an Etsy seller?
Since I started selling on Etsy, my priorities have changed so at the moment I feel pretty laid-back about my Etsy selling. Definitely more so than in the past! In the past I think I could get overwhelmed by the amount and level of talent out there and by trying to figure out how to make my mark in all of that. I feel more settled now and feel like I've found my niche.

Q: What's your personal philosophy behind your shop / products?
I don't think I've ever really thought of this in a concrete way, but since you've asked, I would have to say that for me Chichiboulie represents playfulness and the happiness that can be seen in our children. I tend to think of it like a warm, sunny, summer's day. Besides that, I do strive to have a strong sense of customer service. I don't consider a product or project finished until both I and my client are satisfied with the result. I can get pretty obsessive about it, but I think it is worth it. I love the contact with my clients and hope that when they receive their final product be it a print, a painting, invitation or.... that they open the package and find a smile.

Q: How would someone (other then you) describe you?
Eeps! Uhm, on a good day or a bad day? I'm more than a little bit of a perfectionist which can be both a good and a bad thing. But besides that, I think (hope) people would say I am open-minded (though somewhat strong-minded too) and outgoing and usually wearing a smile. And apparently funny, though I was told recently that I may not realise that I'm funny. I'm still trying to figure out if that's a good thing or not...

Q: What music do you have on while you are creating?
Oh it can vary. A lot! Anything from Amy MacDonald to the Pogues to Mika to Wagner. Really just depends on the day and my mood. I even have Doris Day and Right Said Fred next to each other on my playlist.

Q: What do you do when you aren't working?
Besides running after 3 kids and taking care of the house and dog, I'm also currently studying to become a therapist. I've found a true passion for psychology, just like in art, and my hope is to eventually be able to combine the two and use art as therapy in my practice. Oh, and I'm finally taking an art class because I thought that could be useful. Actually, it's because I'm working on newer paintings and moving in a slightly different direction, but I think Chichiboulie will be around for a while yet!

Q: Please tell us a little about the children's items market / handmade movement in your Country?
I feel like France is catching up when it comes to the handmade movement. When I first arrived here, I found it quite frustrating as there didn't seem to be much going on. Since that time, the market and interest had grown a lot and online shops as well as markets are popping up more and more, especially in the past 2 years. I find there to be quite a big difference in styles between the US, UK, and other English speaking countries and France. It can be a challenge coming up with products to suit both. More often than not, I end up making products specific for each market.

Q: Anything else you'd like to tell us or share?
I think I've chatted myself out actually! Maybe just a big thank you to EtsyKids for all the hard work the team does in promoting handmade children's products. It's a fabulous team with so many creative and ambitious members!

1 comment:

Kate said...

Such a great interview! I checked out Chichiboulie and I think I'm in love. So many great items!

I also wanted to let Gretchen know that I feel her pain about hating bookkeeping. I felt the same way until I started using Outright. ( Now it's a snap and I have more time for doing things I love, like checking out amazing, new-to-me Etsy shops!! :)

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