July 14, 2008

Feterie



Artist: Cathe Huynh-Sison
Location: San Jose, California (Just about 45 minutes south of San Francisco)
Web site:
Feterie
Shop: Feterie
{JUST LAUNCHED!}
Blog:
Feterie

What do you create?
Custom event stationery for life events such as wedding, gift wrap, greeting cards, social stationery, imprintables, enclosure & gift tags, birth announcements, shower invitations and other bespoken lovelies.

When and why did you decide to start your business?
Feterie really grew out of my passion for all things paper, the need to fill a void that at the time was lacking in choices and availability (designer paper goods), and modern design. I started my business in 2003 (then it was operated under the name of Fete) after an opportunity that I couldn't pass up dropped into my lap. The event planners at the San Jose Museum of Art (venue for my wedding reception) were hosting a Spring Wedding event at the museum and remembered that I was working on a collection of wedding invitations as a result of my frustration of not finding anything that I liked for my own wedding. So, they invited me the show my wedding stationery and that event served as our debut!



How did you come up with your business name?
Feterie is really a made-up French word in the same tradition of how French shops are labeled, such as a patisserie is a shop that specializes in pastries, etc. I wanted to retain the history of the original business name but show an evolution of the direction it was going towards as well. It was perfect for what I was trying to achieve - the first and second time around!

Where do you get your inspiration for your projects?
Everywhere and everything...I've formed a habit to always carry a sketchbook with me because the inspiration moment can be found anywhere and anytime — from a simple stroll in an art museum with my son and husband to the most mundane thing such as a knot in my hair.



Which of the tools you use is your favorite?
I have to choose one? Pen, sketchbook, x-acto knife, and computer. Most of the time in that exact order. But, if I have to single one from the list, I would say my pen (it has to be a black rollerball pen, I'm very particular about pens.).

What keeps you motivated?
That's a great question! What keeps me motivated are the wonderful feedback that I receive from customers, the giddiness that I still get when I am on a sparkapalooza streak for an idea that sparks another idea (and another idea, and another idea...), and the sheer joy of doing what I absolutely love!



How do you get the word out about your work?
Being a small business owner, I have very limited budgets for advertising. So, I do a number of creative marketing and promotions — from blogging to co-marketing with other businesses with similar design philosophy to sponsorships of events and grass-root efforts! Joining networking communities are also very important, such as having a LinkedIn profile as well as am a member of a very effective network called Ladies Who Launch. I have received a tremendous amount of support and networking opportunities through all of them. And finally, I have the fabulously wonderful Moji from Moji O PR who works really hard at getting my work exposure. She is just a blessing and I am grateful to have her help!

What is your main goal for the next 6-12 months?
Currently, my social stationery & tailored event stationery are available through my site and a couple of stationery boutiques. I am working to add more retailers to carry my cards and albums nationwide...and hopefully internationally! So, building my retailer list is one of the goals. Meanwhile, I am also working on a couple of new card collections and collaborations with some wonderful creatives. So, launching those projects is also a important goal because it's crucial to growing the business.



What advice would you give to someone starting a creative business?
Do research thoroughly. Know your market and target demographics and stick to it. Most of all, find others like-minded individuals that are willing to share resources, information and even be a mentor. When I started my business, I did about 2 years of research and design, but what I wished I had at the time was the ability to connect with someone that was already in the industry willing to offer advice and be a mentor.

What’s the most important thing you’d like people to know/understand about your work?
That's another good question! I would say that the designer in me is always looking towards the possibilities and what-ifs. My medium and focus may evolve over time, but the process that makes me love design and what I do so much will always be an important part of it.



What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned while running your business?
If you're not a business person, learn to be one or get someone to focus on that task so that you can do what you love! I've learned that the hard way when my former business partner left the business at the beginning of last year.

What was the biggest lesson you learned by participating in the National Stationery Show this year?
Participating at the show is not all about making the sales (though it is nice to have huge sales!), it's also about media exposure and making connections. It's also a 3-part job: 1 part PR + 1 part Sales + 1 part Marketing.



If you had the time, what new craft/medium would you like to learn or use?
Design for textile and other surfaces. I've been completely fascinated about surface design since designing my gift wrap collection and stationery.

What's your definition of a perfect day?
A perfect day for me would involve just the right balance of work, play, and family time — those 3 things plus a nice cup of café crème and a scrumptious butter croissant or pain au chocolat in the morning. Yum!



Thank you Cathe!


37 comments:

Julie said...

Great interview! "Sparkapalooza"??? LOVE it!

Paula said...

Most successful business start when you are dissatisfied with the products that are in the market place. shop.feterie.com sounds like a winner.

digibudi said...

I love the clean lines and the minimal approach of those cards! Love it!

Claudia Costa said...

great job! love this blog and want to be featured too

Kerith Collins said...

i love the wrapping paper...it is so fantastic!

ebullientdreamz said...

the wrapping paper is lovely...evokes such a happy feeling when you look at it...and the minimalistic designs of the cards appeals to me a lot...u're good at your work girl !

meryl's musings said...

Congrats on being Blog of Note today -- I am so glad, otherwise I may never have found you. I love the interviews and pictures. I'd like to add this to my blog so I can revisit easily. :)

Steve Cadwell said...

Congratulations on being a Blog of Note! Great site.

Eric said...

Great Blog! I'm a paper airplane artist (using the term artist loosely).

www.anewplot.blogspot.com said...

Well done! Enjoy it!

Mommy2lilgems said...

Beautiful work!

vrajesh said...

congratulations on being blog of note.we thank google for showing us this great blog,we will regularly follow..

Birke said...

your blog is pleasant ;) best wishes :)

Sphinx said...

I love the photos with the pattern and textures in addittion to the interview.
:)

The Daily Bonus said...

Those are some great looking cards. So simple, yet devoid of the annoying hallmark tendencies that are associated with sending cards.

the Dodger said...

What an awesome blog! Thanks for all your hard work!

Fern Lady said...

I love the photo of the OMG card. makes me smile. I think I need an OOPS card...just so many uses!

Mhel Bhel Phel said...

Wow! I love the designs! I like how you take the time to look for artists out there and interview them. It shows thoughtfulness! Keep up the great work!

mhelbhelphel.blogspot.com

maddy said...

how pretty! i love it!

Nicks said...

very nice blog... i loved all the designs and read all the interviews you posted here....

~Jamie said...

That wrapping paper is FABULOUS! This was a great interview!

Brett said...

Great blog, its so hard for any artist to get their wares on show (i known), its really good to see someone taking this approach, a well deserved blog of note.

sugenk said...

That goods, i love it!

Megan Coyle said...

Wonderful interview, your blog is fantastic, I'm so glad I found it! I'll add it to my list.

بنات said...

nice

Life said...

"What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned while running your business? "

Apart from other things, the ans to this Ques was really very much interesting and helpful for a beginner. thanks.

e-ticaret said...

thansk for article

klima said...

It seems useful

The Consumer Queen said...

Great Interview!! There is a lady that started her own scrapbook business called www.mypagesintime.com I bet you could email her there. She was a nurse, and was born with a disability I think it would make a great interview!

R2K said...

: )

Everymatter said...

interesting & very nice creativity

congratulations for being on blog of note

Evans Earth said...

If anyone needs good ideas or inspiration for artwork, a good source is the "Somerset Studios" magazine. Its full of people who show off their crafts, collages, assemblages. Great magazine-Roy

Miss Giggles said...

wow, they're incredible! i love them!

altsall said...

excited by your designs - love the OMG and oops cards

Wish I could see your products in my local chapters or stationary shop. Perhaps an exchange program with other (locales) artists to show in their shops?

I personally wouldn't by occasional cards over the net as shipping would be prohibitive.

Best of Luck - you've got the talent

Yasmin Khrais said...

The products are so lovely! They're so simple but still pretty. It's exactly the kind of thing people look for!

Jennifer Ramos said...

They have GREAT work! : )

Jen Ramos
'100% Recycled DESIGNER Cards & More'
www.madebygirl.com
madebygirl.blogspot.com

Anupam said...

Thats a very interesting post. I have been inspired. Thanks.