Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Emmanuelle Marie, I’m 26, French, and I live just near Paris. I am a full-time fashion designer for my own brand. I used to live with one of my two sisters, but she is gone to Berlin to work as a jurist, so now I don’t need to keep up appearances : no more living room, no more extra bedroom… my whole flat is just a huge workroom 🙂 I usually work by myself all day long, but I get a real support from people around me ; For example, my mum will call or send me emails to know how I’m doing… or to tell me I have two new hearts on Etsy 🙂
There are many things I could not do without the help of my boyfriend either. For one, he’s a photographer (yannpendaries), and does most of the beautiful pictures in my shop. Then, he always willingly drives me – and my huge load of merchandise and decoration – to shows everywhere in France, he also helps me cut up business cards, set up booths, label clothes, etc… and forces me to take some rest when the circles under my eyes are too deep!
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I love learning languages. My optimistic long-term goal is to speak all the languages of Eastern Europe 🙂 So far, I speak Russian well, German, Polish and Czech not too bad, and I have some bases in a few other languages. My plan is to learn Croatian before next summer, so I can go there and not feel like a complete tourist!
In my free time – usually at night – I sometimes work as a translator for market research questionnaires, or for private love letters 🙂 I am also a computer addict. I love wandering on the Internet, I like computer science in general, and I could spend hours playing with graphic software.
Oh and I also have a life 🙂 I meet friends at the pub, and go to lots of concerts by yet unknown musicians.
What first made you want to become an artist?
I don’t remember *wanting* to be an artist. I’ve always liked drawing, making jewelry with seed beads, singing… I suppose it has something to do with the genes, since many members of my family are artists! My dad’s a great musician, my mum excels in silk painting, flower arrangements, and restoration of antique items; a few of my aunts are painters, others make wonderful papier mâché sculptures… The funny part is that I never managed to sew anything as a kid. I even refused to learn how to use a sewing machine. I first studied marketing and management in a business school for 3 years. Then, I decided to go to a fashion school because I still loved drawing… But I realized that:
1/ when you’re an industrial fashion designer, you don’t really draw nice ladies in great outfits; you just have to draw endless flat garments…
2/ being able to transform an idea into a pattern is really fun! This is what I preferred among all the things we were taught there, and why I learnt how to sew as well.
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
I always start with the fabric. Sometimes, it’s already beautiful, and the hard part is just to choose what garment I’ll make with it, since I usually have only short yardages. And sometimes, it’s just plain, or downright horrible. This is when the fun starts 🙂 I dye it, re-dye it, paint it, patch it, layer it…until it looks great. I also draw new models from time to time, which I’d love to find the time to make!
In terms of organization, I generally have a huge to-do list every morning, which is almost never entirely ticked off at the end of the day. But I work best in the evening ; once I have started doing something, I don’t feel tired anymore, I just want to go on till it’s finished. Although I make myself stop no later than 2am, because I’m afraid the neighbors will get fed up with the noise!
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have lots! The first one that comes to my mind is a pincushion my mum gave me for Christmas a few years ago. It is a blue felt face, with a purple flower on the side of the head, and two mismatched earrings… It is supposed to resemble me 🙂
I also love my newest one, it’s a really cool painting made by a musician friend, which I traded for a custom showman suit 🙂
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
I am not really into movies – I seldom go to the cinema, and never watch the TV. I still enjoy watching them though, but I am terrible at remembering anything about it a month later!
I have read hundreds of books though. Some of my favorite foreign authors are:
My current favorite music:
Czeslaw spiewa Debiut
myspace to hop from page to page
help.berberber.com when you’re stuck for translations.
wordreference.com when I am stuck for words 🙂
majaba.org to check the hearts 🙂
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
I’d say that good pictures are a must, as well as detailed descriptions to make up for the fact there is a screen between your product and your customers. One should also try to be active in the Etsy community to make friends, learn new things, and be seen!
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
My all-time favorite feature is the… favorites. I love discovering new items and sellers through them. I wish it was possible to organize them in folders or theme… I also enjoy reading Storque articles, especially the ones about other sellers.
How do you promote your work?
I have my personal website, and a blog. I use all the numerous tools that are available on the Internet to ascertain a good referencing of my websites. I also hand out postcards that I have printed with pictures of my work. But the most effective promotion of all is wearing my own clothes whenever I go out!
In ten years I’d like to be…
Still designing clothes, but having someone to help me with the sewing part so I can come up with new models all the time!