I’m Yas Imamura, and I started a shop called Quill & Fox. I make illustrated cards and stationery from our home-based studio here in Oregon.
My husband is an illustrator as well, and he got me to revisit my love of illustrating shortly after graduating from art school (ironic, I know!). I never saw it as a viable career until then, and getting married eventually gave me the idea of taking it to paper and stationery. The realization that people still send correspondences and appreciate a hand-written letter really drove me forward.
I spend a huge amount of time brainstorming visual ideas, and sketching little thumbnails on paper. I love coming up with new things to illustrate – which is both a painstaking and enjoyable effort. The illustration, design, and color palette flow more organically and can be the easiest part.
Etsy has been a very strong and consistent companion for my business. It never felt like a stepping stone for me, but something that is heavily integrated in our business, and will continue to be so. It not only provides my shop a good sales and marketing channel, it also opened me up to this very supportive community and a thriving DIY culture.
Conscious consumerism influences the active choices we make as a shop, and is something we always strive to inspire people towards. They may seem like little efforts – choosing treeless materials like cotton paper, or being more conscientious in our packaging – but I’m constantly surprised at how much customers appreciate even small steps in the right direction.
My business has definitely helped me grow a lot as an artist and a person. I went from creating art in a sealed vacuum to an open environment where people are constantly interacting with it. I’m always humbled by the thought that my cards are somewhere in other people’s homes, part of someone’s life. I’m also constantly surprised by how warm and appreciative customers are towards grassroots shops like ours. It’s a community that I’m thankful to be part of.
All photographs by Quill & Fox.