For this week’s Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx, I’m pleased to be able to bring you my interview with Susan Connor of susyjack*. For regular readers of Indie Fixx, you know I’ve featured Susan a couple of times since she first debuted her brand in 2007, including featuring her new collection last May.
Susyjack*’s bright clean functional designs appeal to me and I’m sure you’ll see what I mean after taking a look at some of her goods below.
Plus, use the discount code INDIEF at Susyjack* and get 10% off your entire order.
And, my discount is…enter the code INDIEF at my big cartel site and get 10% off the entire order.
My sites are:
www.susyjack.com <- links to bigcartel store
http://www.susanconnordesign.typepad.com (heysusy* blog)
1. What’s the name of your business, what do create and sell and how did you get your start?
Name: susyjack*. I got started when I lost a 9-5 job. I thought about jumping right back into my former field, but I felt like I was at a crossroads. During that time, I created a few notebooks and put them on Etsy. Well, I got quickly addicted to creating my own items, and luckily, some really great bloggers found the shop, and liked them too. After that…I just kept on going without looking back!
2. Do you have a mentor? If not, who would your dream mentor be?
I can’t say that I do. I do keep track of stories and individuals who inspire me, and there are many. They range from artistic figures to friends and business moguls to everyday people that have fantastically inspiring stories– normally, thoughtful people who manage to keep their own voice in this intensely competitive and demanding world of ours.
3. What are your inspirations in your art and in life?
I’m inspired by the idea that people enjoy finding their own meaning in things. I think people are often happiest when they find their own truths. Much the way people say a toddler is just as happy pushing a chair across the floor as playing with some fancy, flashy toy, I try and create items that bring simple joys that people can pour their own meaning into.
4. Is your home messy or organized? Which one do you think is ideal and why?
My home is messy from 9:00-:5:00 Monday-Friday. Every night, just before my boyfriend comes back from work there is a MASSIVE cleanup effort. During the day, I tend to trail projects out of the office and into the rest of our space. When I’m done with work for the day, I like to clean up so we can enjoy a calm evening and won’t wake up to a mess. But…my organizing efforts are really lightweight…if I don’t keep it really simple…I’ll forget where I put things. But…I have been known to sweep scraps of paper under the rug….literally.
5. What three things can’t you live without?
1. Creativity: This is the key to happiness in my life. When my creativity is stifled, my life feels half of what it could be.
2.. Natural Light.
3. Enjoying great food: coffee, beer, mac and cheese, pizza…dumplings….food is a total source of joy in my life. Since starting my business (and having to cut lots of expenses) food is the one thing I feel like I can splurge on…every now and then.
6. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at?
Honestly, I really limit my blog/style mag intake. I start creating work that doesn’t look like mine when I look at too many other styles. I read Creature Comforts often. I just love the tone of that blog, and the new segment by the wonderful, thoughtful Melissa at Melissa Loves. As a treat, I’ll visit Decor8, Design Sponge, and PoppyTalk…and all the blogs on my blogroll at heysusy*.
Shops…I barely shop, unless I need to buy a gift. Whenever I see something I want, I think…’that’s 10 Notebooks!’ or ‘That’s 500 sets of clips’! so…I try to stay out of stores. If I go shopping, generally, it’s to a discount store, or I’ll head to Etsy. Clothing…if I want to splurge…Built By Wendy.
Magazines….The New Yorker, The Economist, The New York Times.
7. What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?
The best thing is hearing enthusiasm for the products. I am always so happy to hear that people like the items– and I love hearing what they plan to use them for.
The worst…wishing that there were more eco-friendly supplies to pick from. A lot of the time, doing something in an eco-friendly way is more expensive….and it would be nice if that could start to change. For both me, and my customers and retailers.
8. What does indie mean to you? You can give a literal definition, choose to be a little esoteric or a combination of both. 😉
Being independent means that I have made a choice to do things my own way. And have made it a priority to maintain my integrity and the integrity of my wares. I take my independent status really, really seriously. It comes into play with everything I do…from choosing a paper, to creating a design, to deciding how to market a product. I love not having to create what statisticians think will make sense…but to create what I think should be out there.
9. What are you reading, watching and listening to?
I tend to watch a lot of movies, rather than TV, but I’m a big Law and Order fan.
Generally….I listen to NPR all day when I’m working. Musicwise, we listen to all sorts of stuff. Some of my absolute favorites are Jonathan Richman, The Kinks, The White Stripes, The Clash and Led Zeppelin. My boyfriend has a giant record collection, we like to listen to… but I am not allowed to touch them because I am a spaz.
10. What’s one thing you’ve learned as an adult that you wish you knew when you were a kid?
That’s a really good question! Actually…I think about this a lot.
1. Middle school is not forever. It is awful. But, it’s not forever.
2. If it moves you…dare to be different.
3. Keep your cool. Even if you want to get upset or dramatic about something, you will wish you hadn’t later.
4. Surround yourself with people who care about you, and who help your creativity and spirit to grow, no matter what.
11. What’s new? Any new plans or products that you want to share?
I am really excited to launch the calendar…which is at the printer now. I have a bunch of new items coming down the pipeline… including some glass items with patterns which I am really excited about—but, I don’t want to show them off until I’m sure they’re working…right now, I’m close…but they have a little ways to go.