Monday, January 12, 2009

Jenn Hill of Chet and Dot

Jenn Hill, Portland OR
Chet and Dot

1. I wanted to share the story of "chet and dot" that I read on Jenn's blog - it's one of the best stories behind a name that I've heard!

"I happened upon a lovely little Christmas card from the 40's while thrifting a few years ago. The image on the outside was of a charming brown cabin covered in snow. It wasn't until I got home that I looked inside to find it said 'Best Wishes, Chet and Dot' signed in the most lovely little old lady handwriting. For 2 years, I thought of Chet and Dot often and knew it would be a great name for a business or maybe a line of children's products. I finally decided to use it for the name of my etsy shop. I love the name and where it came from.

2. How would you describe your style?

My style is all about cute, sweet and simple. I love to use soft colors and happy delicate little faces on my creations. I love modern design and how simple and beautiful it is. I try to incorporate that simple style into my work as much as possible.

3. Can you please share a little bit about your background?

I studied interior design and art history in college and have always loved making things and figuring things out for myself. I am pretty much self taught as far as the crafts and media I work with.

4. How long have you been "making" and how did it all begin? What triggered it?

I feel like I've been making for as long as I can remember. I started crafting seriously 7 years ago when I decided to make all my Christmas gifts. I fell in love with all things handmade, discovered a whole world of others like me all around the world and never looked back. I think my desire to give something unique is really what triggered my love of handmade goods. I love that much of my work is purchased with the intent to give. It's great knowing that my little creations will be part of someone's special day or event. It makes what I do seem so much more than just a craft.

5. I know that you're a huge Martha craft supply fan (who isn't?), what tool(s) can't you live without?

As far as the Martha Stewart line, I really love the paper designs. I think I use them more than anything. I use the paper to line the boxes for my sewing kits, as backgrounds for my photographs and even gift wrap. I really like the rub on letters which I'm in the process of using to label all of my spice jars.

6. You've sold over 1000 items via Etsy (congratulations!) - can you give us some advice on the best way to get noticed. Is it just a matter of luck and good timing or do you have a recipe for success?

I think it's important to take nice photographs. I still have a lot to learn about photography (another one of my growing interests) but what I have learned has done wonders for my sales. It's also really important to post frequently to stay near the top of searches. I think having a clean look for your shop helps too. If someone feels like the shop looks "cluttered" or disorganized, they are less likely to buy or even visit a shop.

7. I love the little note that you have on your blog:

"While I believe that imitation is the best form of flattery, I work hard to create unique, one of a kind items. This is how I support myself and my family, please respect that and don't copy or otherwise reproduce my art work."

Many of the artists I speak to have had issue with copycats. What do you think is the best way to deal with this type of situation?

It definitely depends on the situation, of course, but I think that letting the copycat know that you are aware of the issue, and that you are serious about following through to ensure your work is protected is the best way. It's a really tricky situation though and I don't feel like we (artists) have a lot of resources in this area.

8. I think most folks have a love/hate relationship with Michael's - Can you share any of your other favorite sources for supplies?

I rely a lot on local thrift and fabric shops. It's a great way to support a local shop or charity as well as find unique items the big chains don't carry. Of course, there are the obvious ones, like Superbuzzy, Reprodepot and others. I have also found Etsy to be an amazing resource for supplies.

9. I can't wait for Spring to come, my boyfriend and I are so excited to start a herb/vegetable garden. Any tips you can share? Can you recommend any books/resources that you found useful?

I have recently begun learning about natural pest control through companion planting. It seems nature has provided us with the solution to all of our gardening needs. It's really fascinating. I love that just by planting 2 or 3 things together you can avoid many garden problems. Also get yourself some Neem. It's safe for human consumption and does wonders for the garden. It's also the safest method of treating fleas on pets. Really, the internet is the best resource for so many things including gardening.

Thanks Jenn!!

Check out other interviews with Jenn at...
Modish: Site of the week
Flapper Girl Creations: Interview with Jenn Hill of Chet and Dot

Images: Jenn Hill


Melissa de la Fuente said...

Love it! I love Jenn's shop and her adorable!
I also love that she wants a nail gun for her birthday, that is awesome!

Clementine said...

I'm a longtime fan of Chet and Dot, Jenn's been on Etsy longer than I have! How cool to get to know her better :)

Marichelle said...

Melis: how cute are those charms???

Hi Cassie!! Still wearing your earrings :) Could you do me a favor and email me your mailing address when you get a chance. Thanks!!