Artist Spotlight: Rachelle Letain
Rachelle Letain gives us the ins and outs of her upcoming pin business.
Heather: When and why did start your business?
Rachelle: I've been on and off Etsy for a few years now, dabbling in a variety of handmade, side 'passion
projects'. Perhaps most notably, I made handpainted, colourblock, antler tip keyrings and necklaces under the name NORTH. I've changed directions since, and have gotten involved in making objects that feature some of my design work (I am a graphic designer by trade) such as the pineapple enamel pin "Think Sunny".
H: Did you find it difficult to start up your business?
R: Not difficult at all. I let passion guide me in terms of what I wanted my first product to be and put trust in the fact that if I wanted this pin to live, someone else hopefully would want it to as well. I was right... It's been rewarding to watch the pins ship out to places all over the world. I am fortunate to have many creative friends and connections and was able to lean on them for supplier leads, both locally and overseas.
H: Any tips for upcoming entrepreneurs?
R: 1.) Don't be afraid of reaching out to other entrepreneurs/creatives you admire!
2.) Believe in the power of social media communities. I have received so much support from people I don't know/have never met but am friends with on Instagram.
3.) Work hard + stay humble.
H: Do you plan on selling just pins? If not, what?
R: After a few additional pin designs, I would eventually love to expand to prints, zines and cards.
H: Would you do anything different in terms of starting out?
R: It would have been great to have jumped in headfirst, so to speak, and made a series of pins that worked in conjunction with one another. A broader offering is always better than a solo one. But all in all, I've been happy with the feedback I've received on my first pin endeavour.
H: Who inspired you to start your business?
R: My friend and fellow designer Marta Ryczko and I had endless conversations about designing enamel pins before we both decided to 'just do it already'. I credit her with kicking me into gear + getting me thinking seriously about designing "Think Sunny"
H: What inspired the designs for your pins?
R: I designed the pin kind of at the end of winter/start of spring so I was really looking for something that would remind me that summer and sunshine weren't too far away. Hence, 'think sunny thoughts' and the visual of a pineapple in sunnies.
H: What’s next for Rachelle Letain and her business?
R: This fall I am going freelance, and am looking forward to hopefully finding time than to grow my 'passion projects'. I'm 1 part nervous and 2 parts excited about all the unknowns in my near future... But to me, it's all just empty space for new, creative, and exciting things to happen.
[The "Think Sunny Thoughts" pineapple sunnies pin has made a home on my denim jacket! -Heather]
If you’re just as excited as I am to see the projects Rachelle Letain has up her sleeve, visit her (soon to come) website: http://rachelle-letain.com/ or her fab instagram: @rachleta