Welcome to the Meet the Maker, a series of interviews showcasing artist and creators from York Region.  This week, I  invite you to meet Julie Gravelle from Jambeary!

Julie,  tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I am a part time maker creator and craft designer. I work a day job as a service coordinator for a kitchen cabinet manufacturer. Mom to 2 sons 17 and 21. I am a runner and have run 4 half marathons. Jambeary came from me being an almost lifelong sewer and have always loved stuffed critter making. I definitely consider myself to be creative and I love dabbling in different crafts.

Your stuffed animals are adorable! Take us through your design process.

Thank you! I wanted to come up with a design that was quick to make in order to keep the cost down. I created a design that would be easy at utilizing re-purposed fabric. The “mark” of my critters in their big noses…mostly because I hate making mouths. I also hate perfection and know that no 2 ears will match …..Handmade is not perfect but my critters are perfectly lovable!!

Do you have a bestseller and if so, why do you think it is the most popular?

My beavers are pretty popular. I think because that there aren’t a lot of stuffed animal beavers out there yet they are Canada’s official animal.

Do you receive many custom orders and if so, how much input do clients have when designing their stuffed animal? 

I have done a few custom orders but usually there is a variation of a critter I already make which makes the creating quite easy. I did do a stuffed giraffe for someone that was partly a piecing of other critter patterns and some hand drawn design. Most clients ask for a specific animal or with my basic critters I have used a favourite t-shirt or baby clothes as the tummy portion to make them more of an heirloom critter. 

What obstacles have you had to overcome with running your own business?

I find making the time to fit creating in can be difficult with having a full time job.  Also I have not had a great deal of success from Etsy yet and I have realized that it takes a lot of work to get notice with SEO and tags and such. Pricing is always under scrutiny which I think every maker experiences but I make no excuses for how  I have priced my product because my time is worth it.IMG_20160514_095327 (1)

How long have you been in business for and what do you hope to accomplish this year?

I have been doing Jambeary for around 3 years but still feel that I am in the very early stages. I hope to have a better logo, marketing package in place this year and I am currently working on some new designs

Have you booked any markets yet, and if so, where can we find you?

No markets yet but I for sure will do the fall and Christmas Markets. Etsy York Region has such an amazing group of very well run markets and I loved being a part of them last year.

IMG_20161024_075618What advice would you give a new maker looking to open an etsy shop?

Don’t give up too quickly, it really is a lot of work  making a small maker business successful. Join a support group as they can provide incredible support and ideas and keep reminding you that is it totally worth it!!

City Living or Country Dwelling?

dream is country dwelling…..log cabin in the woods.!!!!

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