We got an exclusive interview with the creator and designer of some of the cutest pins in the biz, Ivy Chan.
What is your main practice?
Hello! I’m Ivy and I’ve spent the most of my career as a graphic designer at my own studio designing all sorts of goodies for a wide range of clients (most of it was in branding, but I do a little bit of everything!). Over the past few years, I’ve been transitioning into designing my own products and running my online shop, Ivycdraws, full time. Designing products and creating illustrations to celebrate all the little things in life has brought me so much joy, I love it!
Did you study at University?
I started off my studies in Graphic Design and Illustration at the IDEA program at Capilano University in Vancouver, but at the end of my third year, I transferred my credits over to University of Hertfordshire in the UK to finish my degree since the IDEA program was only offering diplomas at the time. I also spent some time getting an Education degree at the University of British Columbia so I could teach Art at a Secondary level. I taught for a little while around the same time that I started my online store, but eventually decided to dedicate all of my time to creating things and managing my shop instead :). It was a fun journey and I met so many inspiring people on the way.
How did you get into making pins?
It was actually a conversation I had with some of my Art club kids about art fairs and craft markets that motivated me into starting my own shop. I have created products and promotional items for clients in the past and have always been interested in making my own designs. I don’t know what had been holding me back but the kids said “You should just do it!” and so, I did. I created my first set of pins and then I never stopped.
What pin design are you most proud of?
Oh, this is sooo hard to answer. I think my first set of pins (The Girl Gang) is the most memorable to me, but I wear my Zodiac Constellation Pins the most. They’re so elegant and classy, I find that they really do go well with every outfit. I’ve put them on jean jackets, blazers, winter coats, t-shirts, hats, and really, anything goes. If I had to choose one I’d say it’s probably this one :).
Any advice for anyone that is thinking of starting their own independent brand?
Ideas are all around you! Draw inspiration from your everyday life. I find that the things that make you laugh or make you happy tend to bring a lot joy to other people as well. Taking the first step in starting something new can be quite scary and often feel the most challenging, but you can do it! Believe in yourself. Once you make that first leap you’re well on your way into endless creations and happy days ahead. While working on your own projects may not always be easy, it will almost always be rewarding. Develop some solid ideas, do all the fun creative stuff, but don’t forget to think about budgeting your money, comparing your options, and figuring out what kind of workflow works best for you.
What is your favourite pin design at the moment?
Do you have any favourite designers?
It’s really so hard to choose! I’ve been collecting so many. I think it might be Krispy Hu’s Acrylic dog pin, it’s just so cute! I have a picture of it with my Sleepy Kitty pin because they look like they could be best friends, haha. I have so many of Krispy’s acrylic pins. Her art style is so adorable and I just can’t get enough of it. (The Ocean Occupation Fish is also one of my favorites, he looks so funny).
What inspires your designs?
Do you have favourite themes you like to focus on?
I feel like I find inspiration everywhere I go…people I meet, things I see, memorable experiences…etc. I feel like I go through phases, right now I’m really into flowers but stars and galaxy things are themes I tend to go back to. There’s just something very mysterious, dreamy and magical about them.
Any big plans for the future?
Any cool collaborations lined up that we should watch out for?
I don’t have any solid plans, just ideas in my head and ideas in my sketchbook. Not everything always goes the way I plan so I don’t want to make any promises, but I’m really hoping to make some home decor products by the end of the year (fingers crossed, who knows what will happen. It’s also uncharted territory for me, so we’ll see!)
On the other hand I am releasing my new floral collection at the end of May/Start of June. They’re on their way to me as we speak and I am so excited to have these babies in my hands. Its a collection of enamel pins inspired by wild flowers. They might just become my new favorite.
We love how fearless Ivy is with her dreams, it's important to not shy away from your aspirations. Don't get caught in the "what ifs" take the leap and go for it.
Should you need any advice or want help in any way, give us a shout. We're more than happy to help out! Check out our instant quote form for price guides.