Today I am honored to feature the amazing designer-duo Nic and Kirsten, known to the Etsy world as evapaul. They are a husband-wife team specializing in some absolutely gorgeous design work for wedding invitations and save-the-dates. Nic and Kirsten are also celebrating their second wedding anniversary (with a special sale on their Etsy store -- check it out). Congratulations, you two!
1) Tell us a little about yourselves.
Nic: I love photography. I spend so many hours just reading reviews, mostly on lenses. I really love music too, but I get to talk about that more in question 5 so I'll wait for that. I play the guitar and the drums, but anyway I just really enjoy listening to music and creating music with friends. I really like to watch the Food Network. I also do that for several hours each day. It makes me want to be a chef pretty bad, but the hardest thing I've ever cooked would probably be macaroni and cheese....actually it wasn't even macaroni and cheese, it was easymac, which people say is easier than the traditional dish. It was years ago, but I was living with some friends and they got sick of making my food for me, so they said I should try easymac, after the 4th failed try I ended up going skateboarding in the middle the microwave running on high for 33 min and 33 sec with a giant metal pot inside, tilted on its side so it could fit in with my dinner inside. Needless to say I ruined a big metal pot, a microwave, and of course, my dinner. Good thing now I am married, and Kirsten takes care of me very well. I also like reading..oh also question number 5. We have subscriptions to Communication Arts and Popular Photography, some others about photography, but those are the ones I really love and keep up on.
Kirsten: I am a California-born, Colorado raised 25 year old living in Idaho. I am the last of 6 kids and my one and only sister is probably my biggest fan (besides Nic) and my dearest friend. I am a wife and mother and those are the titles I love the most. I am so happy to married to my best friend. Our daughter Daphne is 5 months old and she is our sunshine. I love cooking (but only for dinner parties) movies (as long as they are sappy or funny) and tv (Bravo, HGTV or the food network). I went to school for advertising at BYU-Idaho.
2) How did both of you decide you wanted to be artists?
Nic: I don't remember ever making a decision actually. When I was younger I knew I never wanted to have a proper job. Of course a lot of people talk about how you should find something that will make you a lot of money, like a doctor or dentist. I'm really glad there are people who are interested in those types of fields, but its not for me, no matter how much the money is. I just want to be learning continually and creating things, thats what really makes me happy. If I get money for it then that is great.
Kirsten: In high school and the beginning of college I thought I wanted to be a ceramics instructor or full-time potter. Then, I took an aptitude test and one of the questions said something like: would you like to be messy all day while you work? I, of course, answered no, who would want that? I quickly realized ceramics was out of the question. I’ve always considered myself more crafty than artsy. I used to love to scrapbook (now I just blog) sew, and I’ll occasionally paint but as I’ve gotten a bit older I’ve really enjoyed photography and graphic design.
3) When did you decide to go into business together?
Nic: It will be funny to see if our answers match up. But, Kirsten always liked making cards for people with paper. Then when she started doing things digitally, we had a bunch of her work just hanging out on our computer's hard drive. Kirsten's friend Emily found out she had a bunch of designs for wedding invites that she had just made pretty much for the love of it (she also loves weddings) just thinking one day she might find some sort of venue to sell her work in. So, she told Kirsten about Etsy and that she should put her stuff on there and at least see what happens. We set up an account and didn't post anything for like 5 months or something, then my mom started telling us she really should. Finally we did, and within a few months it was going so well that we had enough work for the both of us. It is definitely Kirsten's creation, I'm just glad that she lets me be a part of it.
Kirsten: Nic and I started dating when he was 18 and I was 19. At the time he wanted to be a fashion designer and we thought it would be awesome to own a shop together- part vintage, part designer, clothes and furniture. He came up with the name Evapaul (our middle names) and then it just kind of morphed into what we do now- I guess we always knew we would be Evapaul, it has just taken on a different form.
4) What is your favorite part of the evapaul design business?
Nic: For me the best part is when you've been working with someone really cool on designs and then getting the printed result. It makes me really excited about what we are doing (printed on paper it just looks 10 times cooler that on screen to me) and it makes me really excited for the people to get their stuff in the mail because I at least hope they think the same thing I do.
Kirsten: I love being able to work with my husband. He is so supportive and talented. I also love being able to create our own schedule (no alarm clocks is our motto) and be at home with our daughter. I feel so lucky to have found not only something I love to do but something that can allow me to still be a stay at home mom.
5) Name your top three favorite artists, writers, and musicians/musical groups.
Nic: Yes! number 5 finally! I've been so excited for number 5 but I really don't know how I can pick just 3 of each. especially musical groups. Artists - hmm, Seth and Maddy Lucas, they are some friends. She is a photographer (http://madelyne.net) and he is a graphic designer (http://obabo.blogspot.com), also Rebecca and Chad Hansen are some photographers we just made friends with recently and I really love their work http://www.rebeccabhansen.com, and Kirsten, Her creative process is so bitchin'. I've never seen someone that is able to put out really great work so fast. I tend to think so much to myself rather than let my pen (or pen tool, or whatever then case may be) show my thinking, which Kirsten can do. It's really cool to be able to sit at the same desk as someone working like that, or maybe it's depressing for me, I'm not sure. So especially for the Artist section, I really enjoy seeing what my friends around me are creating more than any other peoples work. Writers - I would say David Sedaris, John Steinbeck, and George Orwell. Music - First of all The National, Low Red Land, and lately Helios has been really cool, especially when I'm working on projects or riding my bike around the town.
Kirsten: Artists: Andy Warhol, Amelia Lyon (lifestyle photographer) and Van Gogh. Writers: my sister, Julie. David Sedaris and Haven Kimmel. musicians: Copeland, Conor Oberst and Camera Obscura (and the National, Andrew Bird, Jenny Lewis, Belle and Sebastian, the Cure, Colonies, Mates of State, Iron & Wine and Sufjan Stevens- just to name a few. We almost always have our itunes on, or a record playing (or the food network playing for no one in the other room).
6) What inspires your work? How do you come up with your ideas?
Nic: Really music inspires my work so much. If the question was, what music inspires your work, I would have to add Feist to the previous list. Music really puts me in the place I need to be to make stuff. Also when I see what people around me are doing, it really makes me excited about getting more of my own work done and put out there, wherever "out there" is. I guess that's most likely the information super highway, and art exchanges, and whatnot,...walls. Also I love modern furniture so much, I would say I am inspired by modern architecture and furniture. So, stuff like Charles and Ray Eames, they would go on favorite artists if the number went past 3.
Kirsten: I like to look at wedding, graphic design, photography and interior design magazines and I also love perusing lifestyle blogs and wedding photographer’s sites. Its a business you have to stay current with- using the most popular design elements, fonts and colors. I love to look at things that have nothing to do with wedding invitations, like fabric websites or little crafts on Etsy and turn them into an invitation. Music also helps.
7) How do you promote or sell your work outside of Etsy?
Nic: Some of our friends are really good about telling people they know and getting our business cards out, also I think Kirsten just started doing facebook ads. I think people who see our stuff and tell people about it have done a lot for us.
Kirsten: Basically, we just use Etsy. It is an incredible platform for artists and we are indebted to our great friend Emily Rodriguez (mfeo.etsy.com) who suggested we sell on Etsy. It has totally changed our lives. We have just very recently put an add up on Facebook, just to keep up the momentum of the busy wedding months. We’ve been lucky to be featured on blogs and other websites which helps to drive traffic to our Etsy shop. We are also part of the etsy wedding street team.
8) What advice would you give to other artists on Etsy?
Nic: I'm not really sure, I think people who are selling things on Etsy are already doing what I tell people to do who are not selling on Etsy already. We seriously tell everyone we know who creates things to put their stuff on Etsy. If selling on Etsy isn't a full time job for someone who is doing it, I would say you should find ways to make it so it is, because I think artists shouldn't have to worry about some other job to support their art, I would like to think every artist would like to do nothing but what makes them happy. Do a Google search on ways to increase traffic to my Etsy shop. There are a ton of conversations on blogs and forums out there that give good ideas. I know Etsy has even put stuff up about how to make a killer blog that will help with that. It probably sounds like I'm being vague on purpose, but we just starting thinking about doing this ourselves. Aside from the Facebook thing, we haven't done much else, but plan to soon once I find out more. -oh, but I would say you need to renew a few things out of your shop pretty often so they don't fall way back in the pages of other items out there. I heard this somewhere recently that has got me thinking, especially about getting my photography blog up and running, If your work isn't somewhere where people can see it, then it doesn't exist.
Kirsten: I am sure everyone gives similar advice but- renew! Renew at least a couple of items everyday so when people search for say, wedding invitations- they will find your shop within the first few search pages. If you are on page 47, it will be much harder for people to find you. We invest .40-.60 cents everyday (under $20 every month) in renewing a couple of items and this really has helped our business grow. Also, be an active participant in blogging. It is a great way to promote your own business, let others promote it for you and to share ideas.
Kirsten, baby Daphne, and Nic.