Last Updated on July 15, 2015 by Jenny
Interview with Cathy Peng of Cathy Peng Etsy Shop
A girl at heart, combining my love of art, cats and life-long passion for all things kawaii into my own sweet brand.
Since finishing art school, I have illustrated several children’s books, painted numerous portraits and most recently focused my attention on illustrating and designing my own line of products, including everything from apparel to paper goods.
Originally from the Prairies, I am now a big city girl. I live in Toronto, Canada with my favorite muses – my husband Matt, our baby girl and two furry felines, Suki and Dex.
Esty Shop: Cathy Peng
All answers copyright of Cathy Peng.
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
I’ve always loved animals, but really only considered myself a dog person from the time I was a little girl until my late twenties. I didn’t grow up with cats and thought they were a bit scary/evil, as they are sometimes portrayed in movies/books. After I met my husband, then boyfriend, I gradually developed a liking for them because one of his roommates had one that sort of took to me. Then when the Humane Society put out an alert that they had too many cats and kittens than they could handle, I decided to get one. I was 28 when I brought home my first kitty.
2. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
I can’t quite recall how I came across Etsy. I think it was a link through someone’s blog. I had been selling my stuff at a local farmer’s market as well at some retail stores for a few years then and had been selling through a site called cafepress too. But after learning how to silkscreen and buying a button-making machine, I got into making my own wares.
3. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
Yes, several in Toronto, as well as across Canada and the States.
4. Have you been successful at selling your products on Etsy? Have you always been successful, or did you end up getting a lot more traffic after being featured on a specific blog?
I sell a fair amount but would love to sell more. When I first signed up on Etsy, I had a different shop/username. It wasn’t until the end of 2009, after selling for more than 2 years that I changed my shop name. I think I may have lost some buyers because of that switch. I have gotten some sales after being mentioned on certain blogs, but mostly I have either new or loyal customers.
5. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
I’ve had a few suggestions from customers or friends for new products, but usually I’ve got ideas of my own… I just have to find the time to execute them all!
6. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
I haven’t, but will keep it in mind… they are pretty cute!
7. Are you a one wo/man show?
Yes. My hubby helped me out every once in a while before, but he’s pretty busy with his job and own creative endeavours these days, so it’s pretty much a one woman show now.
8. Do you have a blog?
Yes. http://cathypengart.blogspot.com, though updates are quite random these days.
9. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
I do accept custom orders, but those sales are final as usually there’s a lot of work involved.
10. Can you share a story with us behind any of your products that you especially enjoyed working on? Maybe because of the story behind the kitty?
My line of products stems mostly from getting my first cat, Suki, the subject of most of my designs/artwork. The very first design I did was of “bad kitty”, as she could sometimes or often be, when she was a kitten. The idea just sort of came to me and I remember being quite happy with how that image turned out, thinking about all the sorts of things I could put it onto – t-shirts, bags, buttons, etc. Since then, the other designs I’ve done have taken a bit more work to come about… it’s hard to force ideas out.