Interview With Sebastiano Ranchetti Of Animals in Color Etsy Shop
Sebastiano Ranchetti was born in in Milan in 1961. He became a graphic designer in the early eighties in Germany and since then has lived in London and Florence and worked as designer and art director, mostly in the publishing industry. He currently lives in the Florentine countryside with his wife Laura, their three daughters Michelle, Alice and Julia, Tina the cat and Emma the dog.
In 2004 Sebastiano created his first work as author-designer-artist, a series of four textless books entitled “Think in color”. Since then he has produced eleven illustrated volumes about animals for children that have been published in Italy, Mexico, Korea, France and the US. He also creates custom portraits and runs the Popdesign studio with his wife; you can see their work at www.popdesign.it.
Sebastiano’s colorful digital prints of animals have been exhibited in art galleries and other venues around Florence. These artworks have received a very favorable response, prompting him to look for new ways of sharing them, by creating calendars, postcards, prints and t-shirts. The images are all vectorial and can be scaled to any size.
Etsy Shop: Animals in Color
All answers are copyright of Sebastiano Ranchetti
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
My English mother is an animal lover, and as I grew up there were always numerous cats and dogs living with us. We lived in the countryside (and still do), which makes this easier. But I didn’t have my own special cat until 12 years ago, when Tina appeared in my life. Initially, she was supposed to be my children’s pet, but she chose to be mine, and we’ve been together ever since…
2. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
I discovered Etsy through my sister-in-law, who had opened her own shop. I have been also selling some t-shirt designs through the Australian website Red Bubble, since I would like to produce and sell my own on etsy but haven’t found an affordable way to do that yet.
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3. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
I sell my postcards, prints and calendars in various venues around Florence, including an art gallery, a bookstore, a record store and a bookstore-cafe.
My artworks have various subjects, but cats are always the most popular with buyers.
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?
For a while I hardly sold anything because I had no idea how to promote my products. My traffic increased after I offered a giveaway on Moderncat.net which generated a lot of interest. I realize the importance of actively promoting my etsy store, but recently I have been busy with other projects and consequently my traffic has started to go down again. One of the main sources of visitors is the etsy link on my wife’s beautiful blog animalarium.
5. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
Sometimes I am asked to create custom work on commission, especially portraits of people and pets.
6. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
7. Are you a one wo/man show?
I love to create alone, but also enjoy working closely with my wife, who often helps me with the business and organizational sides. Sometimes we also work together on creative projects, like children’s books or graphic design commissions.
8. Do you have a blog?
Writing is not my thing. My wife used to post news about my works on the popdesign blog, but recently she has been focusing on her animalarium project. We are planning to revive the popdesign blog sometimes in the future.
9. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
I am often asked to create custom work on commission, especially portraits of people and pets. Yes, customers can return items if they are disappointed. Luckily until now my clients have been very satisfied, and I only had to replace a couple of items which had gotten ruined in the mail.
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?
I especially enjoyed working on the portrait of my cat Tina. It took me a long time to decide to get started, since I was afraid of not being able to convey her strong character. In the end, I am quite satisfied with the result.