What got Candie Ink started?

I don’t think I can say WHAT it was that got me started. I have always been a girl with an imagination and love for creating, ever since I was very young. Colors have always been my thing. My eyes are just drawn to it.

When I graduated from High School in 1999 I signed up for a one year, full time, fashion design and sewing program. I learned everything about pattern making, fabric care, and different techniques of sewing and knitting. It was an incredible year and after that I was creating and selling a lot of custom made dance costumes that were worn by many of the Swedish National dance team dancers at multiple World and European championships as well as National competitions. It became a great source of income as I was going through college. Even back then I called my brand Candie Ink, named after my first dog.

The prints and cards idea didn’t come until a lot later. It was actually in 2007, a week before Thanksgiving that the idea of doing animal prints for kids fell on top of me as I was taking a power nap. The same afternoon I bought a scanner/printer and stayed up all night drawing on paper, scanning my images, and finally worked on coloring them in photoshop. I could not stop thinking about it. It took me about a week to get my six first prints to where I wanted them. I printed them and brought them along with me for my one week trip to the US to visit my boyfriend at the time. That week, I sold my prints to a local baby store and my boyfriend asked me to marry him! It was a crazy week but getting everything ready to get married and moving to a new country kind of left my project on hold. I didn’t follow up with the local baby store to see if they wanted more and my prints were buried in a box for a few years.

In late 2009 I decided to dig up the box again and open up shop on Etsy. My idea from the beginning was always to get my prints on canvas and never on paper. But I couldn’t afford to buy a high duty Epson printer that can handle canvas so I tried to print my images on regular cotton fabric instead. It turned out ok – but the colors were not as bright as on regular paper, so I vetoed that idea pretty fast. Then I decided to transfer my prints to stencils to screen print them on canvas. That didn’t work at all LOL!!! I did however make some screen printed t-shirts and onesies with some modifications of my prints and that WORKED pretty good! But the idea on having my animals as wall art was kind of disappearing in my mind (since I didn’t see any other way beyond having them on canvas). So instead of focusing on my prints, I started sewing again. I started making little kids clothes but realized that it took too long and I didn’t even know if they were going to be sold. The reproduction was very labor intensive and got boring. I liked the custom made dance costume scenario so much better!

At this point in my life I was also going through a very hard time with my health. So I didn’t care about creating anymore. I didn’t even have energy to create. So my shop was left in the dark and I even forgot my password to it…

In September last year (2011) my husband and I bought our first home which meant that I got my very own arts and craft room! So it was time… Candie Ink needed to be woken up and I haven’t looked back since. Now it is clear to me that whomever you are; you have to start with what you got. Paper is the thing now and maybe one day in the future I can move on to canvas, who knows, and at this point who cares – let’s worry about now for the moment.

So, I still do not know what got me started but I can say that I only have gotten started and my imagination will for sure lead me to new creations and adventures… Hopefully you will be with me!