This week's Close Up is with Jenny Chen a crafter and designer from Switzerland. Jenny's passion is to create miniature food arts such as little cakes, desserts and also cute little crochet animals.
I met Jenny through Facebook.and my friend Matthew Patrick who is working in Switzeland. He went to Mercatino RIMINI Art Market in early July and he decided to share a photo of Jenny's creations. When I first saw the photo I was so impressed with Jenny's work. So now I would like to introduce Jenny to you and how she first started as a hobby. A hobby that now has become a creative business that she loves and enjoys.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.My name is Jenny and I’m currently working for an international IT company located in Zurich, Switzerland. I really like my job but there is no room for creativity because of the many guidelines and processes that I have to follow. This is the reason why I was looking for a hobby that gives me exactly that creative feeling that I was always missing and by fluke I found my passion for crochet.
Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?
I have an obsession with miniatures, food and especially desserts. The endless colours of my yarn collection serve as a springboard for my inspiration.
Where do you get your inspiration from when you design?
I get my inspiration from almost everywhere. In addition, seeing tiny objects makes me feel so happy that I want to turn bigger objects into a miniature size by crochet.
by Jenny Chen
What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
Friendly. Creative. Sunshiny. Sweet. Crafty.
Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
My very first job was when I started my commercial apprenticeship. After completing my education I was working in various positions within the company that I’m still working for. I feel blessed to have my own little crochet business running while knowing that my regular job will give me security.
Describe a typical day in your studio space?
A typical day would consist of writing crochet patterns that I had in mind, choosing the right material and colours and of course to crochet as much as I can!
Jenny Chen copyright
As a solo Crafter/designer, what is your biggest frustration?
My biggest frustration is that I don’t have enough time for new designs. I’m often stuck in the production of my existing designs that makes it difficult for me to think about new stuff.
Tell us about how you prioritise your studio work.
I don’t really like prioritising my work as it will put me in the unpleasing situation of creating by a given list. Nevertheless, I certainly focus on customer orders first and then on everything else.
Since you are working at home, can you please tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?
I mainly connect with other artists by reading and following their blogs. I also use facebook to share and exchange news. Besides that, I’m trying to visit exhibitions and markets to get to know the artists in person.
Tell me how do you manage your regular job and working on your business?
Managing both parts is challenging but I couldn’t be happier at the moment because I like both parts very much. Finding the right balance is not always easy but I got used to it very quickly.
What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?
Be patient. Before I started selling my creations I had to be very patient. I had to think about a cute and memorable name for my label, a logo (which I designed myself ^_^) and everything else that is required to promote me and my business. It took me around 3 months to set everything up but it was definitely worth it. Think about what kind of impression you want to leave with your potential customers. With that indication you can work towards your personal goal. Mine is always to make people smile and to make them feel surprised. Never forget your principles and have fun with what you are good at!
by Jenny Chen
What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?
My dream is to popularize my label so that everyone knows it. I want my little creations to leave a lasting impression.
What is your proudest moment so far?
I was recently participating at an art market and a girl visited my stand and told me that she only came to that market because of me! I was so proud at that very moment.
Who do you most want to meet and why?
I would probably like to meet “Hello Kitty”. She is the most recognized fictional character in history and I would like to ask her how she got so famous.
What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
You get what you give. I tend to expect the best from people, so I relate to them in a positive and friendly way and I usually get the same sort of response back. If you expect people to let you down they probably will.
Potted Cactus Set
by Jenny Chen
What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?I’m currently not reading anything in particular but my ultimate favourite book is called “The Book Thief” by the Australian author Markus Zusak.
Where do we find you and your product?
Website / Blog
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