You will want to read this interview. Like a good Agatha Christie novel, you will be “sucked in” and not be able to “put it down”. Selena is pure magic ~ just like her beautiful Etsy shop. Stop by Le Petit Reve ~ here you will discover great photography, products crafted from certified organic and upcycled materials; the unique and lovely items that will make the new mom happy, the child amazed, and the environment healthy.
Welcome to Le Petit Reve! Dream. Explore. Discover. Catch their dreams with dreamcatcher baby mobiles.
When did you decide to open your Etsy store? Tell me about your “a-ha” moment.
Selena: I’ve had several, ‘a-ha’ moments in my life. Surely there are more to come. Regarding my business however, I’d have to say it was the birth of my magical boy – now just over 2 years old. I became overwhelmed with creative inspiration to officially become a fiber artist and illustrator. The incentive has only grown upon the most recent addition of my baby girl. It was a complicated and layered a-ha moment, full of doubt and uncertainty – but this tiny voice inside of me just got louder and louder until I couldn’t deny it any longer. To this day I still have doubts, the road has been very hard and very rewarding. Being a self-starter isn’t easy on the pocket-book, which comes with its challenges. If it weren’t for the great support of my partner, none of this would be happening for me today.
I was once told that a successful entrepreneur is just like a Broadway actress, who had rehearsed the same play thousands of times, but gets excited every single time the curtain goes up and sees the audience. What keeps you motivated? Where does the determination come from?
Selena: I’ve been asked this question by many. Friends and family who know that there are sleepless nights know that I am juggling many balls in the air with two small children underfoot all whilst the daily running of a household to contribute to. The determination comes in waves. It’s not always there. I’m not going to sugar-coat it. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, starting up and growing my own business. That moment when Al Green is spinning on the turntable and my groove is seriously deep keeps me going. The groove of production in creation. Seeing it all come together as a complete line – ready for a big show. Fingers raw, sleep deprived and coffee buzzed. Nothing like it. That and the look on a strangers face when they stop by my booth and are enchanted. Big and small. My persistence is met by my ability to actually help pay the bills, straight up. Not just pay for my materials and my assistant. Which is how it was for nearly the first two years. THAT’S how hard it is. To actually, you know - make a living. Money is a great motivator, so they say. And my friends? It’s true. All that money talk aside – one of the largest parts of my determination comes from a love and deep pride for my Anishnabe roots. I am committed to focusing on the survival of knowledge of traditional Aboriginal art & craft forms for future generations through my creations. I believe the world through a child’s eyes deserves to be an awe-inspiring world, filled with colour; musical and artistic adventure, wonder and enticement.
I find your designs very poetic – soft and gentle, yet framed with meticulous symmetry and attention to detail. How peaceful and graceful are your thoughts when you create?
Selena: Ha! Peaceful and graceful are not often characteristics used to describe me. I mean, I have my moments – but in general? I’m a whirlwind of ideas and action. My creative process is wide and varied. It’s always there, feeding many fires. If an outsider were to watch me sketching out ideas, or surfing the internet doing market research on seasonal trends and checking out what my competition is up to (Because, as much as writing and drawing are a part of the process, so is the research), it may appear that I am graceful and peaceful - with sun streaming in through the windows and choice music playing softly in the background. Little do they know that my mind is going a mile a minute. I have to really dedicate myself to concentrate on just one process – but when I get there, it feels beautiful. It flows.
You choose to make owls, foxes, bunnies, dream catcher baby mobiles…and then to ‘dress’ them up in natural and organic fabrics. Tell me about the inspiration behind these creations and what “natural” and “organic” means to you.
Selena: Another part of my creation process is the realization of all that surrounds me; inspires me. This is definitely the graceful part. It’s in the way my children play, it’s in the way they are attracted to a sound, colour, voice or scent. At home or in nature. My little idea givers they are. Back in 2009 I began with creating plush owls - my personal favorite. I then slowly began to expand my line, based on feedback and custom orders. That and my love affair for all that is woodland in nature. As a self-taught, emerging fiber artist and illustrator, I have developed my skills through practice and as an eager abecedarian of my Aboriginal elders. I believe that toys/pillows for babies and children should be bright, colourful, high in contrast, safe and environmentally responsible; that dreamcatchers make THE BEST mobiles. It is my vision to provide Aboriginal arts, crafts, languages, ceremonies, traditions and teachings as a gift to be passed on to our children and shared with other cultures; without trending appropriations. I am constantly inspired by music and other artists. Specifically Indigenous, but not solely. Colour, light and sound – food, fashion, I am a great big sponge, very much tuned in that way. To my artistic and creative centre that is.
A product being natural means that it is void of harsh dyes and synthetic fibers. It often means that it is inspired by nature itself. Wildlife, animals, fantasy and whimsy. With organic however, there are no two ways about it. With marketing guru’s making green claims left right and centre, it is very important to me to conduct business with honesty and integrity. Organic fabric has to meet a standard of quality and grown/made ethically in order to be labelled organic. Just like with organic food. When grocery shopping, unless you see that certified organic stamp, you should really look twice at the small print. I buy my fabric wholesale, and a great amount of research went into discovering the very best organic fabric houses and developing wholesale accounts with them. I have several distributors across the US who are all GOTS certified. (Global Organic Textile Standard). As you know, I also have a big crush on vintage fabric, specifically chenille. Because obviously. It’s awesome. I choose those fabrics very carefully and use them sparingly. In the future I look forward to having my own designs printed on organic cottons.
What does it feel like to perform a little bit of motherhood, womanhood, and “entrepreneurhood” on a typical day in your household?
Selena: Pure madness. Always juggling, maintaining. Lots of organization by way of lists. Chore lists, grocery lists, to-do lists. Calendars chock full of deadlines, activities and events. Trying to find some calm in the ruckus and keep things joyful.
What have you learned from your children that was a big eye-opener?
Selena: Magic and miracles can and do happen. They’ve taught e to breathe, even with deadlines up the whazzo, that this Moment, this very second – is why I’m doing it. A quality of life thing. They’ve brought me to a higher state of living it.
I hear you like to cook. Can you share a mouth watering dish, (with lots of fat and butter (I LOVE fat!) that you made recently, please?
Selena: Lots of fat and butter you want? Tsk tsk. Isn’t butter grand? I mean, absolutely glorious? It really should be the base of any good meal or baked good. A couple of weeks ago it was the mister’s birthday and I made buffalo cowgirl steaks. (Delectable cuts of bison, the best steak you ever had). Marinated in liquid smoke, fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, sea salt, pepper and red wine. Enter the butter. Lots of butter to slowly caramelize the onions and mushrooms. Necessary accompaniment. Side of broccoli sauteed in that same heavenly pan. (Which I also used to sauteed turkey bacon to go with the potato leek soup starter, which also hosted its own fair share of butter.) Obviously served with butter pats. Oh and then there was the birthday cake. Moist, dense, lemon cake – which obviously had lots of butter, filled with strawberry meringue and iced with lemon butter-cream icing. But of course.
Thank you Selena for this beautiful interview! May all things wonderful come your way!