Name: Leila Hijazi
Shop Name: Illustrated Ink
Brief Product Description: Painted wood pieces, plaster sculptures, paper goods, and prints.
What is unique about your product? People seem to find my colorful combination of folk art and tattoo design unique.
How did you get started? I've always created art, but 3 years ago, I decided to dedicate myself to it full-time. With the development of more venues for artists to sell their creations on-line, I felt it was the right time to be true to myself and give my art a chance. I quit my day job and became completely focused on getting my business off the ground. I haven't looked back since!
Where do you get your inspiration? My work is inspired by old school tattoo design, "Day of the Dead", Catholic icons, and folk art.
What excites you most about your work/shop? I love getting up in the morning, knowing my day will be filled with painting. I get very excited when I get a new idea for something I'd like to create, and I can't wait to list it in my Etsy shop.
Describe your workspace/workroom. My studio walls are a deep red, and have shelves from the floor to the ceiling (my awesome boyfriend and his Dad built them for me). The shelves are filled with my found objects, vintage treasures, plaster pieces I've cast, supplies, and occasionally a napping cat. I also have a computer desk, printers, a table for shipping and supplies, and a large painting space. My favorite spot in my studio, is my "Catholic Corner", it's filled with Catholic statues and prints. Most of the pieces are vintage. I also have a rosary and prayer card collection. This area in my studio is always inspiring to me.
Which do you prefer: online sales/marketing or face-to-face sales/marketing? Why? I definitely prefer on-line sales. I'm not shy, until it comes to selling my art in person. People that visit my booth are always complimentary and kind. It definitely makes me feel great to see people enjoying my work, but It's been a struggle for me to be comfortable talking about myself and my art. I've met so many great people on-line and in person, and I love that part of the business.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years? I'd like for Illustrated Ink to continue to grow, and to still be enjoying selling my work on Etsy and at select shows. Hopefully, having more time for myself that isn't so business consumed.
What do you feel is the most important skill you use in your business every day? Organization! You have got to juggle e-mails, keeping your on-line store updated, shipping, creating new pieces, preparing for shows, ordering supplies, and keeping track of your financial numbers. Meanwhile, you still have to fit in your life and time for those that are most important to you. You definitely need to be organized, or things will start slipping through the cracks.
What do you like about EtsyAustin? I love that EtsyAustin is local and involved in getting art out to the community! I love my city, and I am thrilled to be part of a homegrown team.
What do you think makes EtsyAustin Street Team unique? I think the regular meetings are unique and an important part of any team. I'm looking forward to meeting the other artists and getting to know them.
Describe something about yourself that may be a surprise to people on the team. Before I became a full-time artist, I was a personal trainer specializing in boxing. I still have a few clients that come to my house weekly and I train them in punching technique and on the heavy bag. It's a great workout and good stress relief! :)