We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 71st in our series and is with Kalinka Essome of KLEMYAbyKlink.
A friend of mine told me about Etsy, I checked out the website and I immediately wanted to be part of the Etsy community. It is amazing to have all these talented artists and designers selling their handmade products on the same platform. I have a master degree in Finance/Econometrics and work in Information Technology. I don't have a background in Art and Design.
Born in Paris, raised in Cameroon and now in Toronto -- I can see that your lovely shop items reflect your Cameroon experience and expertise. Do you source the fabric in Cameroon? And do you design the fabric patterns yourself for a specific item, or does the fabric you select inspire the item?
Yes you're right. My designs are inspired by my African heritage. I want to promote African art, especially African textile. I source the fabric (mud cloth) in Mali, West African. The fabric that I choose mostly inspired my designs. I will partner up with a friend of mine, a designer, to design fabric patterns in the coming months. I am so excited about that collaboration.
What is your design process and how do you select which item to create? Do they grow out of your own home needs or those of your friends and colleagues, or have you determined a particular market niche to focus on?
I always have a sketchbook on me everywhere I go. Every time that I have a idea, I draw it. Then I make different samples with different fabrics to try out different colors and texture associations till I get to the result that I am looking for. I design a lot of products for my friends and family and also for a particular market niche .
Do you do your own sewing or are you working with others?
I do my own sewing but I am planning on working with seamstresses when my business will grow.
Do you have other outlets for your wares or are you focusing on on-line retail?
For now I am focusing on selling my products on line. I am currently working on opening an e-shop.
Kalinka in her KLEMYAbyKlink
You can also follow her on:
Kalinka was interviewed by M.McLean of FlockofTeaCosy on January 28, 2015, in Toronto.