Meet Your Maker: Bess Callard

My interviewee today is someone pretty special. I was lucky enough to discover her amazing "Small Business, Small Steps" blog series when I was first starting out (and she was still living in Austria). The clarity and honesty in her writing had me hooked and I could see so much of myself in everything she wrote. In fact, we've been known to call each other "blog soulmates". Haha! Speaking from experience, she is also a great designer to work with. Her designs are the perfect colourful touch for any nursery or child's room. I'm so grateful and proud to call her a friend and to be able to introduce her now to you! Everyone, this is Bess. Bess, everyone.

WHO are you? Tell me a bit about yourself and your work.
Hi Erin, thanks so much for having me on the Dear Edna Blog!

My name is Bess Callard and I am an illustrator and graphic designer based in Montreal, Canada. I am the owner of English Muffin Shop, an illustration company that seeks to solve your children's room and nursery design dilemmas with modern, fresh and often educational prints and posters.

WHAT inspires you?
I find simple things inspiring; a bright sunny day, a tidy work space, a bowl of Granny Smith apples. I love clean lines and shapes, the contrast between light and dark and the use of movement and play in design.

WHERE do you work? Describe your workspace.
I live in a two bedroom apartment with my husband and dog in the Parc Lafontaine neighbourhood of Montreal. We have a great space and have been lucky enough to turn the second bedroom into an office. I work at a drafting table that my dad built for me a few years ago when I was in school. Never far from my side is Tyke, our miniature pinscher; along with his companionship and the CBC I never get lonely!

Here are a couple photos of my office taken for Ill Seen, Ill Said's "Where We Blog From" Series:

WHEN do you feel most successful? frustrated/insecure?
I feel most successful when I make a sale. (That sounds bad, doesn't it?!) I feel so successful when making a sale because it is a validation of all my hard work. It means that people are connecting to and embracing my work, so much so that they want to have it in their own home or give it as a gift. I think that is a huge compliment.

I think I feel more insecurity than frustration. The insecurity comes from analyzing too much and not trusting in myself. I could have a "normal" job, but I don't. I have made some riskier choices in hopes that I will get to lead the kind of life that allows for freedom and fun. Inherent in those choices is doubt, but I try my best to not get stuck in the land of insecurity too often.

WHY do you do what you do?
Because it's fun, creative, challenging, exciting, rewarding, fulfilling, and 100% percent ME!

HOW do you do what you do? Describe your creative process and/or your typical work day?
One of the best parts of my job is that every day is different. How I organize my day really depends on what projects I have on the go. Generally if I'm working on a new design I like to get started before lunch. Once the emails/convos have been answered and any overnight sales organized, I'll take a peek at my favourite blogs and then put on a podcast or the radio and get to work. On design days sometimes I get so caught up with what I'm working on that I won't have lunch until 2pm or 3pm! In the afternoon I'll most likely package orders and try to get to the post office before they close at 5pm. In the evening I have dinner with my husband and then usually wrap up the day with any odds and ends that still need my attention, and if I'm really on schedule, write a blog post for the next morning.

I'd love to wrap up with a big ol' THANK YOU! Thank you to my friends and family who are a constant source of support. Forging ahead with a one-woman online company is the kind of thing that can raise eyebrows. I couldn't imagine doing this if I wasn't surrounded by such a wonderful group of people. Most of all thank you to my husband for his truly above and beyond support. I feel so lucky every day to be doing what I'm doing, and know that I did not get here alone.


Thanks so much, Bess! As always, I am so impressed and inspired by your honesty, genuineness and passion. I wish you all the best this year! Please take a moment to visit the links above.


Bess Callard said...

Erin, it was such a pleasure to be featured on your blog - we've really been great friends and "blog soulmates" for a while now!! Thank goodness for the internet and all the wonderful new people it has brought into my life. Your encouragement and support are truly appreciated! I wish you wonderful year ahead too. xox

Anonymous said...

Her work is amazing, I love it!

Camila F.