Meet The Maker – Jaime Drayer
Welcome to the first installment of our Niagara Etsy Artisans Meet The Maker series. We thought it was important to introduce you to those makers you see at local markets, perhaps you wonder how they went from idea to entrepreneur. Or, maybe you’d like to hear a bit more about them before visiting their space during the upcoming market and festival season!
Kicking it off with our dear friend, and Niagara Etsy Artisans right hand man, team leader Jaime Drayer. Using an artisan question and answer format we created and call ‘The Lean 13’, we chatted with the Kitties & Cabernet mastermind about ALL the things…
- Why do you do what you do?
I love cats and wine and I’m a life long crafter. Attending markets and bazaars with my mum was one of my favourite things as a child. I’ve always wanted a way to give back to the cat rescues in our area so I decided to donate 10% of my sales to local rescues.
- How do you work, what is your process like?
I like to look at what’s trending online and in home stores such as Michaels and Indigo. I take the messages usually aimed towards love and family and make it something funny for cat parents and introverts like myself. This can be in the form of cards, apparel, prints and hand painted dishes.
- What’s your background?
I graduated from the Graphic Design program at Mohawk College in 2005 and worked as a corporate and freelance designer until this past January, when I left my full job. I decided it was time to pursue Kitties and Cabernet and freelance design full time. My designer heart lies in helping other makers and small businesses develop their brands. My crafter heart loves working with my hands again, as I used to love drawing, painting and knitting while growing up.
- What’s integral to the work of an artist/artisan?
Creativity, confidence and thick skin (something I learned pretty quickly in the corporate design world). Not everyone is going to love my work, and that’s totally ok. Once you realize that it makes rejection much easier.
- What role does the artist/artisan have in their community?
I think it’s important to network with other small businesses and give back to the local community by supporting and shopping local.
- What’s your favorite thing/way to spend the day/anecdote/joke?
One of my favourite ways to spend my day is taking photos of my work with my kitty meowdels. My other happy place is in my garden, I just really love creating things and connecting with nature. Both activities are made better with an open bottle of wine….
- What do successful entrepreneurs do?
Work VERY hard, harder than you every thought possible. They also don’t worry about what others are doing, they focus on their own brand.
- Do you have any golden rules for other entrepreneurs?
Comparison is the thief of joy. It’s my very favourite quote and I remind myself of it almost daily.
- What are you grateful for?
I am incredibly grateful my supporters and fellow makers. I am also extremely grateful to those selfless individuals who work with animal rescues.
- Where are you right now, where do you want to be?
To be honest, right now I’m overworked. I promoted my design work along with Kitties and Cabernet so I would have a way to supplement my income. I am so grateful and blown away by the support of everyone. To my surprise, both have been very busy since January, and though I am grateful, I’m also working 16 hours a day every day to keep up. I’m working on setting some boundaries for myself so I can still fulfill my orders but have a bit of work life balance.
- What excites you the most?
Being able to actually pay my bills with my entrepreneur income is so rewarding! Also seeing the community come together and support each other. I love seeing the success of my maker peers. One of my favourite moments at a craft market is when my display is set up and I finally take a moment to look at all the maker magic around me. It makes me so proud to be a part of the community.
- What value do you want to add to the world?
I want to raise awareness about the importance of supporting handmade and local. If you follow me on social media you may also know I strongly support banning the dated practice of declawing, and also the sale of cats and dogs. There are so many fully vetted animals waiting for their forever homes in shelters and foster care. My goal this year is to help at least one kitty get adopted.
- Give us a sneak peak of what you’re currently working on for your brand?
I’m super excited to be working on an exclusive collab with another local maker for Hamilton Veggie Fest. Stay tuned….