Featured Artist: Your Niche Factory

One of my goals in 2016 is to introduce you to a new artist each month. To get things started, I feel lucky to present two creative English teachers from New Hampshire, Jessica Ryan and Sarah Fenerty, the owners of Your Niche Factory on Etsy.

What do you create?

Jess: Sarah is a truly fantastic artist, so we had the idea to start putting her art on cards, totes, shirts and mouse pads. I just started making headbands, and I love it!

What is your favorite craft or hobby and how did you learn it?

Jess: My favorite hobby is writing. It’s something that has been just for me, and I’ve been doing it since I can remember. I’ve gotten pretty crafty since getting out of college, so I have a knack for making headbands and homemade costumes. It’s definitely been a lot of trial and error!

Sarah: I have too many! I love cooking, reading, writing, and playing the piano, but my art is by far my favorite. There's nothing better than having a blank canvas in front of you. I guess I've just been drawing since I was little. I'm constantly inspired by other artists and illustrators.

When did you realize your creative passion?

Jess: I definitely started feeling more of a passion when I got out of college. I really focused on writing for so long, and it was just a breath of fresh air to try something new. I didn’t know how much I would enjoy this and running a shop until I met Sarah. She definitely lit a fire in me.

Sarah: That's something that has always been there- my imagination has always been running rampant. I think when I was younger and realized I could draw the world in whatever form I wanted, it completely changed the way I saw everything. Later when my family and friends took an interest in my art, it only encouraged that passion. It's a great feeling know that people find joy in something that came from my head. Jess was the push I needed to share it with a larger platform.
What or who inspires you in your crafting?

Jess: I am definitely inspired by literature. My favorite series of all time is Harry Potter, so a lot of the graphics and script reflect that.

Sarah: I try to be open to as many things as possible when it comes to finding inspiration. Lately, animals and music have played a big role in my artwork. I'm obsessed with elephants so they come about pretty frequently in my illustration work. Dreams are another fun inspiration- whether they're mine or friends'!
What’s your philosophy about crafting and/or life?

Jess: It would definitely be to always remember the reasons we started this in the first place. We wanted to do something different, and we wanted to spread beautiful art to others.

Sarah: I think my philosophy has to do something with people needing to find that creative outlet that provides them with both happiness and release. Life gets so chaotic, and it's an amazing thing to take a step back from it and get lost in whatever it is you love to do-whether its drawing, carving, knitting, gardening, cooking, making music, etc. I hate when people say they don't have a creative bone in their body. We all do! You've just got to tap into it.

Is crafting a hobby, business, or something in between?

Jess: It definitely started out as a hobby, but as we got more and more into designing graphics and planning for the future, it turned into more of a business venture. We still have full-time teaching jobs, so we have definitely had to find a delicate balance between Your Niche Factory and teaching.

How did you choose your brand or shop name?

Sarah: What I love about our shop is that we offer a wide range of products and designs- stuff for everyone. We all have our quirky and unique interests, and it's our goal to produce products that will appeal to people with niche interests. A niche is that special, comfortable place you find for yourself, so we thought why not apply that to the hobbies and interests of our consumers- a store that caters to your own niche in the world.

What is a typical day for you?

Jess: In a typical day, I wake up early to spend a bit of time with my dog and boyfriend before I have to leave for work and then I spend the day teaching my quirky, crazy and lovable sophomores and seniors. When I get home, I try to go to the gym; I’ve definitely been making an effort to be healthier lately. After all of that, I work on things for Your Niche Factory for a couple of hours, while my dog patiently (not patiently at all) waits for me to give him all of my attention.

Sarah: A typical day for me consists of a busy and entertaining day at school with my awesome kids, lots of talking with both my people at school and at home, a few cups of great coffee, some yoga, and at least one new sketch. Guilty of binge watching Netflix in between drawing and grading.

What is an ideal day for you?

Jess: An ideal day would be a day I can see my family and just take a minute to breath. It would include my dog because I am obsessed with him.

Sarah: An ideal day would consist of waking up not tired, getting in some early morning drawing, seeing some good friends and family, grabbing a coffee at a cozy bookstore, cooking an awesome meal, and then hanging out around a bonfire.
What projects are you the most proud of?

Jess: I love the “I Believe In Magic” shirt and tote. It sums up so much in a simple phrase.

Sarah: That's a tough question! I'd have to say the drawings I've made special for family and friends that later get reproduced for the store. So many of them have special meaning.

What is the strangest thing you have ever created?

Sarah: Oh, that would be the ceramic angel I made for my mom my senior year in art class. It's awful, seriously the ugliest thing you've seen. She still has it in a curio cabinet, and I've been trying to break it for years.
How do you deal with crafting failures?

Jess: When we started this, we knew there would be failures, but we’ve taken it all in stride. We look at what worked and what didn’t and move forward from there, and we usually get a pretty funny story out of the failures.

Have you ever experienced a dry spell when you put your crafting aside? If so, what brought you back to crafting?

Sarah: There have been several times where I've fallen off the band wagon because no ideas are coming to mind. Usually when an event occurs that elicits a lot of emotion for me, I'll find myself reading from my sketchbook. I'm an emotional person so that dry spells never last too long, haha.

What keeps you busy when you are not creating?

Jess: Teaching keeps me super busy. When we are on school vacations, I get to spend a lot of time with my dog and family. I feel like I am always on the move in terms of having places to go, so I usually try to make sure I just have some “me time” in my schedule.

Sarah: Like Jess said, teaching doesn't ever let you feel not busy while school is in session. When I do have downtime, I'm big into socializing, trying new recipes, and catching up on my personal reading while in the bathtub. I also love to travel.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself, your craft, or business tips to help others with small crafting businesses?

Jess: We do what we love, and we hope those who visit our shop love what they see. I think my tip would be to not get discouraged and to keep trying to get your name out there. Keep doing what you love!

Stay Connected with Your Niche Factory

YourNicheFactory on Etsy
YourNicheFactory on Facebook
@yournichefactory on Instagram
Pins from Your Niche Factory



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The Chilly Dog: Featured Artist: Your Niche Factory
Featured Artist: Your Niche Factory
Meet Jessica and Sarah from Your Niche Factory on Etsy.
The Chilly Dog
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