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November Vendor Spotlight: Kitschsy

Hi, my name is Maisy (she/they) and I am the founder of both the Montreal Makers Market and Kitschsy. I was born and raised in Calgary before heading off to Montreal in an attempt to fill the void 17 years ago. I have always considered myself creative and it’s taken many forms over the years. I spent the better part of a decade teaching art and cooking classes at a continuing education center. I had never had any formal training, minus high school art, on either so I decided to head to culinary school. Once I graduated, I worked in multiple well-known kitchens until the pandemic hit. Feeling unfulfilled and unmotivated, I went back to my roots and started creating again.

What inspired you to start a business? Unfortunately, the pandemic. I have always been creative and had my hand in multiple projects at a time but struggling under the weight of capitalism, I monetized my hobbies. It’s changed and grown into something else since last year. Now I look at my projects as something I get to do and not something I have to do to try to survive. With Kitschsy, I can create whatever I want. I have absolute freedom which helps continue the cycle of inspiration. With the Montreal Makers Market, it’s truly heartwarming to see how many genuine connections are made between the creators. I get so many positive messages and thank you’s every week. Feels like I’m finally on the right path.

How did you come up with your business name?

Since I was a child, adults always told me that I’m “kitschy.” Never one to shy away from bold patterns and embracing a style somewhere between a kindergarten teacher and an 80-year-old grandma, the word feels familiar. I knew I wanted to incorporate “kitsch” or “kitschy” somehow so I created “Kitschsy” as a variant. Once I realized most of my friends and family couldn’t pronounce it, I’d already gotten in too deep to change it.

What is your favorite thing that you make and why?

Whatever I’m currently working on is usually my favorite project because I’m so engrossed in it. Lately, it’s been mini paintings. I struggle with ADHD and Imposter Syndrome so if I’m not distracted or unmotivated, I’m doubting my abilities. Making small 4x6 paintings with no specific final product in mind, lets me be creative and figure out my destination once I’ve arrived. It’s nice and freeing, to be able to create for the sake of creativity and not try to stick a round peg into a square hole trying to create a specific image.

Tell us about the progress you've made since you first started

I’ve been trying to focus on “progress, not perfection.” It’s easy to beat yourself up over the small things when you’re your own harshest critic. In terms of materials and equipment, I’ve definitely upgraded this year. The biggest improvements have come from my ever-growing “fail pile.” The more mistakes you make, the more you learn about what does and doesn’t work for you.

Describe your creative process

Pure chaos. My “studio,” which is unfortunately just our shared office/dining room, is always a mess. Creativity comes in random spurts and I have to be ready to paint, sculpt, pour, etc at a moment’s notice. I try to be tidy and organized when it comes to my art, but after 30 years, I think I need to admit defeat. Even in the mess of art supplies, I always know where everything is. Do you need a paper clip? I’ve got one next to the green pen on the second shelf behind the resin molds.

What is your creative style?

For me, more is never enough. I am a maximalist and that shows through my clothing, how my home is decorated and how I create. My paintings are mostly bold patterns or bright abstracts. The jewelry I make is not for the understated. My sculptures are usually whimsical or surreal. There’s never been a project I couldn’t papier mache. More glitter, more patterns, more, more, more. Even in my culinary arts pursuits, I’ve never been a fan of subtle flavors.

What is the best part of being an entrepreneur?

Being in control of what you are creating. Depending on the day, this can either be a blessing or a curse.

What is the hardest part of running your own business?

You are in control. Everything is your responsibility. As a one-person enterprise, you have to wear all of the hats. You are the social media manager, the web designer, the content creator, the photographer, the fulfillment team, the customer service representative. If there’s a problem, it’s your problem and you’re on duty 24/7.

What are your business goals for the future?

I am slowly working on opening up a store in Montreal. The dream is to have a cafe/boutique/venue. For me, cooking is the purest form of love so to combine that with arts and culture would feel like hitting the trifecta. I would love to have my own spot to be able to continue hosting Makers Markets, have a dedicated storefront to sell locally made goods, and also serve meals made from scratch. I also want to transform my Kitschsy website into my personal creative platform. Right now, it just showcases jewelry and accessories but I'm working on an update to also have my painting portfolio, print shop, recipes, DIYs, etc.

What do you do when you’re not creating?

Now that I’m in my 30’s, I’m very much a homebody. Almost every night, you can find me at home with my husband, Aidan, and our demon trash cat, Gatsby. We are very into board games, video games, and watching whatever new show just came out. I absolutely adore grocery shopping so I like to drag him out to different markets while I explore.

If you were a color palette, what colors would you be?

Seafoam green, emerald green, a retro orange, mustard yellow, and dusty pink.

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