If you’re a lover of fun colors, nature, and all around goodness, then boy do I have a treat for you. Today’s Meet the Maker is especially special because he is a fellow Portlander! I initially fell in love with his work on Instagram and was lucky enough to see it in person since then when we both sold at Crafty Wonderland (ps- be sure to stop by his booth this weekend if you’re going to the spring fair!). Okay, enough from me– meet the man with the coolest headshot I’ve ever seen, Tith of POPBYTS!
1. Tell us a little about yourself!
Hello, my name is Tith Sin and I am the printmaker and painter behind POPBYTS, a three year old shop on Etsy. I create colorful modern designed paper goods, home goods & art that have (a sense of) playfulness and a “POP” of color that are driven by my love for colors and nature. I design, cut, sew and hand-print (everything except my larger digital kaleidoscope posters) in my ‘Design Attic’ (at-home-studio) based in Portland, Oregon.
2. What made you decide to start selling your work?
I completed two years of a design & illustration program in Chicago and realized financially it wasn’t right for me. I also experimented in selling paintings and photography, selling little work in a gallery in Chicago. After a couple attempts to get my name and work out and low sales I realized selling paintings and photography wasn’t the right fit either. In the summer of 2007, my partner and I moved to Portland, Oregon, trading the busy city lifestyle for more of a laid-back city. Being surrounded by nature has really inspired me to create again. In 2012, I decided to explore new, more affordable ways to sell my artworks. I was strongly encouraged by friends and family to give Etsy a try and I opened my shop at the end of that year. After a few great sales I felt more confident about my craft and decided to do trade shows, which are fun for me, and I enjoy meeting people that are interested in what I do and to getting my work and myself out there. I picked up printmaking in 2013 and started really honing my style of art. Recently, I’ve expanded my shop from selling stationery cards, paper goods, and art work to creating a series of tea towels for my home goods collection.
3. What would you say is the greatest challenge you face as a shop owner?
Definitely running my own business. From creating line-sheets for wholesale orders to creating a cohesive look for my shop — I have to take many, many photos, experimenting with different layouts and lights to get that perfect shot.
4. And the greatest reward?
As a printmaker and creative small business owner I find the whole design process rewarding, from start to the completion of a product. I always strived to creating fun, colorful and functional pieces that simply bring joy and beauty to a space. As my art evolved, I adopted a more refined style to my designs. That in itself is rewarding. It’s also been rewarding to be featured on some blogs. I often post pictures of my art and some behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram, and it feels really great when they are acknowledge (and featured) by other makers and bloggers.
5. Who or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by new, small, creative business owners who are trying to put themselves out there and successful small businesses that show how doing and making what you love can get you far. I especially love reading about their beginnings and success stories. I find that very inspiring.
6. Any advice for people looking to open their own shop?
Starting a business definitely takes time. Start small with an idea. If you have fun, try to create a unique feel for your product, and keep your work cohesive, eventually you’ll find your niche. Do your research. I have learned a lot from listening to podcasts about branding and start-up small businesses. One in particular that has been very useful is “After The Jump” by Grace Bonney. It has helped me tremendously to understand how to run a small business and keep stay focus and organized. I highly recommend people check it out.
7. What’s one fun fact about you that others may not know?
Some of my very close friends knows this: I’m a very silly person. Like on an episode of Girls, when Hannah and Marnie dance away their troubles to Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” (one of my favorite songs ever), I’ve often done the same to shake off my frustrations about working on a line-sheets or being stuck on a design. Believe me, it works, and it’s so fun. You should try it! :)