Business Name: Ruff Stuff Website: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/RUFFSTUFFSHOP Established: 2017 Questions answered by: Shaundra
Can you please fully explain your business or product line?
In a nutshell, I make pins, patches, art prints, and T-shirts. It’s mostly a pop culture interior design mash-up; I’ve been told that my prints look great in the bathroom, so I’ve been going with that. Pastels, ‘90s toys, and fragile babies are my vibe. I love rude, nihilistic sayings paired with beautiful imagery; “don’t tell me to smile” and whatnot.
With the Winnipeg local maker community continuing to grow, what is the most important thing you’d like potential customers of your company to know?
I’m a fun cowpoke who loves to party. Come shop with me and you’ll have a great time. Also, I’m SUPER nice. I may look angry and I don’t like to smile, but really…I’m a kitten. I can also accommodate custom projects!
What inspired you to start your business?
Instagram, honestly. I’d see some of my favourite artists creating an image for themselves. I’ve always been envious of having a brand to call my own. I started in Montréal and it was ROUGH (pun intended).
I went through three rebranding ideas and a lot of old artwork that I hope never sees the light of day. But I feel almost…sated! Like I can focus my ADHD energy to something other than, “why didn’t Freaks and Geeks last past one season?”
What was the biggest struggle you’ve had to overcome?
Balancing art and a full-time job. After moving back from Montréal in 2017, I wanted to only do my art, but I needed to make a living. After working at a certain print shop in Winnipeg for four years, I realized that, in some corporate settings, graphic designers and artists are not valued. They are put through a constant back and forth of scrutiny and marketability. It’s a hard thing to come to terms with, especially with a low pay grade, but things are finally looking up since I’ve quit that hack job!
What has been your biggest success as a maker?
Markets in Winnipeg! They make me feel like I belong to some sort of community and the people I meet make me feel like my brand is actually worth doing. It’s nice to hear positive feedback and know that you have some sort of a following.
Do you have any advice that you would pass on to someone hoping to start up their own business or product line?
If you’re not sure of something, do it anyway. What do you have to lose? I’ve created some really random off-the-cuff art and they ended up becoming a bestseller (aka my Barney pin, Prince in the tub, etc)
Also never take anyone’s shit, like ever.
Please share any upcoming events as well as the best place(s) for people to purchase your product!
I’ll be at Lucky Girl Alleyways…TODAY (July 29th)! Come for my wares and stay for the sarcasm.