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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Made in Quebec: Spotlight on Audrey Boucher

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Quebec is a beautiful province, and the culture here is unique and rich with talent, which is why I've decided to create this weekly column showcasing some of Quebec's most talented artisans. 

For our very first instalment, we will be focusing our spotlight on Audrey Boucher (born Caron.)  She is a 26 year old wife and mother of two "tornadoes" as she calls them (at ages 3 and 8 months, I can believe it!)

She is also the proud owner of Folie Plastic, where she offers all kinds of items for babies and tots, and has even started creating for women as well. As she puts it: "mothers deserve to be spoiled too!" You'll find unique bibs, blankets, bags and much more in her shop.

Audrey's designs have grown to include gifts for mom too :)
When asked what motivated her to start her own business, she tells me it all started when she was pregnant with her oldest.  She could never find baby products that lived up to her expectations. She was looking for a mix of natural and ecological materials, but with a funkier, edgier style. Since she couldn't find what she was looking for, she whipped out her sewing machine and started making the items herself.

Beautiful pumpkin embroidered bib
"But why Folie Plastic?" She laughs and tells me she was "plastic Berta" when she played roller derby, so she just added a little "craziness" and Folie Plastic was born. Her slogan is in french, but loosely translated, it's "unique and fun creations for babies and mommas that rock".
It's important as a seamstress to offer something unique, as it can be hard to stand out in a crowd, but Audrey has found a way to do so by offering different mixes of organic, natural and ecological materials. She also uses bold fabrics and colours that speak to the edgy, stylish mom. She's recently even purchased an embroidery machine, so she can offer even more personalized items, which is one of the shop's strengths.  She started designing and making her own items in the spring of 2011 and a few friends wanted to order. Then a few more, and it just snowballed until she decided to start a Facebook page and went public the same year. She had been working at it part time until recently in September when she quit her day job to concentrate on her growing business. 

My personal work space is my oasis, so I always wonder what other people's studios or work-spaces look like.  When asked about hers, Audrey bursts out laughing "it looks like a war zone!"  She's had several shows in a short time, has several orders and a new collection to prepare... She admits the studio could use a little cleaning, but it looks amazing in the pic she sent me. 
I asked her to tell me about her process, I wanted to know what inspires her, how and where it all begins... She says her kids inspire a lot of her products, so I would say the old adage "necessity is the mother of all invention" applies here!  She mentions she also gets inpired by materials and prints.  When she falls in love with the colours, texture, print... Inspiration just follows: music in her ears and material running through her fingertips...

Organized and efficient, she hasn't had too many blunders with the business.  She says her worst mistake was leaving to send a package and forgetting it on the table. Not bad, considering that sounds like something I do daily! The worst thing that's happened to her since starting the business was uncovering a case of plagiarism. Finding her own photos, right down to the descriptions and her own slogan on another person's website!  She wrote to the person and they took it down, but they never even responded. She felt hurt by the lack of respect for artisan's work. As she says "we put our hearts and souls into our creations, and we grow attached to them, it's so hurtful that someone would just steal them and pass them off as their own!"
Audrey Boucher owner of folie plastic
Audrey being silly
She seems very happy with her life, you can sense a quiet contentment emanating from her. She says almost every morning is a magical moment, when she sees her three "dudes" faces.  That their smiles are her biggest source of joy. 

As an artist, her favorite moments are when she receives postive feedback from her customers. She feels so proud and it's always a source of great joy. It feeds her passion and pushes her to keep going. She mentions that the first few times she or her products were recognized were very exciting too. I believe it, I thought it was really cool when she mentioned she already knew my blog (I'm semi famous! - not!)
Amazing work embroidering this beautiful dear
Bad luck isn't going to stop this baaad mamma, no way! On the way to her very first fair, already as stressed as anyone who's ever done a first fair would be, the car broke down, filled to the brim with her stock. She made it there in one piece and a little rattled but enjoyed herself very much. She decided to return this year and got hit by another car on her way there! She laughs it off and says you know what? If I'm accepted again next year, I'm still going. 

That's right Audrey. You just keep on trucking. You're well on your way to making it to the "top" you see yourself at in five years.

I had only two last questions for her before we ended our conversation:
What's your wildest dream? "To sell to a celebrity!" 
And your worst nightmare? "That my kids lose their creativity as they get older!"
Bah, with an artist as a momma, I don't see that happening anytime soon!

Thank you so much for your time Audrey! Be sure to check her out, show her some love by following her or ordering from her shop. Perhaps an early Christmas present?

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