Customer Spotlight: Quilling In Harmony

Customer Spotlight - Quilling In HarmonyCustomer Spotlight - Quilling In Harmony

Jan Howard

Small Business Owner

Quilling In Harmony

Quilling In Harmony is a Canada-based company in Maple Ridge, BC featuring handmade paper art.

The owner, Jan, has always been involved in the arts and crafts world, from a 'macrame shop' in the '70s, a museum gift shop manager in the '80s, unique gift shops in major malls in the '90s, to an interior designer in the 2000's.

In 2014 Jan started quilling and it quickly become her passion after being intrigued initially by creative designs on Pinterest.

Jan's motto is: “WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU PAPER JUST ROLL WITH IT”

TELL US A BIT ABOUT QUILLING & HOW 'QUILLING IN HARMONY' GOT STARTED.

Quilling all started for me in 2014 when my daughter set me up on Pinterest. I came across this Art form which intrigued me. I was amazed by the wonderful designs I saw and thought I want to try this. So, years later, here I am with 'Quilling In Harmony' which has become my passion. As a Paper Artist, I am self-taught using paper strips of varying widths and lengths that are wound around a slotted tool to create a basic coil shape. The paper is then hand-shaped, glued then arranged to form decorative designs. My designs vary from floral, nature, animals, food, sports, retail logos and children’s themes to my favourite category superheroes. My Art pieces have been sent all over the world. I particularly enjoy exhibiting and selling my works at many local craft fairs every year turning people onto the world of quilling.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED WHILE RUNNING QUILLING IN HARMONY?

Product and shipping costs to Canada. Most of my paper product comes from the United States, the UK and East Asia as Canada doesn’t have a manufacturing company for quilling supplies. With the cost of supplies being in US dollars that fluctuates constantly, it adds approximately 30- 40% more to the price of goods. Since COVID, some suppliers have closed down thus limiting the number of suppliers to buy from. Shipping costs to Canada are enormous and are in US dollars.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE MOST SATISFYING ASPECT OF OWNING YOUR OWN SMALL BUSINESS?

The freedom to create anytime I want. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and can’t wait to get started on it while in my pyjamas…couldn't do that if I worked for an employer. Working from home…no commuting…avoiding frustrating traffic jams and road rage…setting your own hours…mind you I work more hours than a 9-5 job but it’s for the love of what I do.

Most of all being able to spend quality time with my customer discussing their design and successfully creating it. The end results, seeing the joy and hearing words of satisfaction from your customer is what every artist loves to hear!

YOU HAVE A HUGE FOLLOWING ON SOCIAL MEDIA! WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THAT TO?

I’m not really sure why I have a huge following. It all started when I posted my first Quilling piece on Instagram in June 2015. I was excited that people liked and commented on my creations which encouraged me to create more. I was just a beginner then, with simple designs. As I progressed throughout the years my designs became more intricate and dimensional and my followers grew. I’ve been told that I have a unique style and that people could always recognize my art. I think if I had to attribute it to any one thing is that I’m always trying new designs…'think outside the box' things that appeal to all ages and gender.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PIECE OR ONE THAT MEANS THE MOST TO YOU?

It was hard to choose a favourite piece I made as I’m torn between two which are:

Title: “STEAMPUNK” I knew this was going to be a lengthy project, but I’ve been wanting to create this for a long time. Steampunk is an inspired movement of creativity and imagination with a backdrop of either Victorian England or America’s Wild West that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steamed-powered machinery. I love to create pieces that have depth dimension and a 3D effect. This has 4 layers and took 85 hours to complete.

Title: “FLAPPER GIRL-ROARING 20’s” This was inspired by the Flapper Girls of the roaring ’20s. Flappers of the 1920s were young women known for their energetic freedom, embracing a lifestyle viewed by many at the time as outrageous, immoral or downright dangerous. Now considered the first generation of independent American women. This has 3 layers and took 60 hours to complete.

Both of these pieces were hard to let go of because I loved the results so much but then you realize that the purpose you created it for in the first place was to sell and live with other people who fell in love with your Art. So, you begin to start the process over again. Art for me creates an environment of creative thinking in problem-solving by concentrating on details.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT HOW YOU FIRST DISCOVERED EDDIE'S HANG-UP DISPLAY? DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE PRODUCTS?

Eddie’s Hang-Up has always been a recognizable name in the retail display industry. I first purchased items from them back in the '70s while working for other companies. So, when it came to getting things for my own business, their name popped into my mind.

What I like about Eddie’s is that there’s no minimum requirement and no matter how big or small they take care of you. I needed to figure out how to display my framed quilling art, so I went to their showroom to get help. The assistance they gave me was unmeasurable equipping me with grids, grid legs, flush hooks, signage holders, cable ties, tissue paper, cello bags to protect my framed pieces, and customer shopping bags. But my favourite product is the Clever Clip. You see I have over 250 colours of quilling strips that needed a storage solution to be organized to keep them from tangling and getting into a horrendous mess. Thus, the Clever Clip came to my rescue. It clips onto my strips…displaying all my colours. It swivels and is detachable from my hook making it easy for me to choose colours to work with. It has many other uses than what I use it for, but it gave me a fantastic storage solution.

PRODUCTS LOVED BY 'QUILLING IN HARMONY'

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