Robin is the founder and designer of Fitzy; a modern leather goods company! My favourite thing about what Robin does is that she hand makes everything in Toronto.
Where are you from? And where do you currently reside?
I grew up in London Ontario, but have been living in Toronto for the past 10 years.
What did you study in school? Did you ever see it leading to what you are doing today?
I went to OCAD University here in Toronto and majored in Sculpture/Installation art. I never pictured myself running a business. I always thought I’d go to graduate school, and then teach.
Why did you decide to start Fitzy?
I was looking for a way to bring some spontaneity back to my artistic practice, so I decided to take on a 365 project. Every day for a whole year I would make something, be it a painting, a piece of jewellery, a photograph etc. and post it online. At a certain point in the project I got really into making leather accessories and at the urging of my friends, I decided to open up an Etsy shop. The business has since snowballed from there.
What was your dream job growing up?
When I was a little kid I always wanted to be a teacher. It wasn’t something I actively pursued past elementary school, but now it’s actually part of what I do at Fitzy. I love to teach my leather workshops, and I have a series of online ones as well.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
Does Instagram count? 😛 I generally like to buy directly from independent artists and designers, so I’ll usually purchase from their website, or in person at craft shows. Hoi Bo is one of my favourite local designers who also has a store front.
How would you define the word success?
Success is such a tricky thing when you’re running a small business. It’s a really hard road, way harder than I could have ever imagined, though I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I try to always measure my success, not by where I am compared to everyone else, but by how far I’ve come. There’s always going to be someone better than you, and someone worse, so what really matters is how much you’ve grown.
Have you ever had a mentor who has given you advice that you would like to share?
Arounna of the amazing brand Bookhou told me a few years ago not to be too precious with my products. If something isn’t working, even if it’s a product that I love, it’s time to move on. That advice has allowed me to be adaptable, and not afraid to reinvent old products. The products that I’m making today are pretty different from what I started with, and that’s ok. You’ve got to go with what works.
What advice would you like to give to today’s women?
Done is better than perfect.
Store – www.fitzy.ca
Twitter – @fitzydesign
Instagram – @fitzydesign
Facebook – @fitzydesign
Pinterest – @fitzyleather
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