Anna is one of the most talented, deep and genuine artists I've met! When I first came up with the idea of featuring local businesses, I knew I had to have her featured!
Life has been very different lately and even leading up to the announcement of mandatory social distancing, but sometimes change can be an opportunity to conjure up that motivation!
Here is Anna's story on business before COVID-19 and where she sees things in the future:
Tell us about your business and why you decided to open.
Hollow + Fir came to be after doing my first solo art show called, Life Is But A Prelude, hosted by Border City Living. It was dedicated to my father who passed away Oct. 28th 2015. The theme of the show revolved around birth, survival / living, death, and the unknown of the afterlife. The show consisted of mix-media work that I created including prints, acrylic abstract paintings, a video projection, and an interactive display. I realized how much I loved creating and seeing how people interacted with my work. Ever since then things slowly started to snowball. I opened up an Etsy shop, then started to do pop-ups and various local events in 2018. Hollow + Fir is my side passion project that encompasses everything that I am gravitated towards and love to create. I've always been curious about the darker and unknown things in life — cold rainy days, horror movies, ghost stories, folklore, death and ghosts. I find that there is so much comfort and beauty in these things, and believe there are others out there who feel the same. I just want to share my interpretation of it all through my work, and hope others can relate and resonate with what I do. I create stippled illustrations, greeting cards, and hand-poured, soy-based candles with scents that are inspired by the seasons and nature. My illustrations are inspired by different skeletal systems, cozy dwellings, and magick. My work is not for everyone — I create what I enjoy, and I am so happy that I have a small, supportive following that loves what I do.
What business was like before COVID-19?
To be honest, things have slowed down for Hollow + Fir once I started my full-time position as a design & marketing specialist at Anna's Garden, Home & Wellness in Kingsville in November. I've had people approach me for commission work, or to have some of my inventory in their brick and mortar stores, but I've had to turn these offers down. I am an advocate for saying no when it may become too much. However, last month or so I was asked to be a part of the Urban Art Market community in Kingsville and I agreed. I figured that this would be a good motivator to keep creative and to have extra exposure without feeling too pressured. So far it's been successful! If you haven't been to the Urban Art Market —there are two locations, one in Kingsville and another in Walkerville. You will find so many unique gifts and items made by local artisans there.
What has business been like since the outbreak of COVID-19?
I'm still getting likes and follows on Etsy, but haven't had a sale on there since early February. Urban Art Market is also closed to the public at both locations, but they are offering pick ups on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The outbreak hasn't effected Hollow + Fir too severely since it is simply a passion project, and I don't rely on it for my income. My heart does go out to all the self-employed artists / artisans though — I know how much this has hurt them. Whether it is sales, purchasing supplies, or even mailing out orders, it has certainly effected them in one way or another. The business where I get my candle supplies is still open luckily enough, but their orders are taking longer to process and ship out. But good always comes with the bad. This time has allowed me to slow down, breathe, and think of what to do next for when things do return to "normal". People have also been sharing pictures of them getting all cozied up with one of my candles while reading books, drawing / painting, in the tub, or snuggled up watching Netflix. So it's been really nice to see that my candles have been bringing them a sense of normalcy and calm during these times. I have been itching to work on a new illustration this past week so I am going to embrace it this weekend and see where it takes me! I do hope to find a healthy balance between working full-time and creating space for Hollow + Fir so that I can share more work in 2020.
How will this impact your business long term?
I feel like there will always be a need for art, comfort, gifts, and things to resonate with. My only hope is that more people will become more supportive of local businesses once things clear up. Many small businesses are still providing their services to the public with kindness and care. Everyone has learned to adapt to stay afloat for as long as they can through these uncertain times. We need to support each other as much as we can right now, and especially in the future. My main concern for Hollow + Fir is the future cost of my supplies, materials, and shipping will be. I may not be able to make candles or tote bags — I may have to rely on selling downloadable prints on Etsy. Time will tell.
How can people help?
The easiest (and cheapest) way people can help is by sharing posts, liking and following Hollow + Fir's Instagram and Facebook accounts, as well as Rose City Etsy Team, and Urban Art Market. Not only will they be supporting me, but countless other local artists too!
You can also shop Hollow + Fir on Etsy!