Since I began accepting money in exchange for the things I make, I've struggled with what to call my "business", and I still struggle to call it a business.
A Little History
A million years ago before blogs were even called blogs, I had something that looked like a duck, walked like a duck, and sounded like a duck, and it was called cyberchix.org, hey it was the late 90's. I used the web space to write essays I was positively sure no one was reading, I promoted the parties I hosted (raves), and I made weird and wacky clothes and accessories for myself, selling off the old to make room for the new, using ebay as my ecommerce site. This was so long before ecom as we know it, it was kind of special in it's own way, and it sparked an interest in what I was making. What to call it? Cyberchix wasn't quite right because that was my party promotion organization, sure there was a party and clothing crossover, but that mash-up was too confusing especially as one was making money on purpose and the other wasn't, I'm not Space Tribe after all. I peeled off my clothing line and called that Sparqly, because my name is spelled with a Q, and it's part of my identity, hey it was the early aughts. Sparqly was just enough off book of normal spelling that it was hard to share. I tried the next obvious choice, qathi.com which I hung onto well into the mid twenty-teens.
During the mid twenty-teens I was wrapping up my graduate degree and trying to look like a Serious Artist, and that meant trying to get all of my work under one banner, even of none of the parts seemed to relate to each other - they do if you squint - I honestly wanted to go back to using cyberchix.org, but time took it's tole on the name cyberchix, and Rule 34 ruined it. Oddly, Sparqly isn't available, and wouldn't work for me as a Serious Artist. I had a pretty solid conversations with mentors and advisors, curators and gallerists about what use for a URL, and we settled on my name, not just qathi.com as that seemed to juvenile and not Serious Artist enough. At the time I was just trying to present my credentials and artwork, not exactly sell anything, and believe me I've never sold Serious Art, despite my credentials. All through school I tried to sell Artwork, original paintings that were frames from my films, and art photography but I sold absolutely nothing. They're beautiful paintings, I don't know what happened there.
That Brings Us to the Near Present
I've never stopped making weird and wacky clothing and accessories, and I've never stopped selling them, I've never stopped making my paintings and photography, and I've never stopped selling them. I have begun to make plush dolls for pet loss, that branched into embroidery for better results which has launched a completely different line of finished goods, and I love everything I make immensely. But I'm not a brand, and I don't want to be branded. This is key, I don't want a full brand identity. I make stuff, and there's a reason and story behind every design, I never want to lose that connection with my clients or myself. I did try to brand my plush pet loss dolls as Mx. Kitters & Friends, it sort of worked and it's still in use in some places, I keep trying! Mx. sounds like mix, and until we have really solidly locked Mx as an honorific into our daily lexicon it's going to be tricky. During the pandemic of 2020 I jumped into the mask making business, the skills are in my wheelhouse so why not. This entity of my work needed a name that was quite different from Mx. Kitters & Friends, and being the snarky person I am, I named it Star Participant, the award you get for doing the bare minimum. This name Star Participant has stuck, and it's a good name, and I like it, it's a little snarky and yet still positive, I like that about it.
How do I tell you, a potential client that I have multiple disparate product lines? In a casual conversation I think it sounds super wishy-washy, "Yeah, I make pet loss memento mori dolls of cats that look like a client's cat that has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, it's a deeply personal and emotional act of love; I make literary political punk adjacent embroidered patches and embroidered home decor; and I make gothy-punky kitty collars and battle jackets." These things don't really dovetail well, even though the actually do, if you squint.
Do I have multiple shops, one for each category? I tried that and it was messy and expensive, more than this one-woman shop could manage. So here we are, everything under the banner of my name. To make this work, I added the "shop" subdomain to my Serious Artist website, Shop.QathiHart.com is where's its all at, dolls, patches, plushies, wholesale, bowties, all of it.
The Take Away
I want you to find me and what I make any which way you get here, I would love for you to connect with something that resonates with your vibe, whether that's a plush custom made from scratch just for you, one of my pre-made designs, something fun made to order for you, or bulk orders for your shop, I have the capacity to meet you there; If I don't I will let you know, I am a one-woman shop after all.