Another issue of the Kawaii Interview series! I hope everyone has been doing well with everything that's been happening around us. Remember to support those around you, listen to those who are in need, and show that you care.
This next digi-view is with Peachiie Shop, a brand that has been evolving for many years!
Gen - Owner of Peachiie Shop / Artist of Fawnbomb
Gen and I met a long time ago!! I don't remember when specifically we started knowing each other more, but I remember at the Anime North Halloween event in 2011 was the first time I discovered her booth with handmade goodies! She has also modeled for GHOST GiRL GOODS back in 2015 for my first official fashion show!!
(Gen lookin super cool at the Xposed Fashion Show in 2015. Photo by Francis.)
Peachiie Shop is a brand based out of Vancouver, BC, which sells an assortment of goodies, from original design shirts and pins by Gen, to miscellaneous kawaii accessories and apparel.
(Some of Gen's/Fawnbomb's original designs here!)
Peachiie Shop is the "possible" final form of Gen's many shop endeavors that span for around 10 years.
"I started out crafting, learning through YouTube tutorials about how to work with resin and polymer clay. I began to make accessories when I was a beginner lolita and couldn't afford to buy brand name jewelry. My first handmade brand was called After Alice, which then became Alice, Dear. I was obsessed with wigs and circle lenses and loved experimenting with looks, so I decided to expand my range of products to include non-handmade goods too. Back then, circle lenses were not so common, and many of the coloured styles were either very expensive or were not visible on dark brown eyes like mine. I decided to help out other beginners with my own person recommendations from using circle lenses. I then renamed my shop to CosQueen and really started to participate more actively in conventions across North America selling fan art, some handmade accessories, wigs, and circle lenses. During this time, I met my friend Vince, who is an amazing artist and co-owned a T-shirt printing shop. I had always wanted to make apparel, but all my previous attempts had failed miserably. I made my first T-shirt (Black mirror princess) and it did well at shows. From then, I was hooked. I had grown really tired of doing fanart, and trying to keep up with the latest anime trends. I was also way more passionate about Japanese fashion than anything else and always dreamed of having my own clothing brand someday. From then on, I focused all my efforts on developing my own fashion brand which eventually became Peachiie Shop."
Next up, I asked what her favourite part about designing was.
"The freedom. Not too long ago I worked as an artist in animation, and had very limited creative freedom. Even if I thought a design looked best, the client would always pick the worst version. It's kind of a running joke in the industry haha. I was very tired of listening to others tell me what to do, as I am a very stubborn person. When it comes to designing for my own brand, I love creating designs and characters that will make people happy, or maybe even identify with. "
(The Fruity Cuties pin set features an abundance of cute characters themed around fruits!)
I feel the same way about designing characters that will make people happy or feel they can connect with! GHOST GiRL and friends were created from little parts of me to help express my brand more and to let people connect with my brand with different characters!
As an important aspect of fashion to Gen, she responded with storytelling.
"Since I come from an animation background, storytelling is very important to me. I think fashion can be another form of storytelling, in its own right. I want to help people tell their own visual narratives through clothing."
Recently, Peachiie Shop released a Kickstarter project for ita jackets! There are many different designs that can be chosen and all of them have been unlocked!
I asked Gen about this project and how it started.
"I was visiting my dad for Christmas and new years, and just chilling on the couch checking my emails. I regularly get emails from tokyofashion.com for inspiration and happened to see one girl wearing a jacket with tons of quilted transparent pockets, all with a little toy or accessory inside. I thought that was such a neat idea to be able to display things that you liked on your clothing, from there I refined the idea into an ita-jacket style that would be more easily recognizable for a western audience already familiar with ita bags. I usually create original characters to aid in the whole theme of ‘storytelling’ with my pieces and so Mieko was born! It took me 6 months of working on the campaign after my regular work hours to get to the point where my kickstarter was good to launch. I never expected it to do this well, and hadn't planned any stretch goals past 20k, which I surpassed in record time. The whole thing has been really overwhelming, but it has been encouraging to hear that people like my designs! I'm very grateful for the positive feedback!"
I run GHOST GiRL GOODS by myself, with the occasional help from friends at events. It's a lot of work to do things solo and can cause stress, etc. I asked Gen how she manages to balance out her business and touch upon balancing mental health too.
"Honestly, I'm terrible at balancing my mental health. I'm actually awake super early right now because I couldn't sleep well from working too much. I try to meditate sometimes, or work on my hobbies (music production or cooking) and I take long walks with my fiancé when the weather is nice. I also try to set cut-off times for social media and work, but it often gets pushed later and later. At the moment, I've just hired someone to help with the onslaught of questions and social media noise that I get on a daily basis, and I'm hoping to get them started today. Sometimes negative comments or pressure from followers can make me obsess for days as I'm highly self critical. I'm working on that."
(Some cute keychains by Fawnbomb)
I asked Gen what is something she is most proud of.
"Not giving up. Recently, I took a 3 month hiatus because my shop was getting too overwhelming, emotionally and mentally. I wasn't making enough to quit my job and the stress and pressure was crushing me. I'm glad that I took time off to figure things out, and when I came back fresh, everything changed with my Kickstarter. "
Lastly, I asked what are some upcoming projects that fans and potential fans can look forward to.
"I'm currently working on a bi-monthly subscription box, which I'm very excited about! A lot of people wanted other styles than just the designs from the kickstarter and I was really shocked and humbled to hear that people still wanted more! So instead of running another kickstarter, I thought it might be easier for me to focus on one design at a time, and not have to deal with the hassle of pre-orders. I'm honestly really really happy to have the support, because now there is no limit to what I can make and share with my supporters."
A twitter account has been set up for the subscription box: @PeachiieBox
Thanks for answering Gen! And thank you all for reading. Be sure to check out the Peachii Shop social networks and website, and check out our other blog posts on KAWAII INTERVIEWS, events I've attended, and more!