Today I’ve got a special treat for you, chouchous. Sonia Speich-Hess very kindly accepted to answer a few questions about her creative process and is taking us behind the scenes of Kooky (thank you Tonia!). I hope this will inspire you as much as it inspired me. Enjoy the read!
– What is Kooky?
Kooky is the name of a one-person business selling my handmade jewelry
and gift items (such as notepads, magnets and key chains) at markets and
in local stores. The word kooky is American English slang from the late
1950s meaning strange, eccentric, offbeat or crazy. I like how the word
kooky looks and sounds, and I also feel it describes the unusual style
of my products well.
– How and when did Kooky start? Was it different back then, did it
evolve through various stages/forms/products?
I’ve been making things for as long as I can remember, but in 2012,
encouraged by friends who were already selling their handmade items, I
decided to take the plunge! The first steps included finding a name,
creating a business card and website and making enough products to fill
a market stand. Some products have come and gone, either because they
didn’t sell well or I didn’t enjoy making them. I’ve learned a lot in
the last few years from fellow makers, as well as from customer
feedback. Most importantly, running Kooky has been a lot of fun and very
– What is the best advice you were given when you started on your creative endeavor?
The graphic designer who created my logo really encouraged me to be
extremely consistent with corporate identity, even though I am just a
one-woman-show. I use the Kooky logo and the colors black and white on
my website, business cards, price tags, stickers, market signs and
displays. I have noticed that customers recognize the Kooky brand, and I
think it’s thanks to this consistency.
– What is your favorite medium to work with?
I use flea market finds as the basis for Kooky products. I then combine
these with jewelry findings, key rings, magnets, etc., using glue,
lacquer, resin and string. What I actually enjoy most is the variety of
working with lots of different materials.
– Which part of your work do you enjoy most / which is the most rewarding?
I absolutely adore going to flea markets and thrift stores to look for
materials — it’s the thrill of the hunt! Sitting down with my finds and
deciding what to make with them is equally exciting. The work itself is
often quite repetitive, in a good, meditative kind of way. Needless to
say, knowing a customer is happy with a Kooky product is the most
rewarding aspect of all!
– What is the most difficult when having a creative business and how do you get around it?
I’m no fan of bookkeeping and I don’t enjoy paperwork. I normally put it
off for a while and then eventually convince myself to just sit down and
do it! Something else that’s really challenging for me is setting prices.
– What inspires you?
Going to flea markets and thrift stores is definitely what inspires me
most. I love looking through all the goodies available and imagining
what could be made out of these. Something cool can be made out of
– Do you make seasonal products/items, if so, what kind of products?
I’ve made Christmas tree ornaments out of thrifted Playmobil reindeer,
Santas and trees which I embellished with glitter, tinsel and ribbons.
I’d love to make some again if I could only find more of these Playmobil
– What do you do outside of your craft?
I teach English to adults at a language school here in Basel,
Switzerland. I also love watching old movies and new TV series and
hanging out with my husband and two cats.
– Where can one find Kooky products?
I enjoy selling Kooky products at markets because I love the interaction
with potential customers. There are also some lovely little shops in and
near Basel that carry Kooky items. These are listed here:
– Where do you see Kooky in 10 years from now?
I hope and assume that Kooky will still be alive and kicking in 10
years. And I’d like to think I’ll have an online shop by then!
All images courtesy of Kooky.biz