Today we catch up with Toby, of I Like CATS. We popped into his studio to talk all things Etsy, ambitions and of course CATS!
Tell us about yourself, your etsy shop and what you sell!
My name is Toby and I like CATS. I’m an illustrator and I’ve lived in Brighton (OK, HOVE) for almost 7 years. My shop is called I like CATS and I sell lots of different things based on my illustrations, all featuring… CATS.
What inspires you to create?
I’m inspired by my creative friends, my dog, and some kind of primitive thing where I can’t not be doing something. I’m also inspired by films (mostly Disney) and pop music and toys and animals and colours and plants and cute things and weird things.
How long have you been selling through Etsy?
Since 2012, although it was probably around 2014 that I started taking it seriously, and 2015 when it became my main gig.
What is your favourite product that you sell?
My ‘Don’t fucking tell me what to do’ badge will probably always be my favourite thing. I like to think I am helping to empower people around the world to have confidence in their own self, while still being cute.
What has been your business highlight?
Reaching some big sales goals, developing new products that no one else had been doing… probably leaving my job in retail to be self-employed was the best. OH, and also last year when I did my tax return in April so that I could laugh at everyone in January scrambling to do theirs. (Do it in April guys, it’s the best).
What has been your Brighton Etsy Team highlight?
I love being head organiser for the annual Craft Party. Last year’s one was great and this year will be even better! I also enjoyed giving a talk in 2016 about Instagram, along with AndSmile and Georgie StClair.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year, with your shop, the team and beyond?
I’m always creating new things; new designs, new products, new collections so I’m going to keep on doing that. I’ve also been doing a daily sketchbook project again this year on Instagram. I’ll be organising the Craft Party with the team again this year, and I’d also really like to organise a new event, although I can’t say what yet.
You use a whole plethora of mixed media in your work from inky illustrations, vector drawings to laser cut acrylic. What’s your favourite one to work in and why?
My favourite media is probably paint or pen in my sketchbook, although usually for products I draw digitally, usually on my ipad, which I also really enjoy. I have bene doing more laser cut things this year thanks to my friends at Yeah Laser (#plug) and I also really enjoy that too! I just wish I had more hours in the day to do it, as it can be quite labour intensive assembling all of the pieces.
Why do you like cats? And why did you choose that as your shop social media name?
I’ve always grown up with cats, so when I left home I REALLY missed my cats and would be drawing cats constantly. I chose the name because I thought it would be funny to be called ‘I like cats’ when everything was about cats; like being an absolute fanatic about something but then acting all casual like, ‘yeah, it’s ok…’.
How did you get such a huge insta following?
I made a blood pact with a witch.
What un cat related project would you like to do?
I’ve always wanted to do a public painting, like a mural or something… although I would probably end up making that cat related. The truth is I’ve forgotten how to draw anything else, so I guess it’s just cats for life now. Meow.
Photos credit: Kate – Oh Someday.