Illustrator, designer and writer Libby VanderPloeg opened her Etsy shop in 2014. The shop is an extension of Libby’s design, lettering, and illustration work. Best sellers include a Frida Kahlo print with the axiom “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can”, and was one of Huffington Post’s “27 Fierce, Feminist Prints You’ll Want to Hang on Your Wall”. The Hudson Valley and Ulster County Maps are also very popular, which are bought by customers who love their communities and, like Libby, have a lot of pride in their hometowns.
Brooklynite Libby VanderPloeg was inspired the credo “Make your own fucking reality” that she read in Elizabeth Crane’s novel We Only Know So Much. Brandt’s wit and enthusiasm motivated her to build the life she wanted for herself as an artist. Grace Bonney, of Design Sponge, and Adina Grigore, of S.W. Basics, discovered Libby’s illustrations when she published them on her neighborhood blog. Both became clients and business mentors. Libby admires their integrity and ability to inspire. She credits her friend and frequent collaborator, Maresa Pontich from Dusty Rose Vintage, for persuading her to open her Etsy shop. The shop is a great way for Libby to connect with her customers beyond the local level and learn what people respond to. Libby’s favourite local shops include Mociun, for rad jewelry, Bellocq Tea Atelier for gorgeous loose-leaf teas, and Line & Label for cool, locally designed clothing. Libby has mapped about 40 cities, and has visited about half of them. She would love to take a year or two off and travel to the rest of the cities she has yet to visit.
On the Future of Retail
“People love to go shopping, not just online but to step out of the house, out from behind the computer screen, and go places other than Walmart and Costco. I feel like cities that don’t have at least some charming little shops, both new and old preferably, really suffer.”