Photos Provided By Juliette Fiechtner
When we heard this month’s theme was pets we knew we needed to connect you with Juliette Fiechtner of By Juliette here in Fargo and her amazing catnip toys. Far beyond that, let us blow your mind with all the crafty goodness she creates.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I grew up in Newark, Delaware, went to High School in New Jersey, moved to Arizona in 1994 and stayed there until I met my husband. He moved us back to his home of Fargo first in 2009, then again in 2014. I was a hairdresser for 22 years before being rear-ended by a distracted driver in 2016. The accident cause a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and ended my career. I spent the next three years re-learning how to cook, sew, read, etc. We found that my creative outlet was one of the best therapies—and still is.
My Husband of 15 years is a pilot in the National Guard. Our two boys are 13 and 11. They draw, sew and sometimes paint with me.
I started making in elementary school—a Montessori-type. We learned to sew, quilt, woodwork, paint, act and sing, among other non-traditional topics. I started selling my work at Unglued in late 2014 with my reusable food storage sets and expanded from there. With their encouragement, I started selling at Craft Fests and online.
What do you create under By Juliette?
My main goal is to create reusable/regiftable items, to reduce our impact on the planet. The food storage uses ProSoft FoodSAFE® (look it up!). They last for years and replace ziplock quite efficiently. They are water-resistant and rinse out handily.
My Matchbox Cards are snarky, cute, easy to secretly give and with no room to write, they can be regifted in a snap. Astrology Paintings are a passion of mine — maybe not so reusable, but they are ever-evolving and are never the same twice.
Microwave Bowl cozies are an item I was requested to make. After trying it myself, it made sense to share the genius. These prevent burned hands, microwave messes and keep dips warm for long periods.
Catnip Cat Kickers: My Aunt asked me to make them for her cats, and when our two wouldn’t stop playing with them, I started selling them. We adore our fuzzy family members, happy to make anything for them.
I make custom paintings, embroidery art and am constantly experimenting with new crafts. During COVID, I’ve made over 1,500 masks, donated over 400 and continue to make them.
Your personal favorite product you’ve created so far?
Astrology Paintings. I love them. I’ve made customs with landscapes, for weddings, for entire families. Big or small they’re interesting to look at and I combine my enjoyment of embroidery with my love of painting.
Tell us about your catnip toys!
I use high-quality catnip and put 1/4 cup catnip and cotton filler inside the tube. It started with scrap fabric and now I purchase fabric with the express purpose of making toys for cats. We’ve had them in the house for quite a long time. A quick squeeze and they’re back playing with them.
Fun Fact: I usually fill them while waiting in the pick-up line at the kids’ school, so Lancelot doesn’t get in the way. Lancelot (6) loves modeling for the photos. Our 16-year-old Banzai rubs her face all over them, trying to lay claim to it before Lancelot steals it back.
You create a large variety of crafty goodness—what’s your favorite craft to work with?
This is an impossible question to answer. My Cricut Maker is a fun toy to play with. Sometimes I get really into making the tiny cards, with tiny stickers and snarky memes. I tend to spend the most time at my sewing machine. Cork is my current obsession. It is a tricky material and has a mind of its own.
What is your favorite thing about having your own business?
Since 2004, I’ve been self-employed. The only bad part is the pay. Everything else is tremendous. Since my injury in 2016, building my maker business has been challenging. Yet, it is so inspiring to be around other artists. It is such a supportive and encouraging community.
What is the most challenging thing?
Keeping my energy levels up. I still struggle with vision, reading and noise filtering, so doing in-person events wears me down. I don’t let it stop me, just allow it to remind me to slow my pace. Oh—and not buying too much fabric and crafting materials, my husband thinks I’ve got a craft supply store.
What is a word that best describes you?
What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?
Don’t get in your own way.
Where can people find your work?
At Unglued @ByJulietteND on Instagram
When the world is normal, I love to be at Maker markets.
How can our community support you—especially in this time?
Holiday shopping is key for a lot of makers, so check your social media for friends/ acquaintances that are makers and support them. Don’t be afraid to ask for a custom item, we love the challenge. Shop local. Wear a mask, wash your hands and stay home as much as possible. When you support any maker, you support us all.