Known for her time on Australian television series House Rules, Michelle Fogden is the Adelaide artist and graphic designer behind Ettie Ink. Specialising in vibrant contemporary pieces to decorate your walls, Michelle creates original acrylic paintings on wood and canvas, open and limited edition prints and stationery too.
After selling her designs at a range of markets, including The Makers & Shakers Market, Bowerbird and Finders Keepers, Michelle decided to open her first Ettie Ink studio in October of last year.
Owning a South Australian business, Michelle is invested in supporting local. Ettie Ink is just one of over 100 local businesses a part of Brand South Australia’s initiative, Shop South Australia – which promotes and supports local makers and producers. The website displays over 400 South Australian products, taking you directly to each vendors’ own website to purchase and ensuring that 100% of the profits remain with the maker here in SA.
Why did you begin Ettie Ink?
I started Ettie Ink after the birth of my first daughter, Addison. After years of being a teacher, I seized the opportunity while I was on maternity leave to finally start my own business. Ettie Ink was initially set up as a graphic design business, I worked from home and specialised in bespoke wedding invitations and stationery. Clients and friends suggested I start selling my designs as prints, so I began selling at local markets in Adelaide. Everything went from there and before too long I had interstate stockists and my prints were being featured in some of my favourite magazines!
What’s your most popular design?
My most popular design by far has been ‘Stillness of Evening’. I created this print in 2017 for Creating For Conservation’s event, A Night For Kings – a fundraiser to raise money for Kings Chimungu to fulfil his lifelong dream of becoming a veterinary assistant. I think people are drawn to this design because of the vibrant blues and greens – the splashes of colour, bold lines and touches of pink exude a fun and fresh vibe. Plus, botanical prints are very on trend at the moment!
What have been some of the highlights of Ettie Ink?
Ettie Ink’s very first highlight was definitely having my copper leafed prints featured in Real Living Magazine – it was a huge four page spread where my prints featured prominently in the home of interior designer, Crystal Bailey. From there, I had enquiries from stockists all over Australia and the prints sold like hotcakes!
Another highlight was doing my very first Bowerbird, Adelaide’s biggest design market, in 2014. I’d attended as a visitor for many years and was always so inspired by all of the beautiful stalls. To finally have my own stall was a dream come true – it felt like Ettie Ink was all grown up!
In 2015, I closed Ettie Ink for a year while I appeared on House Rules with my hubby, Brooke. This was one of the most exciting (and challenging) things we’ve ever done! It wasn’t ideal to have to close Ettie Ink for such a long time, especially with the momentum I was garnering at the time, but it certainly exposed my business to a wider audience once the show aired on TV. The experience has provided me with lots of new opportunities. Upon returning back to business, in 2017 I was able to fulfil my lifelong dream of opening an art studio in Goodwood – a definite highlight!
Why did you decide to open a bricks and mortar store?
Working from home had its benefits, but it was becoming too difficult and messy! Our house was being taken over with frames, paints, prints and canvases! Opening a studio in Goodwood meant that I could keep my home and work life separate. Plus, I really wanted a professional space to display my artwork properly, styled so that people can visualise the pieces in their home. Having a permanent space allows my work to be more accessible to customers – not only do people love to see things in person, they enjoy chatting to me about the artwork and where they will place it in their home.
Are all of your products designed and made here in South Australia?
I design and create all of my artwork here in Adelaide. Printing and framing is also done locally – I use ProLab Imaging and Elite Picture Framing.
What’s next for Ettie Ink?
I think 2019 is going to be a busy year! I’m doing my first trade show in Melbourne and I’ve partnered up with interior designer (and good friend) Rachel James to start Base @9, a home renovation company offering interior and exterior design services for renovations and new builds. I’m really excited about 2019!
Ettie Ink Studio
89A Goodwood Rd, Goodwood, SA.
Photography by: Sarah Lawrie (Sarah & Laura Design), Reinhardt O’Kennedy, Jacie Davis Photography and Elle DS photography
*This content is sponsored by Brand South Australia.