Find out how this local small business owner went from being a musician to studying graphic design. She also spills about how she forged her own path through design, the ethical fashion movement and a local designer who she believes really embodies an ethical business model.
Elise Epp Design
Find her at!
Twitter handle: @EliseEpp
1. Tell us a bit about your business.
I'm a graphic designer and I create visual branding for ethical fashion and indie sewing brands. Visual branding starts with the logo and extends to all other visual areas of a business, from business cards to packaging and beyond. I make sure that brands have a cohesive look in everything they do.
2. How did you get into that industry field and get your business started?
I was a musician looking for a more stable but still creative parallel career, so I started taking design classes at OCADU. I ended up falling so completely in love with design that I decided to focus on it entirely! After taking courses, reading lots of books on colour theory and type setting and design history, and a year of practicing using my friends and family as clients, I started freelancing.
3. What do you love most about your job?
I love that my job is a blend of really creative work (like generating ideas for a logo) and strategic work (like digging into who your ideal customer is) and nit-picky work (like knowing the difference between quotation marks and prime symbols, used to indicate inches and other mathy things). In school my best subjects were always English and math, which is an odd mix of right
and left brain. Graphic design lets me use both!
4. What are you most excited for going forward? Any new projects on the horizon?
I used to work with creatives in general, but I am focusing more and more on working just with people in the ethical fashion world (and I include the sewing world in that). It's something I'm very passionate about, but also I don't feel that the world needs me to open another shop. There are so many people much better suited to that than I am! So I support the movement by helping those businesses succeed. This past year I've worked with several brands brands I've admired for years and supported before there was any idea of working with them. I'm excited to do more of that
5. If you could go for brunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
The act of picking one makes me feel awful for leaving so many people out, but I'm gonna go with Stacy London of What Not to Wear fame. That show was a fascinating look into fashion psychology – how deeply connected what we wear is to who we are and how we feel about ourselves. Even if you aren't into fashion, you make choices about what you put on your body. Those choices say things about you, whether you are aware of it or not! I've listened to some recent interviews with Stacy London and her thoughts on fashion and what people wear have evolved in a really interesting way. She's much less rule-focused than she was as a host, and she had spinal surgery a few years ago which changed her like any big life event does.
6. Who is a fellow Winnipeg-based entrepreneur/creative professional you admire and why?
It's hard to pick just one! But I'm gonna go with Karyn Astleford, the woman behind Siggi Clothier, a Winnipeg-made line of kids' clothes (and now womenswear!). She is such a genuine and caring and creative and hilarious person, and she brings all that to her business. She is dedicated to slow fashion and feminism and to un-gendering kids' clothes so that kids can just wear whatever they're comfortable in.
Thank you so much, Elise! We wish you all the best in the future.
Sara + Kyla