Five Questions: Etsy Shop LIttle Brown Pen

We're continuing our "Five Questions" series with Nichole Robertson of Etsy shop littlebrownpen.  An established shop on Etsy, you'll enjoy all there is to learn about Nichole + her work in just 5 questions!  No, we can't call her up + meet up for coffee (wish we could!) but we can get to know one another through asking questions.   If you're curious, like we are, you'll want to learn more after reading this feature - well, luckily Martha Stewart has helped us all out on this one!  Read up on Nichole's inspiring feature on Martha Stewart's blog!   But first - scroll down + learn more right here!  Enjoy.

1. Why did you open an Etsy shop?

Originally, our etsy shop was an outlet for my husband's illustrations. When we moved to Paris, I started blogging about our neighborhood adventures, and after a few months people asked me if I would sell photos. I resisted at first, because I considered myself a hobbyist photographer and not a photographer with a capital "P." Eventually, I embraced it and added a few of the color series to the shop. The response was overwhelming and it took off from there. 

I've also been an avid etsy shopper for years. I love the community and the wide range of items for sale. I could surf for hours!

2. What do you think makes your product unique?

There are no eiffel towers! Just kidding. I'm not sure what draws people to the photos, but I think it has something to do with a shared affinity for Paris' details. I love the textures, worn doors, the way the colors pop against the gray backdrop of the buildings and typical Parisian sky. I try to capture uncensored moments that make me happy. I will look up and see charming flowers and go weak in the knees. Or notice a sweet bike leaning up against a door and snap. The moments that make you squeal when you're walking around Paris are the moments I'm interested in shooting. I don't censor them and that's key. If you go out with your camera looking to shoot a particular thing, you'll miss the good stuff. I've learned to just respond to joy with my camera. It's authentic, it's raw and when I look back, I remember everything that made you happy. 

In that sense, what people are really buying is a visual record of walks in Paris. Some people respond to that, others want the eiffel tower. Can you tell I get a lot of requests for the eiffel tower? :) 

3. Describe your studio / creative space.

Our studio functions as a print shop, warehouse and creative space in which to do client work (we're both writers and work with brands and ad agencies). We have wall-to-wall shelves. The left side is dedicated to Little Brown Pen inventory (we print everything in-house) and the right side is dedicated to client stuff - old clips, brochures, ad campaigns I've worked on, etc. It was relatively inexpensive to put together thanks to Ikea! 

4. What are your goals for your Etsy shop in 2012?

We had a very successful 2011, so I'ld be happy with continued growth. I would love to have the time to work on styled shots for the photos and to add some more collections. I'll be heading back to Paris a few times this year, but the color project is finished. We do have a few new projects up our sleeves, but they're only half-baked at the moment and none of them involve photography. Also, "Paris in Color" by Chronicle Books comes out in April, and I'm pretty jazzed about that. I was quite flattered when they approached me last year and I just got my advance copies! 

5. What does a day away from the studio look like?

It usually involves cooking something chocolate, sharing a meal with friends, hanging out with my husband and two sons, or reading by the fire. I am pretty low-key and it doesn't take much to make me happy - you should see me with French butter. 


  1. Wow, Nichole that is so exciting about your book! I love the way you group your photos by color! Great post!

  2. YES!

    Nichole, your photos are timeless. Congrats on the book! And I just discovered your husbands' shop. So cool ; )

  3. I just love all your photos! Congrats on the wonderful book!!!

  4. Nichole congrats on the book!! It's so exciting!

  5. Love your photos! Your book looks amazing! Congrats!

  6. I'm in complete awe, Nichole! Congratulations on all of your success and best wishes on all of your future endeavors!

  7. Love your work, congrats on the book and your wonderful shop ! And that studio is perfection

  8. Lovely feature, your workspace is so spacious and organized. The book looks like it will be a amazing. Congratulations!

  9. Wonderful article, love to hear how it all started! Congrats on the book too - exciting!

  10. Wonderful feature, I can't wait for the book to come out! Congratulations!

  11. Nichole, congratulations ony your publication and best of luck in the future!


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