Denise Quesnel is a filmmaker and the co-owner of Horse Fly Studios Inc. Her company made the film “The Velveteen Rabbit,” and has now created products to go along with the film. She’s experimenting with using a new crowd-funding site called Kickstarter to handle pre-orders for the production of the plush toy rabbit to go along with the film.
What inspired you to start your company?
I started considering being an entrepreneur while I was still in school, and ended up forming my company Horse Fly Studios Inc. during my last year there. As I was completing “The Velveteen Rabbit” film I opened two businesses, one in which I am a film editing freelancer, and Horse Fly Studios Inc. I formed as a result of the very successful run “The Velveteen Rabbit” film at had children’s film festivals around the world. I was inspired by the idea that you can create your own opportunities.
What is your company all about?
Horse Fly Studios Inc. is responsible for the full completion of “The Velveteen Rabbit Collection”, the DigiBook, e-Book and plush toy. Having started with the film, I was getting more requests for Velveteen Rabbit-related products. My partner, Daniel, is a designer and we worked together with local artists to complete all design and artwork for the collection. This is the first full series of products from the company.
What’s your vision for your company?
Horse Fly Studios Inc. ultimately works as the distribution of creative efforts. The vision I see with the company is that we balance the artistic nature of our work with the business side of launching products. It is really important to me to remain an independent boutique so that I can maintain the creative integrity of the work. As it grows, I envision the company increasing its commitment to not-for-profits.
What excites you about what you’re doing?
The most exciting thing is being able to direct my creative energy at something productive that I can stay passionate about. I am excited from a business standpoint that every day different opportunities appear. Artists often find business matters difficult and, in the past, relied heavily on government grants. Now with new outlets such as crowd funding websites being developed, it opens the doors for so many artisans and entrepreneurs. I am trying to use these outlets to test markets without the traditional risk.
What are some early examples of success?
The response from “The Velveteen Rabbit” at film festivals was overwhelmingly positive. It was nominated for awards and KidsFirst! (the largest children’s media outlet in North America) approached me with the idea of showing the film at libraries, schools, and children’s museums. Emails started coming in asking us if we had a book or toy to accompany the film.
Are there any charities or organizations you’re involved in?
Horse Fly Studios Inc has worked extensively in animal welfare since the beginning. I used rabbits from rescues on the film set as animal actors and got to know the people and animals behind the rescues. In December 2010, we auctioned an autographed DigiBook with 100 per cent of the proceeds towards the University of Victoria’s rabbit rescue efforts. With the plush toy, a percentage of proceeds goes directly into a fund towards helping injured and ill small animals get treatment and homes.
This article was previously published on VancouverMom.ca