For sisters Kimberly and Anne Ibasco, creativity is something that flows within them and between them.
Currently living in and working out of Surrey, BC, Kimberly and Anne - also known as Flux + Folk - are two young, creative women and entrepreneurs, who turned their hobby into a business and their talent into something that brings happiness to others, including myself.
An owner of some of their pieces myself, I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Kimberly and Anne to learn a little bit more about how Flux + Folk came to be, what fuels their creative fires, and what's next for them.
This was how the conversation started between the two sisters.
"We always had this idea of starting some kind of store, and we threw the idea back and forth between each other," Kimberly said. "We wanted to start it to sell our clothes. I think the conversation started with me telling Anne, 'Hey Anne, we need to sell these clothes because we have way too much!'"
And so it began: the Ibasco sisters began selling their clothes on Instagram as a way to shrink down their closet while also doing their best to not be wasteful.
Around the same time, Kimberly had recently made a trip to Michaels (an arts and craft store) and bought some card stock. Feeling inspired, Kimberly created some typography pieces and also placed them up on their Instagram store - just to test it out.
Little did they know that these pieces would eventually become their signature trademark - minimalist, monochromatic pieces with dreamy script, simple illustrations, and any quote that you can think of.
With over 1,000 followers on Instagram and a thriving audience on their website, Flux + Folk is taking their world by storm, all through the power of creativity.
When it came to choosing a name, Kim and Anne had a simple criterion: a noun plus a noun.
"We sat down and made a list of words that we really liked," Kim said.
While that part was simple enough, they were looking to find a name that would be fuelled with meaning. The importance of their name and the identity that would come with it was not taken lightly. The Ibasco sisters looked for words that they liked and that also had meaning. In the end, you could say that the name Flux + Folk was inspired by the title of a Lights song, "Flux and Flow".
"I liked that title, and I started to work with it. It then evolved into Flux + Folk, which we feel articulates who we are. 'Flux' can be defined as the changing of things around us, and 'folk' are people around us that constantly influence who we are," Kim continued. "It reminds me of this quote by Chuck Palahniuk that I've heard before: 'I am the combined effort of everyone I've ever known.'"
Under one cohesive brand, Flux + Folk was born.
Though each of the pieces are united under the same name, each of the pieces created are one of a kind and reflect each of the Ibasco sisters' unique characteristics.
Anne specializes in illustrations - simple in idea yet intricate in execution. This is especially true for the hand-drawn city skylines, which are very popular when it comes to commissioned pieces. When Anne works, she draws on a number of sources for inspiration: "I use Pinterest a lot. I have a board saved with plenty of art ideas," Anne said with a laugh. "I'm also inspired by the artist Anna Bond (of Rifle Paper Company)."
Anne also enjoys the inspiration that she draws from those who commission art pieces from Flux + Folk. "I have my own ideas, but it's always amazing to work with other people. They see things differently, [and] I get a lot inspiration from that."
Kim draws her inspiration from a very ‘millennial’ source - Instagram. “I follow a lot of creative people, just to get some ideas and get inspired.”
Echoing Anne’s sentiments, Kim also draws inspiration from the people that commission pieces from them. “Everyone that we work with has their own vision, and it gets us to see a piece from a new perspective.”
Kim does a few doodles and illustrations here and there, but is probably best known for her calligraphy and typography. Growing up, it had always been pointed out to her that she had "beautiful handwriting" - her teachers would praise her and her friends would poke fun at it.
Handwriting and character seem to go hand in hand for the Ibasco sisters. Kim described her handwriting as “flowing and fluid”, which she said is also quite accurate for describing herself. Anne’s handwriting, on the hand, is more structured, also reflecting her character quite well.
Despite the fact that they would consider themselves to be different from the other, they both share the same Myers-Briggs personality type INJF or ‘The Advocate". Perhaps this is where the success of Flux + Folk arises: two different people with strong talent sets, combining forces to make up a super brand that charms people of all backgrounds and interests.
I was curious to know the moment when they realized that Flux + Folk was becoming a thing.
Across the table, the Ibasco sisters shared a look and a smile. “It’s still very ‘pinch me, how is this a thing?’ type of feeling I would say,” Kim said. “But I think the moment that people started referring to us [Anne and I] as Flux + Folk in public was that defining point for me. People began to recognize us.”
This triggered a memory for Anne, who was asked point-blank while she was shopping at Lush if she was “that girl from Flux + Folk”: “I ran to tell my family after it happened,” Anne said with a laugh. “It was pretty crazy!”
Anne also noted that since she did a lot of meet-ups while at school, people really began to take notice, including the staff at school. In fact, the school took so much notice that Anne won the Junior Business Award.
“My entire family was there, and all of a sudden I was called up. They were introducing Flux + Folk and described how I was running my own business, which I found funny because I just saw it as an Instagram store!”
As those close to the Ibasco sisters know now, Flux + Folk is more than just an Instagram store.
Along with their Instagram account, Flux + Folk also runs a lifestyle blog that was launched at the same time.
The blog, which both sisters contribute to, features pieces on fashion, music playlists, feel good reads and original poetry, among many other things. It also features different projects and collaborations that Flux and Folk have taken part in, featuring other creatives and creating cool things like pins!
But beyond the prints, Flux + Folk has big dreams to continue growing. “We’ve started thinking about clothes and other materials,” Kim shared. “There are different companies out there where we can retain the art rights while someone else manages production.” There was also the idea to open up their blog to contributions from other creators and further collaborations. Regardless of what they do, Kim stressed that they never wanted to deviate away from the ‘homey, garage sale feel’ that they have come to embody over the years. “We don’t want to become corporate,” Kim said.
And I’m a big supporter of that.
Kimberly and Anne Ibasco are creatives.
They are passionate, driven, and ultimate risk-takers - all for something they love.
Here’s what they had to say about following your dreams and passions:
“After taking Planning 10, I saw so many people freaking out because their minds keep changing. It’s common for you to change your mind! I would encourage people to not be so focused on what society says. Look to your passions and look for something that you find to be fulfilling and self-satisfying. Be attentive to yourself and your interests, and the rest will follow.” - Anne
"Think about how much of a disservice it would be to the world if you didn’t pursue your passion. Just like doctors save lives, artist and creatives can save lives too. I think in this day and age we’re always nervous about what people will say about our decisions and nervous that we’ll regret following these dreams in the future. But if you’re passionate about something, you won’t ever regret it. Just do it!” - Kim
With advice like that, how can you not love them?
As someone who has the fortunate opportunity of knowing Flux + Folk personally, I echo their sentiments of following your passions, and encourage you to check out their blog and follow their Instagram store to check out the pieces that they’re working on and keep tabs on upcoming projects!
Speaking of beautiful and creative women, a special shout out and thank you to Rebecca Lee for these beautiful photos of these lovely ladies! Be sure to check out her blog, The Passion Project!