I am Margaux Wosk, creator of Retrophiliac. I am a self-taught artist and designer from Vancouver. I am Autistic and I design many different items. Pins, Patches, Stickers, Keychains and much more. My items focus on Disability, Neurodiversity, Autism and some have more of a retro or vintage theme. I utilize my online store to showcase what Autistic people are capable of and it helps me to break down barriers and stigmas. I fight for disabled small-business owners to have resources and grants available to us as there is currently nothing. It’s also Autism Acceptance Month in April and I run Made by Autistics Marketplace on Facebook to help facilitate money going directly into the pockets of Autistic people. Select items can be found in and around the lower mainland at Make, Slice of Life, Glory Days in Mintage Mall and Local Nook as well as my online store.
What is your business called and what does it do?
My business is called Retrophiliac. I sell Pins, Patches, Stickers, Keychains and much more. My items focus on Disability, Neurodiversity, Autism and some have more of a retro or vintage theme.
What made you want to do this work?
Being Autistic, It’s incredibly hard for me to find employment that works with my specific sensory needs. I had to create my business out of necessity. It has also been a dream of mine to design enamel pins. I have loved the idea of running my own business for my entire life. I want to showcase what Autistic people can do and I also fight for disabled and Autistic small-business owners and self-employed people to be included in the conversation about disability and employment. As it stands, Disability employment month is in September and self-employed people are left out of the conversation. Over 4 million dollars was given to organizations that hire disabled people, but not a cent was invested in programs or grants for those who are self-employed (and I was told they’re not allowed to use it on that from the head of Small Business BC)
What problem did you want to solve with the business?
With Retrophiliac, I wanted to give people classy and beautiful items that would help them express themselves without shame. I wanted to be able to facilitate self-expression and Autistic Joy. These items didn’t exist before I created them, or at least in the way I wanted, so I decided I’d take it upon myself to make that happen. I believe I’m the only person in Canada doing these specific types of items.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
Honestly, it seems to be everyone. Children flock to my bright stickers, I’ve sold to parents, teachers, Autistic people, men, women – everybody!
How does your business make money? How does it work?
I design merchandise, I order it and I sell it online. I keep some of the proceeds and I also reinvest to get more items created.
Where in the city can we find your profession?
I am located in Vancouver, but I’m mainly online
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.
I don’t think there’s much to compare. I’m one of the only people doing this locally. I don’t do custom items, however – which gets asked a lot. I do sometimes offer Wholesale/Commission/Consignment if the quantity is enough.
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part about what I do is seeing the joy that my customers share with me. They often post pictures or videos on social media and are so happy when their items arrive. To know that I’m part of that means the world to me.
The worst part? Finances, numbers. As someone who has struggled with math their entire life, it is hard. This is part of the reason why I fight for more resources because the help I need is NOT the help I’m getting, I’m not getting any help from anybody and I have called around and asked.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?
Moonstone in Burnaby – run by my friend Ava. Also, my sister is WoskDesigns on Etsy.