Monday, June 24, 2013

Craft Fair, Shop Revamp, Mailing List, Personal Updates

Hello all!! I know.. it's been a while..
I'll start with a basic update on where I've been. For those who don't know, I've been having a lot of really painful internal medical issues. Well it's just gotten a lot worse and I am seeing a specialist and had endoscopies and a colonoscopy.
Went to a craft fair this month, hoping to go to more soon! Here's a picture of my booth
(That's me in the middle, my best friend Brian on the right and my friend Potter is taking the picture)
My shop will be undergoing a serious revamp! Adding a TON of new items, re-doing my sections. I'm SUPER excited about this! In addition to this new shop set-up and additions I'm also announcing my new newsletter!
You can subscribe on the right side of the window!  -------->
Thanks so much for reading! Also ONLY ONE WEEK LEFT ON MY SHOPWIDE SALE!!!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Feature Friday Spotlight on Le Animale

I found todays artisan on the front page of Etsy one day and HAD to look at her shop, when I did I saw all of the amazing animals she created! All unique, all beautiful and all handmade! When you see her creations you’ll really appreciate the fact that they are hand made because of their significantly small size. It takes an incredible amount of time and an amazing eye for detail to make these clay masterpieces! Enjoy!

Give us a short bio:
My name is Laura. I'm an ever-curious artist currently sculpting tiny animals full time. It's wonderful. I have an eye for details and a passion for creating and exploring new places and new things. I live happily ever after with my awesome computer-genius boyfriend and two sweet but completely polar opposite dogs.

What inspired you to start your business?
My love of animals, miniatures, collections, and gift shops.

(This looks just like my Munchkin, lol!!)  =D

What inspires your creative process?
Everything. I'm inspired by the process itself and by refining my techniques and keeping things fresh. And animals, and colors, and unusualness.

What is your favorite thing you’ve made and why?
Always a difficult question, but my favorite thing I've made recently is this:
One is because it's a genet and genets are so neat. Two is that it's the first of a new collection I am working on called 'sketchbook'. My favorite medium for the longest time was pencil and now I've combined that medium with my current work into something super fun and unique. You'll find more sketchbook totems this fall. :)

What advice do you have for other people who want to start or grow their Etsy shop?
1) Create something awesome. Doesn't have to be a revolutionary idea, but make sure whatever it is has a unique spin that jives with you and what you like.
2) Take beautiful pictures of the awesome you create.
3) Be consistent and make/post new awesomeness regularly.
4) Mingle with other artists and bloggers and get the word out about all the awesome you've made!

Thank you Laura for sharing with us and for making such wonderful clay animals! Please visit her shop Le Animale on Etsy and take home one of her masterpieces today!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Celebrity Tips Thursday

 Todays Celebrity Tip comes from Buffy's Xander!

So start reading Buffy Season 8! That's what I will be doing! ;P

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spotlight on Sisters Dreams

     Of all of the spotlights I have done so far, this one touched me more than any other. 
    Sisters Dreams shop has such adorable, handmade stuffed animals I really wanted to spotlight them on my blog and to my delight, they agreed! When I received their interview it made me cry and I IMMEDIATELY had to call my big sister.. 
     So for this spotlight I won’t make a lengthy intro because it is not needed.

Once upon a time in a small town of Western Ukraine lived three little girls - three sisters Victoria, Valeria and Sandra.

For their play times they made rag dolls and doll's clothes. When they grew older and became young ladies, they made little bags and purses for their make-up, and other things for their home and interior.

Now these girls turned into young women. One evening when they were having a cup of tea together they started to reflect on their childhood and the dolls that they used to make and the idea to open a shop of hand crafted things was born.

If you are wandering what inspires us, it's the actual creation of handmade things. Every single item we create is made with lots of love and attention to smallest detail. Each product is personally designed by us.

It gives us great pleasure, when visitors to our shop like our products. We want to draw your attention to a most popular item in our shop: 

And for those who want to start their own shop on Etsy - go ahead and create what you love. Sisters Dreams

I hope that this touched you as much as it did me.. Please visit their shop, I promise you will find all of the sisterly love that was displayed in this interview in each and every one of their handcrafted items.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spotlight on Jen's Tangled Threads

Today we meet Jen of Jen’s Tangled Threads. She makes all sorts of things from crocheting but she makes one thing that is so cool, you’ll be scrambling to her shop to get your own! But more on that later..
I give you:

(Doctor Who epicness!!!!!!)

I'm a single mom, with the sweetest son any mom could want. He's a dancer, which led me to my Flip-Furs.More on that later. I'm a paralegal by day, which can be very stressful.

After my divorce, I moved back home. I was always the type who couldn't just sit in front of the tv or at the movies. I have to be doing something with my hands. I learned how to cross-stitch, but I'm not enough of an artist to be able to make my own patterns.

I learned to crochet because of a book series. I'm one of the biggest geeks you will ever meet. I read this one series, The Wheel of Time. The women in this series have these elaborate shawls, vine and leaf and flower embroidered. I wanted one, but I didn't have the patience to learn to sew from my mom. So, I learned to crochet and within a few weeks I was making my first lace shawl. 

(My boyfriend and I love that series! I love this shawl too!)

I opened my Etsy shop to sell these shawls, which was a bad idea. They are geared towards a very specific clientele, which wasn't going to help me sell them. So I left the shop for a long time. I kept crocheting, finding different things to make.

As I said before, my son is a dancer. He has been competing for 4 years, and will start his 5th year in the fall. We go to these competitions at different venues and I see these girls walking around these arenas and schools with little to nothing on their feet. They go into the bathrooms this way. I'm a bit of a germaphobe, so this just makes me ill. The girls my son dances with often have half-ballet shoes on (leaving the heels bare) or have full-footed tights, so thong flip-flops are out of the question. I thought about the sandals a lot of the baseball players or soccer players wear so they don't ruin their cleats. And the girls wouldn't wear them unless they were 'girlie"
(I competed before my hip injury, I can atest to this. I wish I had had something cute to wear over my lyrical shoes, or foot thongs as we called them)

So, I created the Flip-Fur, which is the love child between a slipper and a flip-flop. They are an indoor shoe, but they are furry and fun. The Flip-Fur is completely customizable, from the colors, to the size to what gets put on the bottom. I use a super secret product (puffy paint) to make them non-slippery, because we can't have dancers having accidents with them on.

(Aren't these AWESOME!!!!!!)

What inspires my creative process? Need. I started making the Flip-Furs in the colors of my son's dance studio, then started making them in other colors. Whatever looks good. I will be working this fall on NFL team inspired Flip-Furs and Hockey, and Baseball. Any team, I can make a color palette for them.

My favorite thing I have made. I will have to wait until I get home to send you the image for this. I made a shawl for the book series that I have hanging in my apartment. Also, my favorite team is the Green Bay Packers, so I was rather proud to make a color scheme for them.

Advice for other Etsians? If you don't know how to do something, either ask someone how to do it, or pay someone to do it. I'm not a graphic designer by any means. I had an idea for my shop banner, and I paid someone to do it here on Etsy. I didn't know or understand how to do SEO and product descriptions that would bring me traffic, so I paid someone to do 5 product descriptions for me. I use those 5 in nearly every product I have. But, do your research. Look for those sellers who have the experience and who have positive feedback.

Etsy is changing. Sellers are frustrated because their products aren't being found. Find something you can make really well. Something unique. Yes, you can find a lot of crocheted and knitted and felted slippers out there. But mine have eyelash yarn, and you can have your name written on the bottom. They are inexpensive for a custom made product. If I can find the color you want, I will make your Flip-furs.

Don't sell yourself short just to get sales. Use good quality materials, and make sure you charge for your time. Your time is important. I will never be able to quit my day job and just make flip-furs. Not unless I charge $100 a pair and sell at least 2 pairs a day. But people aren't going to buy them for $100 a pair unless I use baby alpaca yarn (which is very expensive) and have gel insoles (which are also expensive). So I compromised, but I made sure my time is paid for. I'm happy with the price I have now. If I get very popular, I might raise the price again.

Have fun. If you aren't having fun crafting or making things, why are you doing it?

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Jen and her fabulous Flip-Furs! Want a pair of your own now, I thought you would! Here’s the link to her shop, go get them! =)

I want these so bad! But in purple and black, lol! =)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spotlight on TEEsox by Teri

Today’s spotlight is on a very creative woman by the name of Teri. She’s new to Etsy but I know she will go far! Teri makes the cutest quirky animals from recycling, you guessed it, socks and tee shirts. Bunnies, cats, horses and mice, all with a funky, colorful spin!
There are really no words to describe her adorable creations so this will be a very short intro. Here are the TEEsox!

What did I tell you? Words can’t begin to describe the cuteness!

From the creator:
I just started my "TEEsox" business this year and am having so much fun with it. TEEsox are hand stitched animals made from all vintage and recycled materials. The bodies are made primarily from socks and t-shirts. The clothes are made from vintage, antique and up-cycled clothing. My best sellers are the super-heros! They are all one of a kind and made to be imperfect and whimsical--that is what gives them so much personality!

(The grey mouse is my favorite!!)

I was initially inspired by my daughter's friend, who made herself a primitive sock monkey. It looked so fun, I made my own version initially making them as gifts. With the encouragement of friends, it quickly blossomed into a small business. I am now selling them on Etsy, have had them in several shops and have participated in shows. My favorite thing to do is special orders. I have done client's favorite baseball players, super heroes with their initial on the front, or animals dressed in heirloom lace and linens.

I worked for many years as a Medical Social Worker, until both my daughters and I started getting symptomatic from what was eventually diagnosed as Lyme Disease. It has been a long battle these last 8 years, so this new business has been a blessing. I am doing something I love, from the comfort of my home, when I feel good enough to do it. Art is very therapeutic to me and doing something that others enjoy so much is an added benefit.

They are truly art for all ages!

Such an inspirational story, and precious animals anyone is sure to love! They would make great gifts, if you could bear to part with them after holding them and seeing their adorable faces!
Check out her shop, maybe order your own superhero!

The goth one makes me smile! And as a ballerina I really want the kitty! =)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Spotlight on Kim Gilbert

People who work with wood have always impressed me. Today we spotlight Kim Gilbert, a master (or mistress, rather) of the humorous wooden sign! Fun and funky colors, sweet sentiments and side-splitting satire, you will find all of these things in Kim’s shop.
I hope you will find this interview as fun and entertaining as I did!

Give us a short bio
I am an only child. Spoiled…yes, Rotten…not so much! When I was young I was always making things, creating and writing stories. I used to write little plays and perform them for the neighborhood kids. Then I grew up, got married and started a family. I took a painting class and the rest is history! It really is a passion and I love the whole process. I even enjoy going to the hardware store to get supplies!

(I hope you get this reference! I LOVE this book, my grandma used to read it to me.)

What inspired you to start your business?
I was taking a “painting class” with a friend. The class was really a social group where we would meet once a week and work on a project. After the project we would go out to lunch and maybe do a little shopping; it was an all day event. My friend and I got the idea of doing a local craft show and we had a great time. During the show a woman who owned a local gift/craft shop asked if I would like to consign my items in her shop. I put a few things in the store and was thrilled when they sold. So before long, I was in three shops and had a full time job!

What inspires your creative process?
Over the years I painted on everything imaginable. Wood, glass, candles, tile, palm fronds, and just about anything that was stationary I had to give a try. After all that experimentation, I focused in on signs, Holiday items and ornaments. When it comes to signs I am drawn to sayings and quotes that are funny. I guess I have a quirky sense of humor and I love to laugh. When I see or hear something that is funny I always think “hmm…I wonder if I could make that into a sign!” I also have a VERY supportive family that shares things they’ve seen and heard that might be sign potential.

(I LOVE this one! One of my personal favorites!!)

Another and very important thing that gives me inspiration is positive feedback and sales. I am very motivated, but having people like and comment on something I have made is very rewarding. Even after 20 years, I still feel the same sense of joy when something sells as I did when I participated in my first craft show.

What is your favorite thing you’ve made and why?
This is an easy question to answer. For the simple reason that this heart shaped sign represents such a happy day for our family.

What advice do you have for other people who want to start or grow their Etsy shop?
There are several important things. The first is your pictures which I don’t think can be emphasized enough. The expression “You only have one chance to make a first impression” is so true with your Etsy shop. Clear pictures taken in natural light is my goal and it is important that the background not compete with what you are trying to sell. The other thing to keep in mind is how your picture looks in a search. Sometimes the picture only shows part of the item so I recommend doing an Etsy search and looking at the pictures that come up on several pages. Take note to what items draw your attention. You want shoppers to like what they see from that first glimpse so that they want to click on your item.

Second, read what is being said in the forums, look at other shops and then jump in full steam! After I had my shop open for awhile I read that it was good to have a critique team member evaluate your shop, which I highly recommend. I was given such great suggestions on how to improve my shop, one of which was to improve on some of my pictures. It was great to have someone look things over and give me some insight.

So to sum it up, pictures, forums, critiques and last but not least- Enjoy!

Thanks so much Kim for sharing your story and your fabulous work with us! Go visit her shop to see more and get one of her fun signs for your very own!