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!