Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Member Feature: Cathy (GlassEtc/PhoFun)

Featured: glassetc
Interviewed by: Hoganfe

Cathy of glassetc is a San Diego based stained glass artist. If you are looking for something unusual you are in the right shop - plant stakes, business card holders also mosaic frames, mirrors, suncatchers, and more!

How did you get started on Etsy?
I actually got started on etsy at the recommendation of my brother who is also on Etsy. I remember thinking that it would be too hard to figure out how to open up a shop and was quite surprised by how simple it really was!

What's your favorite part of being a shop owner on Etsy?
My favorite part of being an etsy shop owner is getting feedback on my work from all over the world and the excitement of making sales! Also being a part of our lovely team, of course!!

What challenges have you faced during the process?
I was frustrated at first when it took a couple of months to make my first sale and then it was still quite slow for some time after that (and during certain periods). Of course it didn't help that we had the worst recession that we have ever seen in our lifetimes. It also takes a while to figure out the ins and outs of etsy and what it takes to make something happen (when to list, how often, etc). I think we are all still learning and trying to keep up with the merchandising themes and new improvements!

What inspires you?
I am inspired by so many things!! I am most creative when I am in the middle of a project or two and then I have too many ideas and have to keep a journal because I need to focus on the projects at hand. I think creativity begets creativity! When I have a creative dilemma I go to my yoga class and by then end of the class I have the solution!

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
By day I am a school psychologist but I have worked part time for many years so I still have time to create (and I have summers off!!) My interest in art began as a young child when I watched my mom paint from my playpen. She has a little etsy shop now too!

What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
My advice for a new etsy artist would be to offer something original, different, and better than what you see in the category that you are selling. I also try to slightly undercut the prices of other sellers. Other than that it's important to list frequently and network with others (facebook, twitter, etc). It was my lucky day when Tara invited me to join our team!

Is there anything you would like to share in your feature?
In case anyone is interested I have been married 25 years and have three kids (23, 20, and 14 years old). I have lived in sunny San Diego for more than 30 years and prior to that moved around a lot because I was an Air Force brat (which included living in six different states, going to Kindergarten in Tripoli, Libya, and later teaching high school in Tehran, Iran. )

Check out Cathy's other shop (phofun) for cards, t-shirts and paper goods.

Follow Cathy on her blog, too!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Member Feature: Marsha and Katie (EdensWake)

Featured: EdensWake
Interview by: Hoganfe

Did you know that the lovely shop, EdensWake is a mother and daughter collaboration? Marsha and Katie enjoy the Arkansas countryside and creating beautiful handbags, clutches and brooches.

When you stop by their Etsy shop you will the see the attention to detail as well as the variety and gorgeous color choices!

How did you get started on Etsy?
I actually heard about Etsy the first two times within just a few days. First, Martha Stewart had someone on her show that had an Etsy shop - no idea who it was b/c their particular items didn‘t interest me that much, but I thought the idea of Etsy sounded really cool and made a mental note to check it out. The second time was from my sister just a few days later; turns out she had opened a shop on Etsy (rocketsciencestyle) a couple of months before and was loving it. After that second time of hearing about it, I went and checked it out and fell in love! I immediately opened up a buying account and started making purchases of some awesome handmade stuff. :)

Several months (and many purchases) later, my mom and I decided to open a show...EdensWake!

What's your favorite part of being a shop owner on Etsy?
Hmmm…specifically to Etsy, it’s probably the opportunity it gives you to get to know so many people that are doing the same thing as you - trying to be successful at doing something they love. I’ve gotten friendly with a variety of sellers over the last year and a half that w/o Etsy I never would have encountered, and that’s been awesome. Also, it’s just incredibly awesome to log on and have a convo from a customer telling you how much they loved whatever item they bought from you - rather it’s a bride who is thrilled with the $300 clutch set she bought from you, or someone who bought a $15 pouch…it’s all equally encouraging and cool to have someone take the time to write you how much they loved your work!

What inspires you?
People inspire me. People who are talented, who work hard, and are actually succeeding at what they love to do, whatever that is. That’s such an awesome thing to me - and people who have done things like “quit their day job”, and are taking risks in going after their passion. I find it very courageous, and it inspires and encourages me to go after what I want.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I’ve always been an avid reader - I find it so incredibly relaxing to just zone out with a book, and become completely wrapped up in whatever world I’m reading about. This summer I’ve gotten into vegetable gardening, so I spend a fair amount of time in the garden every morning - most days I wake up, put sunscreen on and wait the mandatory 20-30 minutes for it to fully absorb, and then am out in the garden for an hour or two. I’m a dog lover, we have four dogs (we live way out in the country, and dogs get dumped out here a lot, so that’s where they all came from!), and I adore playing with them, and going out for hikes with them.

What first made you want to become an artist?
I don’t know if I ever decided I wanted to be an artist, exactly…I was always into writing as a kid (and ended up as an English major in college), did things like write the plays for competitions our gifted and talented program was involved in, and write tons of short stories. In college I fell for pottery, I took a ceramics class, and that was such a great way to relax. Late in the evenings after a long day, it was so great to go in the ceramics lab, put a cd on, and just create. Creating in general is just a really cool thing - it’s such a great way to clear the mind, to become totally focused on whatever you’re doing. With bag making, it just sort of happened. I like bags, I like sewing, I like sketching out ideas and turning those ideas into patterns, and I even really enjoy cutting fabric and ironing. My mom and I made some bags for ourselves and friends/fam, and ended up deciding it would be cool to open up a shop and start selling some. It quickly became something we truly loved, and that’s where I’m at now.

What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Definitely try to build relationships with other sellers on Etsy…join a team, participate in the forums, etc. The advice/council/support of people who are experienced on Etsy, and dealing with the same things you are dealing with, is invaluable.

Visit EdensWake Etsy Shop!