Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Member Feature: Amanda (DawnCorrespondence)

Featured: DawnCorrespondence
Interview by: MySelvagedLife

How did you get started in stationery?
In college, I was a graphic design major, so I always had friends wanting me to design wedding invitations, thank you cards, etc. After college, I decided to take some time off from working full-time and figure out what I wanted to do. That's when my love of stationery really expanded, and I found myself creating all day every day!

What was your background in prior to stationery?
Prior to stationery, I was still in the design field. I designed magazine spreads and publications, but wasn't all that interested in the "politics" that come along with working in corporate design. I also dabbled in interior design for a little while, but realized I liked working more with smaller materials than a large space. I was also a real estate agent for a couple of years. That was fun because I got to meet all sorts of people and loved seeing how they decorated their houses. It was not nearly as creative as I would like to be, though.

How did you first get started on Etsy?
I don't even remember! I think I heard about Etsy through a friend and checked it out one day. It seemed cool, but I still wasn't sure what it was, so I created an account and looked around the site for about a year before even listing my own products! Now, though, I don't know what I would do without Etsy and the wonderful community and friends I've gained from it.

What is your favorite part of being a shop owner on Etsy?
Just one?? Well, my two top favorites are the friendships I've made, and being able to work on my own schedule. I don't have to worry about having a storefront open from 9-5 or dressing up to meet customers in person. It's nice to be comfortable in my own home, doing what I love, and still making great relationships and feeling like I am part of a community. Oh, also, along those lines, it is really fun to "meet" international customers and sellers and learn about places and lifestyles I would have otherwise never known about.

What is your least favorite part of being a shop owner on Etsy?
Hmm...I can't think of anything off the top of my head! I guess one of my least favorite things would be all the competition there is. There are so many incredibly talented artists on Etsy, sometimes it gets exhausting to keep up! However, I think that can be seen as a good thing, because when I am on Etsy as a buyer, I love seeing all the talent out there, and having lots of choices to purchase!

What challenges have you faced during the process?
I went through a growing pain at one point where my business on Etsy was really expanding. It was great, and I loved it, but at the same time I'm not sure I was mentally prepared for it. I didn't have a good schedule set yet, which I really should have had in place before trying to get more sales. Luckily, it was also a good learning experience for me, because it forced me to create a system and I schedule that I could work within.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by SO many things. My mood is often an inspiration. Nature. Architecture. Traveling. Also, I find that long trips where I am in the car for a long period of time is really where I get some great ideas. I just let my mind wander. The only problem is, if I am driving, I have to remember everything and quickly right it down when I am able to stop!

Describe your average day in one word:

Describe your style in one word:

What is your favorite season?
I love both Spring and Fall. I love how both seasons reflect change and growth. There's just something about both of those seasons that is inspiring and uplifting.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I love to cook (though my fiance is much better at it than me and normally has to take over halfway through), write, paint, and make lists. And make lists of lists. I really enjoy a good book every now and then but don't have the time nor the patience to sit and read anymore!

What advice would you give to sellers new to Etsy?
Make sure you love it. You have to love your craft in order to make Etsy work for you. You need to sell on Etsy for YOU, not for anyone else, and not for the money. Because, ultimately, if you don't love what you do, than you won't succeed. Also, find a community or group of other Etsy sellers that you can build a relationship with. This will help make Etsy not feel so overwhelming, and will give you someone to bounce ideas and advice off of. Last thing: When it gets to the point where it's not fun, take a break for a while and come back refreshed and ready to go!

Visit Amanda's Etsy Shop!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Member Feature: Robin (TheFancyLamb)

Featured: TheFancyLamb
Interviewed by: MySelvagedLife

How did you get started collecting and selling vintage?
It actually happened in a bit of a roundabout and unexpected fashion, and it all began with a foray into the world of handmade. I was feeling incredibly unfulfilled in my boring 9 to 5 job where I sat in front of the computer all day, and I was having strong urges to MAKE something with my own hands. I started doing some sewing and crafting, and had plenty of other ideas in my head, but I was finding myself drawn to unique materials that had character and history. Feeling no inspiration from the craft store on the corner, I started going to estate sales and looking for vintage materials to use in my crafts: vintage fabrics, buttons, old books to turn into journals, paper ephemera for collaging, and all types of other goodies. And in my treasure hunts, I was coming across so many amazing items that weren't suitable for repurposing, but I couldn't stand to leave behind. So I started picking up some cool and unique things here and there, tried my hand at selling them on Etsy, and it really took off. Now, my vintage business keeps me so busy that I have very little time for my handmade lines, but I've discovered how much I really enjoy selling vintage, so it's okay. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.

What was your background in prior to vintage?
Pretty typical and boring -- working a 9-5 job in the Human Resources field. After getting laid off, I couldn't bear the thought of going back to another "real" job, so I decided to pursue The Fancy Lamb full-time.

How did you first get started on Etsy?
I think I started backwards compared to most people. I had been feeling these strong crafty urges and making a few things here and there, and then I heard about a local craft show focused on eco-friendly indie-style crafts. It seemed like the perfect fit for the repurposed vintage crafts I had been toying with, and it was just the kick in the pants I needed to get cracking. I cranked out a massive amount of inventory in preparation for the show, and when it was all over, I decided to try listing some of my leftover stock on Etsy. I had my first sale just a day later, and well...the rest is history.

What is your favorite part of being a shop owner on Etsy?
I find it incredibly rewarding to be a small business owner, with full control over my own destiny. I fully believe that if it weren't for Etsy, I would not have had the platform to build and grow my own small business. Not to mention all the wonderful friends I've had the opportunity to meet and learn from. THANK YOU ETSY!

What is your least favorite part of being a shop owner on Etsy?
Other than some administrative headaches, I seriously have no major complaints. I love Etsy!

What challenges have you faced during the process?
My biggest personal challenge has been finding the discipline to keep myself focused and task-oriented. I have to constantly keep myself on track day-by-day and minute-by-minute, because that's the only way that I'll ever achieve the bigger successes I strive for. I've had to create a lot of structure for myself because without a boss looking over your shoulder, it's really easy to burn the day away chatting with friends on Twitter, making a bajillion treasuries, or lurking in the always-entertaining Etsy forums. But business has to come first.

What inspires you?
History. I love thinking about who might have used one of my vintage cameras and what types of photos they took. Or what travels a vintage suitcase went on in its heyday. Who might have worn a fantastic vintage dress and what romantic rendezvous it experienced. It's so fun to imagine the past!

Describe your average day in one word

Describe your style in one word

What is your favorite season?
Fall, before it gets too cold.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I like spending time with my family, seeing live music, and eating sushi. I like taking naps, cooking fancy breakfasts, and driving with the windows down. My 3 dogs are my partners in crime, and my husband is my best friend. Life is good!

What advice would you give to sellers new to Etsy?
Make friends with other people in the Etsy community. Find your niche, develop your own style, and run with it. Help others out and karma will take care of you in return. Enjoy every minute!

Visit TheFancyLamb's Etsy Shop!