Q. How did you get started crafting? Did anyone in particular influence you or get you started?
A. Actually my children inspired me! I first started learning to sew about 2 years ago because my son was in cloth diapers and I thought...hmm how hard can it be to make cute cloth wipes? Hah! Famous last words!! I couldn't stop myself once I started! All the cute fabric, cute patterns, ideas...oh...I couldn't stop myself!
Q. What are your favourite items to make? Why? What are the most challenging to make, and why?
A. Favorite items: my stuffed rocket ships! They are just so fun and I started making them after being inspired by a similar item I saw online. I made one for my son and then kept going with other prints. He wants to keep every one I make!
Most challenging? CLOTHING! I HATE to sew clothing!! I just despise trying to get it all to fit just so...ugh! I'd rather sew a fun toy any day!
Q. What is your favourite part of having a shop on Etsy? Why?
A. Meeting new people! I have met some fabulous people through Etsy and the online handmade world. It even caused me to create Handmade Louisiana, a group for artisans in and around LA. www.handmadelouisiana.com is our website. I've made some pretty awesome "in real life" friends through Etsy and I am grateful for that!
Q. What are you doing when you are not crafting during the day?
A. For 10 months out of the year I work in the social services field with a local non profit. I'm also a mommy to two boys, one with Autism, so my days are quite full! :)
Q. What have been your most effective methods to promote yourself on Etsy? What tips do you have for new sellers?
A. I think I've tried it all, and really it's different for everyone. I completely realize that there is probably nothing I make that someone else couldn't, or doesn't already make. So I don't worry about that...I worry about just making my items the best I can and having FUN. If they sell, fabulous. If not, I want to ENJOY doing them. I will not make things I hate to do. If there is something in my shop that there is only one of, or I sell it and never relist is...chances are I HATED creating it and I drew no source of FUN from it!!
For new sellers, just do what you love. You cannot realistically 'quit your day job' from selling on Etsy. Very few sellers really can do that. Etsy is just like any other small biz, there are legal headaches, responsibilities, taxes, etc and it can get to be quite a lot. Do what you can yourself, turn over other things to professionals and don't be afraid to take a break when need be.
I recently put my soap shop on vacation but it was just too much. Soap is a huge competition and it was no longer FUN to make soap. I hope taking the summer off and coming back with my Saints soaps will be enough to make me happy in the fall, soapy wise :)
Never be afraid to fail and get criticism. I've made items that I thought would be AWESOME---and then BOMBED. NO ONE bought. So I learned a valuable lesson...not everyone thinks what I think is awesome! :)