Thursday, September 30, 2010

Etsy Houston Profiles - Jag & Nevie

I hail from many places from California, Colorado, Arizona, Michigan, but currently Houston, Texas!

I design and make eco-chic clothing and accessories for women and children.  This includes organic t-shirts , skirts, halter & tube tops, bibs, "blankies", purses, jewelry, you name it!  All of them feature applique or hand work with vintage & recycled fabrics.

I have been making things since I was a wee child!
I have slowly built up a shop from the early days of eBay and now sell through boutiques and Etsy.
I prefer to sell online, but I do enjoy doing shows periodically.

My "real" job is as a full-time mommy to Jag & Nevie whom are 8 & 4 respectively.  My artistic side squeezes through the gaps in their daily demands;-)
I am inspired by the drive to just make things.  I HAVE to make things.  I get very excited when I see extraordinary work from other crafters, the big fashion designers, fine artists, and girls that put themselves together in unique ways.  Animals inspire me with their innate elegance and beauty.

I've learned to stick to my creative vision over the years and stop being apologetic for it!  I've learned not to be insulted when something I make doesn't sell or gets negative comments when people see it.  I've learned on Etsy to renew all the time (at different times a day) and that I need to take much better photos - much more "fashion" photos.  I would say one of the most important things for newbies is to try to be able to ship within 2 weeks, minimum.   Also, manage money well so you don't get caught, like I often do, with no available funds to buy raw goods because everything you have is tied up in inventory!  Other than that - just work hard and be proud of what you do!
I also paint, sculpt and love to cook vegetarian food!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Name:  Alejandra

Where are you from? 
The great state of Texas

Where do you live? 
Houston area

What types of things do you make/sell? 
Original paintings, commissioned portraiture, pet portraits, prints, crochet sterling silver and 14kt gold-filled jewelry, upcycled jewelry, and wearable art.

How long have you been crafting?
I would like to say I started when I was a young girl.  My mother and both grandmothers were always creatively crafty ladies, and I remember being so mesmerized by all the different colors and textures, skills and techniques they had fun with (I wish I could sew!).  When I was younger I used to make polymer clay food, figurines, simple pillows, graphite drawings, journals, painted jars.  I studied painting and jewelrymaking in college.  I'm ALWAYS excited to learn new skills and experiment.

When did you decide to open up a shop?
I have been an Etsy fan, buying handmade and oogling all of their eye candy since 2007.  I painted and made jewelry for myself and for friends occasionally, but I didn’t have a shop or anything like that.   Eventually people began to ask me for a business card or asked if I had a website, a price list, etc. and my answer was always, "Oh, sorry, no/not yet…”  A few years later I was inspired by the awesomeness of creative blogs and all the neat stuff Grrfeisty was up to and I was hooked!

Do you prefer to sell your crafts online or in person? Or both?
Both!  I heart the internet and I love observing people’s reactions and comments in person.

Do you have a second job?  If so, what is it? 
I am in the process of becoming an art teacher.

What inspired you to start crafting?
Observing the women in my family, my love for wearing and admiring interesting jewelry, the beauty of handmade multicultural goods and art, and perusing Etsy shops really does it for me!  I am inspired daily. The way a sack of deep saturated yellow turmeric power looks in a photograph, the smell of chopped cilantro, the glow of a pretty faceted glass briolette bead in the daylight, the pattern on someone's blog wallpaper, a crowded little shop filled with handmade ethnic goodies… I must say the power of color and pattern is appealing; it’s so fun to visit neat looking blogs and shops (I can look for hours!). 

Have you learned anything along the way, as far as your business is concerned?
I haven’t been doing this for very long, but I have learned that if you surround yourself with other like-minded people in your community, sharing your gifts, the things you admire and love to do, you will find that it is such a good way to stay informed, inspired, confident, and learn pretty much everything you need to know along the way.  You never stop learning!  Start with baby steps; put one thought into action.  No one is born knowing how everything works or how things will turn out, but once you decide to jump in and begin doing one little thing, you will see how it will all fall into place.

What other hobbies or interests do you have?
I love to prepare food, look at food, smell food, photograph food, share food (and eat it too :)  I think this is connected to many of my other interests because of the strong sensory perception thing that is definitely a source of inspiration for many artists and crafters.  I also love animals, watching indie and foreign movies with my hubby, going to museums of all sorts, and spending time making memories with family and good friends.

Who inspires you?
There are also so many awesome people out there, I can’t begin to name how many people inspire me daily.  Kelly Rae Roberts is one very inspiring lady!  Having a support system of family and friends who encourage you along the way is also important.  But I would really like to thank my best friend Grrfeisty for being the one to inspire me to start it all with a blog J

Do you have any tips to share with newbies?
Be yourself, do + share  what you love, and believe that you have the ability to make awesome stuff happen.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Etsy Houston Profiles - Tina Marie of NY2HoustonStyling

Name:  tinamarie  aka NY2HoustonStyling

Where are you from?  NY

Where do you live? NW Houston

What types of things do you make/sell?  mainly crocheted items, but i like to try my hand at just about anything

How long have you been crafting? seems like forever; since the nuns taught us how to crochet in 8th grade

When did you decide to open up a shop? my husband was after me for years as i was always making and giving away treasures but it wasnt until after quitting 'day job' to care for ill child that i decided to give a craft business a shot

Do you prefer to sell your crafts online or in person? Or both? both - online because it's easy; but in person for the wonderful interactions and new friendships that have emerged.

Do you have a second job?  If so, what is it? haha -- mother of 4 and caretaker of own mother ...  second job that doesnt pay any $, but payment of memories indeed

What inspired you to start crafting? the nuns in catholic grammar school and then later always loving the handmade gicfts i received from friends

Have you learned anything along the way, as far as your business is
concerned?  the customer is always #1; always be willing to try something new

What other hobbies or interests do you have?  anything crafty  and i love to read; teens tell me i need rehab (for reading)
Who inspires you? My Lord and Savior, my family, oh and my dogs have inspired some cute crocheted doggie toys

Do you have any tips to share with newbies?  never say never!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Etsy Houston Profiles - Valerie and Bailey of Spunk&Sass

Name: Valerie and Bailey
Where are you both from?
Santa Fe,Tx

Where do y'all live?
Pearland, Texas

What types of things do you make/sell?
Jewelry and accessories

How long have y'all been crafting?
We have both been crafting for as long as we can remember. We both come from crafty families.

When did you decide to open up a shop?

Bailey and I decided to open up a shop in August of 2009.

Do you prefer to sell your crafts online or in person? Or both?
We've done both and really don't have a preference. We get excited either
way that someone has decided to spend their money on something we made.

Do you have a second job?  If so, what is it?

Spunk is a marketing manager for an engineering firm in Houston and Sass is a stay at home mommy!

What inspired you to start crafting?
It started as a hobby and morphed into "wow I like that, I bet I can make it!" We love trying to recreate things we both like and that inspires us to make more lovely things.

Have you learned anything along the way, as far as your business is concerned?
We have learned a lot opening this business. We've learned that it takes a lot 
of time and requires balance to really make it work, considering Spunk has a full-time job in Houston and Sass is a full-time Mom. Both of which are really demanding. We've learned that sometimes there will be sales and sometimes there won't be, but really in the end it's about having fun and doing something that we love.

What other hobbies or interests do you have?
Spunk reads and sews. Sass scrapbooks and is learning to sew as well!

Who inspires you?
Everything around us is an inspiration - stores, people, blogs, other Etsians, magazines, etc. There's a multitude of things and it all funnels in to create more fun pieces.

Do you have any tips to share with newbies?
Keep it fun. Remember that you love crafting and that's your reason for opening a store. The best feeling is that you're sharing your talent with the world. Oh and take good pictures :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Etsy Houston Profiles - Kristen of Frilled&Feathered

Name: Kristen Kramlich           
Where are you from? Houston
Where do you live? Houston
What types of things do you make/sell? Handmade jewelry

How long have you been crafting? I’ve been crafting since I was really little. My momma and grandmaare super woman crafters so I’m sort of following in their footsteps.

When did you decide to open up a shop? I started making jewelry because  I couldn’t find a piece I had my mind set on. My sister called a week later for me to check out something on Etsy and fell in love. Then I thought, hey, I can do this too!

Do you prefer to sell your crafts online or in person? Or both? I’ll sell my craft anywhere you want to buy it from me, but I really enjoy in person sales. I enjoy the chance to meet people who are appreciating my work and I’m able to share a bit of my passion with them as well.

Do you have a second job?  If so, what is it? For 2 more weeks I work in HR. I’m hoping to make a living out of jewelry after that.

What inspired you to start crafting? For as long as I can remember I’ve been learning all kinds of crafts from my mom & grandma. I can’t really imagine my life without it.

Have you learned anything along the way, as far as your business is concerned?  Of course I’ve learned a lot, it would be a shame to stop learning. The thing I’ve learned the most about is picture taking, though. It’s still the bane of my existence.

What other hobbies or interests do you have? I also design clothes and sew, paint (on occasion), listen to live music any chance I can get, drool over new tattoos I want but can’t afford, go to wine club meetings & tastings (mmmmmm), and watch horror movies.

Who inspires you? [blogs, etsy shops, etc] I’m inspired by color and texture.  I like to recreate random instances in abstract form.  Sometimes I just let my materials do the inspiring too.

Do you have any tips to share with newbies? Do what you love & be persistent! Don’t take criticism personally, but realize that there are many who have gone down the road you’re about to go down. There is no shame in asking for help.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Etsy Houston Profiles - Sandy Ervin of Robot In Bloom

Name: Sandy Ervin  Shop: Robot in Bloom

Where are you from? I was born and raised in Florida, but have lived in Houston since 2004.

Where do you live? I live in Pasadena. So far, my lungs have held up, but we'll see!

What types of things do you make/sell? I make paper flowers for any and all special events - weddings, parties, corporate events, gifts, home decor, get-well arrangements... Anything!

How long have you been crafting? I've been doodling on, painting, gluing together, ripping apart many things all my life, but I think I started really focusing on designing and creating pieces of art when I was in college. I think having a place of my own, being creative, and being cheap really changed my focus.

When did you decide to open up a shop? I decided to open my shop in 2009. My wonderful husband and I talked about how I was wasting my natural talents in jobs that didn't make me happy (or make enough money to warrant all the dreck) so I quit and jumped into the creation industry with both feet!

Do you prefer to sell your crafts online or in person? Or both? I've only done one craft fair so far, so I'm not quite sure yet... It was a really fun experience and I can't wait to meet even more excellent people at my next one!

Do you have a second job?  If so, what is it? Not anymore! I used to be various types of secretaries and even tried my hand at substitute teaching (History major. What can I say?)

What inspired you to start crafting? This might be silly, but I think I have to honestly say that it was the tv craft boom of the late 90s/early 00s! I watched a lot of TLC and Martha in college, and it suddenly seemed like my eye for art and design became valid; that legitimate art-things can be created by anyone who wants to create them. You don't have to have a PhD in Art History to buy oil paints - you just have to love art! 

Have you learned anything along the way, as far as your business is
concerned? Um.... Yes, but nothing specific enough for this question. Mostly I've just been learning how to build a successful business, and, damn, there's a lot to know!

What other hobbies or interests do you have? I dance, I sing (mostly in the car, these days), I read a lot, and I watch way too much Netflix.

Who inspires you? [blogs, etsy shops, etc]  Oh my goodness.... I get soooo many ideas from all over Etsy and from reviews on Unanimous Craft. I love all the variety found over at Offbeat Bride. Bridal Snob, Apartment Therapy, and Perfect Palette never let me down. And I really admire the business acumen of Princess Lasertron (not to mention her awesome clothes!)

Do you have any tips to share with newbies? Man... I still feel like a newbie, so I'm gonna just sit back and see what tips everyone else has to share! Oh, hey - that could be my tip! "Sit back and learn from others' tips." 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Etsy Houston Profiles - Celia of CeliaCloweCreations

I am a Houston, TX self-trained artist and an overeducated geologist with a Renaissance collection of skills and talents. Nature is my constant source of energy and inspiration in my mixed media collage art. I adore metal and found objects.
I am from all over! My family moved every 2 years b/c of job changes and the oil business. (I went to high school in Houston, TX.)
CeliaCloweCreations creates and sells unique, original mixed media collage art, specializing in etched metal collage. I originated Spirit Blocks, which are smallish wooden blocks that are painted and embellished with etched metal and found objects. Spirit Blocks invoke a personal connection with your spirit and can be placed anywhere to remind you during the day to refresh, renew and inspire your spirit.
I opened an ETSY shop as a store front for the Spirit Blocks. I love the community and diversity of artist with a presence on ETSY and wanted to be a part of the happening! I like to sell online and in person.
I am inspired by Kelly Rae Roberts and a host of other mixed media collage artists!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Etsy Houston Profiles - Lora of b.bags

Name: Lora  Shop: b.bags
Where are you from? Minneapolis, MN
Where do you live? Houston, TX (Oak Forest Neighborhood)
What types of things do you make/sell? I make bags and wallets out of upcycled material.
How long have you been crafting? About 2 years now, but only one year professionally.
When did you decide to open up a shop? I opened up a shop when I realized I was making too much stuff to just hand away as gifts.  I then thought, hey, this might be a good sales opportunity!

Do you prefer to sell your crafts online or in person? or both? I like to do both. I have realized that it is very hard to sell your product successfully online unless you really have a stellar, unique, one-of-a-kind product (which we all do!) with eye watering photographs and luscious descriptions.
And really, I just don't have the time and energy for that sometimes.  But I really try to keep up my etsy shop as best as I can!  For the most part, I really enjoy getting out, meeting people and talking to them about my work and the stories behind what I do.  I feel it makes things more personable when people can see the artist behind the piece of work and see and feel that piece in real life.
Do you have a second job? If so, what is it? For the last year I was doing b.bags full-time and doing shows once a week, but this summer I've scaled down the weekly shows (due to the heat!) and picked up a second job at Zelko's Bistro.

What inspired you to start crafting?  I received a hand-me-down sewing machine from my mother-in-law a few years back, and at the time, I was taking a pledge not to purchase anything "new" in my life for 6 months.  So in order to sew anything I went to thrift stores to purchase fabric.  I started ripping apart clothing and other fabrics to use in order to teach myself how to sew these.  I realized that simple bags were the easiest thing to sew and one thing led to another and here we are today!
What other hobbies or interests do you have? I love to play volleyball, I can sleep more than anyone you've ever known, I love playing with my yellow lab, cake makes me happy, especially when I get to share it with my husband Eric!
Who inspires you?
Moop - she's got her business down pat.  I wanna run a steam engine bag making business like Moop!  And her designs are so incredibly functional.  I love the Moop!
Made by Hank - I discovered Made by Hank last fall and was in love.  In love because Katie Henry is one of the best sewing artists I have ever seen.  Her work is so detailed and so well planned out that it just takes my breath away.  No wonder she can never keep any bags in stock!  Every time I am feeling in a bad sewing mood I head over to see what Katie is up to and it just blows me away with inspiration.  I mean you have to go check out these pieces that she stitched! So talented!
Do you have any tips to share with newbies? Take phenomenal pictures of your etsy listings.  Find a mentor who has been doing this for a while and pick their brain.