Friday, March 04, 2011

Featured Crafter: Riley of MagnusJournals on Etsy

Handbound Journals

Everyone, please welcome Riley, from Magnus Journals on Etsy. This shop is unique and an ultra-niche: paper and journals. That's it! Please click the photos if you find them intriguing--they are all linked to Riley's shop.

This blog is about crafts and business. How do you find out about craft fairs in your area? Do you sell online exclusively?

Craft fairs right now are still a bit of a mystery to me, but as far as finding them, I live in an area where craft fairs are extremely popular so I’m lucky that they always seem to just present themselves. But if you’re having trouble, connect with other crafters in your area. They’ll know what’s up and they’ll get you plugged in. Right now I also have items in a little boutique that sells items from local artisans, but I’ve primarily been focusing on Etsy.

What was the impulse to start your business?

A lot of it was simply people encouraging me to do it. People would see my journals and say, “You should sell those on Etsy!” and finally I investigated it and decided it was something I wanted to do. I wouldn’t have been able to afford bookbinding as a hobby without selling my journals, but now it has totally shifted from a hobby to a business. I still love and enjoy it, though!

What is your niche market?

I think creative, artsy types are definitely my niche because of how I try to use unlikely materials to create my items. The kinds of people who have bought my products are very diverse though, so luckily for me I think my niche transcends the normal barriers like age and gender. I think what sets me apart is that I try to never make the same thing twice. I’m constantly looking for new ideas and new ways to do things; I don’t have an established format that I always stick to.

Vanilla-scented Paper. Have you ever?

Which materials/colors/techniques interest you the most right now? What is inspiring you, creatively?

I’m really into natural materials right now, stuff that looks and feels very earthy. But I’m also really liking bright colors since we’re getting towards spring! It’s hard to find something that isn’t inspiring me, to be honest. Ever since I started trying to use more unusual materials, I can’t look at anything without trying to figure out how I could make it into a journal.

What piece of advice do you wish you had, when starting your business?

Let yourself grow. Don’t feel like you have to have everything perfectly set up when you first open shop. I think it’s best to jump into it and learn on the way. Also, photos are the most important thing on Etsy. You need to really have someone who knows what they’re talking about look at your photos . If you feel your shop is struggling, your photos are probably the culprit!

Thanks for joining us on a Featured Crafter Friday, Riley. Readers, please leave a comment if you have a question or enjoyed this interview. Thanks for joining the conversation.

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