Thursday, May 19, 2011

Taking a Short Break

Artwork by Used under a Creative Commons license.

I am taking a very short break from the featured crafter segments, as life is getting in the way of blogging. I know, I know! Terrible, right? Is there anything other than blogging?

Apparently, there is. This crazy thing I have called a "full-time job" is making my life crazy stupid right now. Luckily, this job will be ending for this year, and I will have almost twelve weeks off!

Twelve weeks to blog, craft, craft, craft, sell crafts, write about crafts, publish several books, and spend a lot of time with my kid. I'm excited to fill my days with activities that I choose. I long for full self-employment, but it's just not to be right now.

Do you enjoy the featured crafter segments? I hope so. If you do, please click the "subscribe" button so that you don't miss an entry. Also, I need more crafters for the interviews! In the comments, could you please let me know the site of a crafter you think should be featured? I'm happy to look into their websites and shops.

I'll be back soon--I promise!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Featured Crafter: Susan Peterson from Signs of Elegance on Artfire

Please welcome Susan Peterson, from Signs of Elegance on Artfire, as this week's Featured Crafter.

How do you find out about craft fairs in your area? Do you sell online exclusively?

I sell mainly online and through a couple local shoppes and boutiques. I have done craft fairs, and really enjoy them! I usually find out about them through word of mouth from other local artisans, or local advertisements. I also promote my businesses on line, mainly through Facebook.

What was the impulse to start your business?

The impulse to start my business actually came from a local shop owner. This shop carries the product line from my soap business, Forest Hill Soaps, and they knew I enjoyed painting, and asked if I could paint a sign for a customer. The rest, as they say, is history.

What is your niche? What sets you apart?

Many of the other handmade signs out there are all ‘shabby chic’ or primitive folk art in style. Although I do on occasion distress a sign at a customer’s request, my signs are normally not distressed or ‘antiqued’ in any way. I also like to use uplifting/inspiring phrases and words on my signs. My customers appreciate the fact that I will paint any sign any color to fit their home d├ęcor. I also LOVE to work with my customers to create a custom sign for them, using words and phrases special to them and their family.

What materials do you use?

I use pine boards, cut to size and hand sanded by my wonderful husband. I use a combination of paints, including acrylics and enamels. I seal each sign with a clear coat of sealant. Every sign comes ready to hang with a sawtooth hanger attached.

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

The best advice I was given was to “be patient”. It has taken a good year for my soap business to become profitable, and although I have only been selling my signs for about 9 months now, they are becoming very popular, and becoming profitable.

What question would you like to ask our readers?

I would love to ask your readers their opinion of my signs. What other kinds of signs would you like to see?

Thanks for joining us, Susan. Readers, please visit her shop and leave a comment letting us know what you think. Also, can you connect with her experience? What has your experience been with your craft business?

Friday, May 06, 2011

Featured Crafter: Sara Lombard from Lilly's Paper

Please join me for our Friday Featured Crafter interview. Today: Sara Lombard from Lilly's Paper.

Do you sell exclusively online? What are your plans for increasing sales this year?

For the moment I do sell online exclusively. This year I plan to expand and contact a few stores to carry my items. My jewelry store is already located in two stores so I don't see a problem trying to get a few more items in.

What was the impulse to start your business?

The impulse to start my business came out of a need. I have a jewelry shop on Etsy and found myself spending lots of money for packing supplies, so I decided instead of buying one item here and there, I would begin making items for myself and offering some to Etsy sellers. I would offer great packaging at great prices, and my shop would be a one stop location.

What is your niche? What sets you apart?

My niche is catering to Etsy sellers, that's my one main purpose. After that I find myself selling to brides, people hosting parties, or for those who bought presents and need to wrap them. I believe what sets me apart is the fact that I try to specialize in one item (envelope stickers) and my shop carries enough of them so you are sure to find something that matches what you need.

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

Paper is my top interest, colors seem to change with my moods. Sometimes I enjoy bright bold colors, other days the muted blues really speak to me. I think more of the shabby chic colors sell; this may just be because it's my own personal favorite and I probably stock my store with more of those colors than any of the others.

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

Do it right the first time. It'll save you a lot of time and trouble down the road. An example? PHOTOS. Take a good photo the first time and have it be the last time you have to take a photo of that item. Don't post a bad photo just to get an item listed, work on that photo until its the best it can be and then upload the item. This way you'll never have to do it again.

What question would you like to ask our readers?

How do you package your Etsy purchases? Is packaging important to you? Do you agree that little touches like a ribbon or a sticker really improve the value of a gift?

Thanks so much for the interview, Sara. Readers? What say you?