#15 unofficial etsy featured seller - monkeyandsquirrel
Date joined etsy - 4/26/09
Sales to date - 713-Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
Hello there! My name is Jenn Pierce, I’m originally from NY but I currently call Charlotte, NC my home. My husband and I just recently purchased our first home where we live with our 3 cats (Zaboo, aka Monkey, Squirrel and Juan), and our 7-month-old puppy, Barkley. Here’s the run down of me…
LIKES: veganism, polaroids, olive green, lemon juice on everything, rainy Sundays, Uno attack, family gatherings, coffee, scarves, Buffy the vampire slayer & tofu!
DISLIKES: animal abuse, neglect, and exploitation, the fact that I clench my teeth at night, ignorance, living far from my family, women who feel the need to play dumb, the cost of gasoline, Barkley being unable to not chew on my shoes, bad drivers, and raw onion.
-Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Creating and making things takes up most of my days. When I find the free time to do other things I mostly enjoy them to be, quality hangouts with friends (the above mentioned Uno attack often comes into play here), take Barkley on play dates or to the dog park, bike rides, cook up some wicked vegan goodies, volunteer at events with the dog rescue I’ve worked with for the past 2 years (northmecklenburganimalrescue.org), read lots and lots of blogs, attempt to organize our house that is currently in demo mode and an absolute mess!
-What first made you want to become an artist?
I’ve loved creating things for as far back as i can remember. When I was young I was always drawing and coloring pictures, making potholders, painting seashells, making candy or busting out some friendship bracelets. It’s just a part of who I am. When it came time to decide what college to go to, it was a no brainer, I was going to art school. But even after getting a degree in illustration from F.I.T I still didn’t see making a living from art a possibility. I floated around to different jobs. A small music shop, an art supply store, an educational toy store, a vet… you could say I was a bit undecided on which direction to take. It wasn’t until I moved away from NYC that I saw making a living from art as an option. With the lower cost of living in the south I could finally take the time to give to open up an ETSY shop of my own and see just where it would take me. I had heard from so many people in the past, when I would make them gifts, “you should sell this!” I guess it finally sunk in.
-Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
I get inspired by materials, old wood, rusty metal, beautiful fabric, anything really. I have so many ideas floating through my head at any given time that I’ve finally made myself start writing them down. It takes away the pressure of trying to remember your good ideas. Then when I’m feeling uninspired I can open it up and I have tons of ideas to chose from. As far as my day-to-day process, that changes all the time. I generally go cast iron hunting once a week. My favorite spot is an hour away and I like to spend a good amount of time there when I go, so I tend to just dedicate a whole day to “the hunt”. On other days I like to get up, make some coffee, pour a bowl of shredded wheat (my current favorite cereal) and read some blogs over breakfast. I catch up on other people’s creativity and I find that it’s a great way to get my mind ready for the day. From there I don’t really plan, I just work! Painting, sewing, sanding, responding to convos or emails, packing orders, the day flies by all too quickly. By late afternoon, Barkley and I are feeling the need to get out of the house. We drive over to the post office to drop off packages, run errands, make sure we have anything resembling food for dinner, ya know… regular daily stuff. By the time we get back the hubby is usually getting home from work and we have some quality time. Dinner, movie, run Barkley a bit to get him good and tuckered out, or perhaps watching past seasons of Lost in an attempt to catch up. I do any end of the day ETSYing that needs to be taken care of and then call it a night!
-What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have lots of little drawings that my husband used to leave me at work (which is where we met. office romance... so scandalous!) when we first began our courtship. They bring me right back to days of first kisses and butterflies in my stomach. When we’re old and grey, without our teeth, it will be nice to break those out and remember the days we were young and dumb.
-Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
Lord of the Rings, Where the Red Fern Grows (first book to ever make me cry), Water for Elephants, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and I’m in the midst of reading Embroidered Effects by Jenny Hart. I’ve wanted to learn embroidery for quite some time now and have made 2010 the year to do so!
Lord of the Rings (yes, again), Amelie, Jesus’ Son, Shop Girl, and anything Wes Anderson.
“He War” by Cat Power, “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips, “Smoke in Our Lights” by the Avett Brothers, “Comme des Enfants” by Coeur de Pirate, “Ain’t no Sunshine”, Bill Withers
Flickr.com, poppytalk.blogspot.com, indiefixx.com, calivintage.blogspot.com, and 私信
(In English http://sisinmaru.blog17.fc2.com, an adorable little blog about the adventures of one kitty named Maru!)
-What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
I would love to say that I planned ahead and had every aspect of my shop all laid out when I opened it, but that just isn’t so. I jumped in headfirst and figured it out as I went along. I am a firm believer in research though. I read lots of storque articles, and still do. I’m still learning new things almost every time I read them. I also know that my shop can always be better. I think you should always be willing to retake photos, redo tags, read over descriptions of items that have been listed for awhile and not sold to see if there is anything to improve upon. Constant tweaking is really important. I doubt it will ever feel perfect, but I think that drive to always improve is key to a successful shop. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to fellow sellers in the forums is you have questions, everyone is super helpful there. pay attention to those who are successful and see what it is they're doing right. for the most part it's what has been said a million times before, photo's are everything!
-What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I love love love that I can rearrange my shop now. I don’t really do any big overhauls with it, but it’s so nice to be able to set things up in a way that’s pleasing to my eyeballs. As I’ve already said I’m also a huge fan of all the storque articles. So many helpful hints are just handed to us on a daily basis! I also love the shop local option. I think it’s fun to set it for places on the other side of the world, just to see what’s going on over there.
as for what i would like to see in the future... I would love to have an east coast/west coast shipping option. With most of my pieces being heavy cast iron the shipping rate greatly varies between the two coasts. I hate that I have to either over charge and then refund, or under charge and then eat some of the shipping cost. Perhaps one day I’ll see my dream come true.
-How do you promote your work?
I do have a blog (http://monkeyandsquirrel.blogspot.com) as well as a Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/monkeyandsquirrel/83804302371?ref=sgm). I think these are great ways of keeping your customers up to date on what you’re working on, or new products, and they’re free! I think for me the biggest promoting of my shop has been done by other bloggers. The blogging community has been so unbelievably great to Monkey & Squirrel. To say I’m grateful is an understatement. I’ve done a few paid advertising spots, and have also been super lucky enough to be featured by ETSY here and there. all little things that just add up i guess.
-In ten years I'd like to be
Hmmm, that’s tough. I’ve never been one to plan what will happen next month let alone ten years. This sounds nice though… my husband and I, dogs, cats, a couple of kids perhaps, living in the country, an old barn in the back that’s been converted into a studio/work space, still making things, still loving it. Pretty much in ten years if I’m happy and healthy I’ll consider myself lucky!
blog - http://monkeyandsquirrel.blogspot.com/
Have a successful etsy shop and want to be a featured seller? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, thanks for reading :)