Thursday, February 25, 2010

#42 unofficial etsy featured seller - whitneysmith

#42 unofficial etsy featured seller - whitneysmith
Date joined etsy - 6/20/07
Sales to date - 906-Give us some basic info about you: name, where you live, kids/pets, favorite ice cream flavor, etc.

My name is Whitney Smith and I live in Oakland, California. I have a cat named Leo whose personality is not unlike a spoiled supermodel, and a fabulously sweet husband named Andrew. No kids, thank god, since I like a clean and quiet house. I’m a pretty typical Bay Area girl, which can be embarrassing when I leave the bubble... I practice yoga, I meditate, I ride a cruiser bicycle to do errands, I complain about the cold if the thermometer hits below 62 degrees, I spend an inordinate amount of time blogging ( in my local cafe, and I only eat ice cream if it’s made with organic, sustainably raised, non-GMO ingredients. Any flavor as long as it's not mint chocolate chip.

-Describe an average day in life of "you".

Mornings are usually spent at some form of exercise, office work, or distraction from my “job.” I ride my bike, go to the gym, post on etsy, update my website, answer emails, write, look at myself in the mirror, and drink about a gallon of coffee in between all of that. Afternoons I go to the studio, crack the whip on my assistants, make some stuff, cry a little bit when things don’t go my way, and try to be home in time to make dinner for the before-mentioned husband. Evenings I like to relax and read a book or watch a movie.

-Were you creative growing up/what did you enjoy doing?

Yes, I was always a creative kid. When I was a toddler my parents would put out watercolors for me so they could sleep in. Their lazy parenting and selfish desire for sleep lit that creative fire in me early. When I got older I started painting more seriously, and I have always enjoyed drawing and writing. I’ve dabbled in all kinds of craft, from sewing to linocut to crocheting to making mobiles to origami. Making things always makes me happy, clay just happens to hold my attention for long, extended periods of time.

-What made you want to start selling on etsy?

Seeing other clay artists I admired selling on etsy.

-How long did it take for you to get your first sale on etsy?

6 days. I was shocked that I sold anything, I went into it with zero expectation, and sales were pretty slow the first 6 months. I never anticipated my etsy shop would become the selling monster is has. I say it everyday, “Thank you, etsy.”

-Top 5 favorite foods, tv shows, and bands?

I’m only going to talk about food here, because tv makes me want to poke my eyes out and I’ll listen to any music as long as it’s not teen pop or death metal.. And trying to name my five favorite foods is like asking Hugh Hefner to name his 5 favorite Playboy Bunnies, but here’s what are my favorites right now:

vodka cocktails (I throw in an orange slice to make it a food)
brussel sprouts with butter and cheese
berries of any kind
lamb sausages, with a side of stewed greens and carmelized onions... so good
fish tacos

-Is there anything you'd like to try your hand at doing? Knitting, baking, soap making, wood working, etc.

I would really like to try papercutting, I think it is the coolest art. I’m signed up for a class in April and so who knows, it may become Whitney Smith Papercutting instead of Whitney Smith Pottery.

-What would you suggest to new etsy sellers to promote their shops?

I suggest making something a well-crafted and original item, and listing and renewing as much as one can afford. Etsy has incredible work, and just as much poorly conceived and crafted items. In my opinion, money is wasted on showcases; that money is better spent renewing or relisting 10 times a day. Also, participate in the etsy community, ask for help and feedback in the forums. And I will repeat what most people say: Your photography IS your product. Figure out how to photograph your items so your stuff looks banging. Bad photography will kill new sales faster than anything else. That was a long learning curve fore me—just look at images of my first year of sales-- but I practiced a lot, learned, and I think I do a decent job now.

-3 etsy shops you just LOVE? this girl is a freaking genius and I want everything she makes. I’ve spent ungodly amounts of money on this seller’s flattering, beautiful clothing. I love the way this artist captures small moments in life.

-By New Years Eve 2011 I'd like to have _____ amount of sales.

2,000. I like to think big.

Have a successful etsy shop and want to be a featured seller? Contact me at
As always, thanks for reading :)