#143 unofficial etsy featured seller - urbanlegend
Date joined etsy -5/11/07
Sales to date - 355-Give us some basic info about you: name, where you live, kids/pets, favorite ice cream flavor, etc.
My name is Kateri Morton. I'm a jewelry maker, office manager, reader and collector of many, many books, eater of cheese, drinker of wine, and a native Vermonter now living in Chicago. I'm single and have neither kids nor pets, but I enjoy a symbiotic relationship of mutual adoration with my best friend's toy poodle, Archy.
-Describe an average day in life of "you".
I have two types of average day. I work in a high school, so during the school year my average day starts with me getting up much earlier than I would like, taking a commuter train to the suburbs, and working as an office manager and general crisis ringmaster in the social work department. During the school year, evenings are my time to design jewelry, manage my business and try to find a balance for my personal life. I have to keep my time fairly structured, as I'm only able to do certain things - like taking product photographs - during daylight hours on the weekends.
I'm very fortunate to have summers off, so my second kind of average day is designed around my own schedule. In the summer months, I get up around 8, have coffee and check my email and blog reader, and then start in on my work list for the day. That could be working on stock for shows, designing new jewelry, communicating with customers, hunting for supplies, taking photographs and writing listings for shop updates, or managing wholesale work and promotion. I also get to spend a lot more time doing fun things in the summer - going to movies, taking trips, working out and seeing friends. I do all those things during the school year, too, but I keep to a much less rigid schedule during the summer (and maybe take a whole day off from time to time, just because I feel like it).
-Were you creative growing up/what did you enjoy doing?
I grew up way out in the woods in Vermont, with several brothers and sisters, in a family that made lots of things. My mom taught me to bake and sew when I was very young (although I've never gotten the hang of knitting and crochet), my dad taught me the basics of carpentry. My maternal grandmother was a great needlework artist, and I picked up a lot of techniques from her. When I was in high school I decided I wanted to learn to quilt, so I took a short class and figured the rest out from there. I've always enjoyed making things, and I know a little bit about a lot of different arts, but making jewelry is the only thing I've ever done that comes out looking the way it does in my head. It's very satisfying.
-What made you want to start selling on etsy?
I discovered Etsy through a wonderful food blog called Orangette (orangette.blogspot.com), when the author did a post on buying only handmade gifts for Christmas. I had recently completed a long-term freelance project and was looking for a hobby to fill some of my new-found free time. Making jewelry seemed like fun, so I bought some wire and pliers and started to play around and before long I was really enjoying myself. Etsy was very user-friendly and I was thrilled to have access to so much great work directly from gifted artists. I thought I'd open a shop and see what happened. Three and a half years later, I have two shops and a very satisfying small business. (Not as much free time, though...)
-How long did it take for you to get your first sale on etsy?
I have two shops on Etsy. My first shop is Leaves of Glass (leavesofglass.etsy.com), which I opened on January 11, 2007. I made my first sale 12 days later on January 23. It's still a thrill to me when anyone buys my work, but I'm especially grateful for that first sale, when my photographs were terrible and I had no idea what I was doing. My second shop is urban legend. I chose the name more than a year before I opened that shop, intending to use it for an entirely different line of work that I ended up abandoning. When I decided to open a second shop for my vintage Lucite designs, I found that the name was still active and I went ahead with it. My first sale in that shop was the day I opened and listed my first items.
-Top 5 favorite foods, tv shows, and bands?
I am forever a fan of pie, coffee, pickles and any kind of curry. Right now I'm really enjoying Indian food, and trying to learn to make several dishes.
All my favorite TV shows get canceled, so I hesitate to mention anything I like that's currently on. I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Wonderfalls, The West Wing, The Big Bang Theory (please don't ever cancel it) and Mad Men (please don't ever, ever, ever cancel it). I like good writing and complex, extended character arcs.
Music is harder for me to narrow down to favorites than almost anything else. At the moment, I'm listening to The National, The Avett Brothers, and Jakob Dylan's new album pretty obsessively, and on my forever-playlist you'll find Nina Simone, Tom Waits, and Bjork.
-Is there anything you'd like to try your hand at doing? Knitting, baking, soap making, wood working, an instrument, etc.
I love any kind of fiber arts. I'm determined to learn to knit (I made my first cowl last winter. I finished it just in time for warm weather, and have never worn it.), and I love felted sculpture so I'd like to take some workshops some day to develop some of those skills. It's also a long-term goal to become fluent in another language - French, or maybe Japanese if I'm really ambitious.
-What would you suggest to new etsy sellers to promote their shops?
I'm still trying to find my way around good promotion, but I think the most important thing is to be able to talk about what you do. It took me a long time to be comfortable calling myself a jewelry designer and promoting my work, even to people who asked about it, but that's really the number one way that people become interested. The personal connection is what draws people to a place like Etsy. In an extension of this, if you're open to doing wholesale, check out local businesses that look like a good fit for your product and make contact with them.
I also can't overestimate the importance of business cards. Invest in a design that represents you well, get good quality cards, and always carry them with you. People can be fascinated, but if you don't give them a tangible way to remember you when they want to shop, it's all for naught. A good business card tells the story of who you are and helps to draw buyers in.
If you're comfortable with Facebook, that's also a great way to promote your business. I actually don't use it because their privacy policies make me crazy, but I know a large number of sellers who have great success with using a fanpage to promote their business.
-3 etsy shops you just LOVE?
There are literally hundreds of shops I love, and many of my favorite sellers have become dear friends over the years, but I think I'll keep it in the strangers-to-me camp and say pinkcrowstudio, marysgranddaughter and artmind all do spectacularly inventive work that I deeply admire.
-One year from now, I hope my number of sold items is...
I abandoned the idea of setting sales goals some time ago. No matter how much you create and promote, no matter how well you monitor traffic trends, there is no way to plan for slump times or boom times. Even when I met or exceeded my sales goal, I never felt a sense of accomplishment about it because I know that after a certain point it's a matter of chance. I consider sales within a certain range to be a healthy rate for my shops, and I do work to maintain that healthy rate, but I no longer set specific number goals. I do make it a goal to increase my wholesale clientele, however, since I can actively pursue that. A year from now, I hope to have five more wholesale accounts than I currently have.
Have an etsy shop with over 300 sales and want to be a featured seller? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, thanks for reading :)