Tuesday, June 29, 2010

#151 unofficial etsy featured seller - bunnywithatoolbelt

#151 unofficial etsy featured seller - bunnywithatoolbelt
Date joined etsy -7/1/07
Sales to date - 515
-Give us some basic info about you: name, where you live, kids/pets, favorite ice cream flavor, etc.

I live in Portland, Oregon with my sweetheart and our sportalicious dog Weegee. My very favorite ice cream is vanilla, but I'm mad about fruit sorbets too.

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

I usually wake up and spend a few hours taking care of stuff on the computer while I have my coffee and get the day started. This mostly means catching up on email or designs for custom orders. Sometimes it also includes listing new items or renewing expired ones, or writing a blog entry. Quite often it also includes reading the New York Times online, checking in on Facebook, and seeing what made the Etsy homepage. I figure out what my priorities are for the day during this time and set some goals. At some point in mid-late morning, I go out to my studio, which is a separate building in my backyard. I work until around dinner time and then hang out with my little family.

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

Much like my current life, I *always* had a project or two going on when I was younger. I was really into collage, which evolved into doing graphic design layout by hand and xeroxing stationery, postcards, etc which I sold to my friends. (this was in the early 80's before anyone could do this stuff on the computer!) I had an annual tradition of making an elaborate collage and obscure trivia calendar between the ages of 14 and finally retired the project a few years ago when I was 39. I called it the Wonder of the Age Calendar and printed around 100 of them every year which I gave as presents and sold a few too--it evolved into a huge labor of love that took me over a week to create and I miss it sometimes (took care of a lot of my holiday gift giving needs!)
-What made you want to start selling on etsy?

About 4 years ago, my employee was selling her work there so I started looking at it. I didn't think it was right for me at first--at the time I was making my living with a wholesale greeting card business and a sales rep handled all sales and promotion of that work. The Bunny with a Toolbelt stuff was more of an occasional side project for me and I only sold through galleries or museum shops for my one of a kind work. But I also was feeling like I wanted to transition out of that card business and so I slowly figured out how to make Etsy work for me. I have been a self-employed artist for over 20 years and although I used to do my own promotion by mail when I started out, it had been about a decade since I had to do my own promotion and so much changed. Although I was an early adopter of using the internet for self-promotion, it took the general public a long time to feel comfortable spending money online.

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

Hmmm.....I don't remember, but it definitely wasn't right away. But like I said before, I had a learning curve to contend with--now it seems so duhhhh obvious, but I had the most horrible pictures of my work up there at first. I didn't understand how to use the five images to really show my work off, and my product descriptions weren't very compelling either. I kind of limped along and very slowly my sales have steadily increased.

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

foods: all kinds of sushi, fresh Dungeness crab in the winter, a gin martini with a twist on Friday nights, and my family's recipes for Chinese Chicken salad and gazpacho which I make annually.

tv shows: Six Feet Under, Southpark, Project Runway, Daily Show, Dexter

music: Elvis Costello, M.I.A., Ella Fitzgerald, Modest Mouse, Michael Jackson's early stuff

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

I would really love to study ikebana some day--it's a Japanese method of flower arranging. I took a single class once, but it's a fascinating practice that takes years to really learn.

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

I think it's incredibly helpful to have a blog. I mostly use mine to show my new or custom designs and I don't get too chatty there, but it allows me to tag items and I believe search engines find me as a result. I know it could be better if I had more diverse content like interviews or promoting other work I like, which I do on occasion, but really I mostly do it to showcase work in a way that increases my chances of being discovered.

I would also say that one of the big things that helped me get noticed on Etsy was an article I pitched and then was allowed to write for their handmade weddings section.

-3 etsy shops you just LOVE?

-One year from now, I hope my number of sold items is...

1000 I guess--although this really depends--sometimes I get larger commissions which makes less "sold items" for equal time/income. I just want to keep making new and exciting things that make people smile!

Have an etsy shop with over 300 sales and want to be a featured seller? Contact me at phletcher@gmail.com
As always, thanks for reading :)