Tuesday, September 21, 2010

#216 unofficial etsy featured seller - Vivavivant

#216 unofficial etsy featured seller - Vivavivant
Date joined etsy- 12/4/09
Sales to date - 683-Give us some basic info about you:

My name is Meredith and I live with my darling Joel in the old Milton Schoolhouse in Alton, Il. The schoolhouse was built in 1908, became an art glass factory for ten years during the 1980s, and then was mysteriously abandoned for about a decade before we purchased it last year. Aside from (supposedly) being one of the most haunted places in the United States, it was left full of the former owner's random (but awesome!) stuff.

Before buying the school I was an office minion in a design company's marketing department- Joel was in the fine dining industry. Now, we've been able to support ourselves and our building projects inside the school selling our finds online, and using our building skills for other companies around town.

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

Mornings are a rush. Whatever time we wake up, I usually spend the first three hours of my day taking care of our pets (two dogs, two cats, twelve chickens), cleaning up the dishes, all of that boring household stuff. After that's all done- the fun begins.

Some days are set aside just for cleaning up the neat things we find during the week to photograph and list on etsy. Mondays, I usually spend the entire day packaging. The rest of the time, you'll either find me swinging around powertools with Joel and our volunteers, rummaging through dusty boxes, or pursuing my own artistic interests. Recently, I've been into making light fixtures out of found things in our warehouse- bicycle parts, chandelier prisms, floppy disks, old iron parts from the boiler....

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

I have an overactive imagination that lead me to having a lot of imaginary friends as a child. My favorite "toy" was a huge bin of my mother's sewing scraps that I would tie and safety pin around me in various ways to create new "outfits".

Joel and I are really big into reusing recycled materials from demolition sites in the school- which demands a certain level of patience and creativity. Our latest creation was a beautiful suspended vanity in a bathroom made out of old slate chalkboards from the school.

-What made you want to start selling on etsy?

Necessity! I've long been a buyer on etsy, and wanted to sell my own creations, but didn't know where to begin.

Selling our found treasures as supplies to other buyers gave me the confidence of working as a seller with the site- as well as a lot of practice on writing descriptions and taking good photos of our pieces. We started up another shop a few months ago, ThirteenTwenty, and I just sold my first piece of original art. I hope to someday make my living through my own work.

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

Not very long- a couple of days. But sales were slow in the beginning, so I wasn't too motivated to update the shop very often. I supposed I didn't want to get my hopes up. After about three months we were discovered by a very talented mosaic artist who couldn't get enough of the broken glass pieces we found. The first time I saw one of her creations using something from Milton- I was so excited! It really gave me the confidence to throw myself into etsy and make it a daily part of my life.
-Top 5 favorite foods?

Anything Italian! I can't pass up a good lasagna. I love growing fresh herbs for homemade pizzas and pasta. I've recently come to enjoy eggs- ever since we started raising our own chickens. For some reason, they taste a billion times better than store bought eggs. I make awesome omelets!

-Is there anything you'd like to try your hand at doing?

Oh, this list is too long. Everything I see, I want to know how to make it. Someday, I want to build a giant Japanese pond, learn how to make stained glass windows, weld a giant elephant sculpture, and make my own yogurt.

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

There is a ton of advice on etsy's forums about photography, relisting often, making your packages special- and it's all true. I would add that taking the opportunity to really get to know the people who are buying from you is one of the most incredible things etsy allows. You'll meet some really amazing people- and they'll be able to give you the best feedback for how to make your shop even better.

-3 etsy shops you just LOVE?

I recently met Glenda because she had bought a few pressed brass pieces form our shop. I'm always nosey about people's shops, and instantly fell head over heels with her incredible fascinators. I know fascinators are really popular, and there are a lot of artists who create them on etsy, but her pieces really stand out as being amazing works of art.

I just purchased a birthday card for my mom from this shop- it was the most perfect thing! Her art is perfect for someone with "grown-up" taste who has never grown up enough to have stopped imagining they were living a fairytale.

So geeky and cool. What's not to love?

-One year from now, I hope...

....to be able to slow down enough to actually get to know the area I live in well enough to not get lost.

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 :)