Monday, February 14, 2011

#251 unofficial etsy featured seller - exlibrishandmade

#251 unofficial etsy featured seller - exlibrishandmade
Date joined etsy- 4/5/08
Sales to date - 326-Give us some basic info about you: name, where you live, kids/pets, favorite ice cream flavor, etc.

I’m Victoria and I live in downtown Albany, NY with my husband Skye, 7-year-old daughter Tigerlily and 4-year-old son Lyric. Our house is an old carriage house that Skye renovated into a super awesome apartment. The garage used to house a boat-building and repair shop so it is known around the ‘hood as The Boatshop. I work from home in an ever-evolving art and studio space that I carved out for me and my kids to share. Of course, as a fabric hoarder my supply storage stretches well beyond my work space and is likely to take over the rest of our home someday. Thanks to my daughter I love fireworks ice cream (with Pop Rocks!) and we don’t have pets, unless you count our red wigglers and the collective neighborhood chickens!

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

I am not an early riser so I usually stumble out of bed around 8am when I hear my kids raiding the cabinets to try to sneak some chocolate chips before school. I get the kids washed and brushed and dressed and Skye gets them off to school, which luckily is right next door and provides breakfast! My big goal for this year is to be up and going early enough so that I can do a bit of exercise and be dressed and cheery before my kids are awake (and full of chocolate chips).

When Skye and the kids have gone off on their daily adventures I sit down at the computer with coffee. I do a general once over of my shop, email, and reader and generate a to-do list for the day. If all goes smoothly this takes no more than an hour, and then it’s production time! I generally create for 4 to five hours during the day before the kids come home from school. My biggest challenge: staying focused on work with piles of laundry staring me down and the allure of the internet calling to me.

The family usually hangs out together for the afternoon into evening reading, playing, cooking and eating dinner and doing a bit of clean up, then it’s time to get the kids ready for bed. Once the boy is settled I read to the girl for about 45 minutes (right now it’s book 7 of Harry Potter) and she’s off to bed at 8:30.

Then it’s back to work for me! Having already been creative for a good chunk of the day I’m usually pretty drained of inspiration at this point so I tend to do fairly simple things. I try to reserve all of my handwork for the evenings and do embroidery and cutting of appliqué pieces while listening to a book on tape (which I do a lot during the day, too) or watching shows or a movie. I usually “work” for a couple of hours before switching over to a handcraft that I enjoy doing but don’t get paid for, like knitting, crochet or embroidery. Midnight is my standard bedtime.
-Were you creative growing up/what did you enjoy doing?

I come from a long line of super crafty ladies so I don’t think I really had a choice! My Mom is the most talented craftsperson I know and I grew up watching her do everything from painting and calligraphy to crocheting tablecloths and making my Dad’s suits. From the age of 5 or so I was way into cross stitch and hand sewing patchwork from my Great Grandmother’s quilt scraps (and still am!).

-What made you want to start selling on etsy?

For years folks have been telling me that I should sell the things I make but I never even considered it until I had kids and made the decision to stay home with them. I found that my need to be creative increased and it provided me with a solid sense of myself when so much of me seemed to be defined by my role as a mother. When a friend of mine thought enough of my work to invite me to share a booth with her at the Renegade show in Brooklyn I decided to give it a try. I opened my shop that spring and, with only a vague idea of what I wanted to make and sell, got to work making a totally random assortment of stuff for Renegade and my new Etsy shop. That initial burst of exposure from Renegade helped me hone in on my niche and gave my shop a boost that helped make it a success.

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

I had my first sale about a week after listing some items in my shop. I still remember the feeling!
-Top 5 favorite foods, tv shows, and bands?

Food: strawberries, watermelon, korma, summer blts, cheesecake

TV shows: The State, How I Met Your Mother (I Barney Stinson), Modern Family, True Blood, Trailer Park Boys

Bands: (Okay, I need two categories…)

Of All Time—The Magnetic Fields, PJ Harvey, ABBA, David Byrne, Fugazi

Right Now—M.I.A., La Roux, Beirut, Peaches, Lady Sovereign

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

Everything!! But especially I’d love to try my hand at some book-y stuff, like printmaking, letterpress and bookbinding. I’d also love to delve deeper into the world of embroidery and do things like hardanger and bargello. I’m pretty hopeless at all of that computer-y stuff and would love to learn a bit of graphic design on photoshop so that I can design some fabric on Spoonflower. Also, I’d love to be able to play ragtime piano.
-What would you suggest to new etsy sellers to promote their shops?

Make customer service your top priority! I do everything I can to ensure that my customers have a wonderful experience buying from me and the word of mouth recommendations that this generates have driven my business since the beginning. This includes everything from getting in touch when an order is received and sent (and anything in between) to making sure your work is at its best and packaging it well (and prettily!). I don’t do any social media stuff (partly because of time constraints and partly because I don’t really get it) or any advertising, though I do keep a blog which I think is valuable.

-3 etsy shops you just LOVE?

KisforCalligraphy—I met Katy when she created a beautiful banner for the HeartsforHaiti charitable shop and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. I use her envelope seals on my packages to make them extra special.

andwabisabi—The cutest cross stitch patterns ever! I just bought a bunch to make for all of my kids’ teachers.

CrunchyClean—Ashley approached me about doing a trade when I was just starting out and it was an awesome experience. Not only was I introduced to the world of trading with other Etsy sellers but I found her amazing detergent!

-One year from now...

Right now our family is incubating a dream to move to The Netherlands for a year and I really hope that dream is still alive and growing! I love that, in theory anyway, I can take my business anywhere in the world.

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