I'd like to start a series of interviews with our team members. We have such a diverse group of talented artisans, I thought it would be nice to give our individual team members a moment in the spotlight! My first interview is with the shop owner kookyhandbags, who has a beautiful beagle/basset named Lulu Belle!
1. When did you open your Etsy store and begin selling?
I opened my shop on Etsy in November of 2006, but didn’t actually start selling until nearly 3 months afterward, since I really didn’t start to promote my shop until January of 2007. I learned that regular listing and promoting in the forums helps you to establish your shop, get noticed, and get sales.
2. How did you select your shop’s name?
I had been using the name “kookyhandbags” http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=110179
already since I had been selling in Brick and Mortar shops and doing craft sales for awhile. I originally chose the name because my husband would refer to me as a “kooky” kind of a girl.
3. What do you create and sell in your Etsy shop?
I mostly make handbags, but I started making key chains, clutch bags and pouches shortly after starting Etsy, and have since been slowly learning some jewelry techniques and making some necklaces, bracelets, and rings for my other shop “talkofthe town.” I have also played around with making plush toys which is fun for me.
4. How did you become involved in your craft?
It started back in junior high school; we learned to sew in Home Ec. class. Well, that was it for me…I fell in love with the sewing machine and then begged my parents to buy me one for Christmas. It wasn’t until after college that I took up sewing again, and tried my hand at making my own pillows and window treatments for my apartments. I also made altered clothing for several fashion shows in the 90’s. It wasn’t until 1999 that I made myself a bag from a pattern, and was given a lot of compliments about the bag. I decided to make more bags for friends and family and charge only for the materials. A year later I started taking my bags to shops and doing consignment, and also got involved with craft shows.
5. Explain your favorite part of the creative process.
My favorite part of the design process would be the pre-production phase, the drawing of the purse, choosing materials and picking out trims and buttons. It’s the most fun part I think!
6. Do you sell in another Etsy store or anywhere outside of Etsy? If so, where?
Yes, I started my shop “talkofthetown” http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5276948
in September 2007, and have jewelry, lavender eye pillows, and sachets. I’ve also started making dog-themed pillows, and I’m also toying around with a few more new items this coming year.
7. So far, what project are you most proud of?
This is one that I am proud of, because it was a lot of work and I was very happy with how it came out. I called it “kooky patchwork.”
8. What advice can you give to someone who would like to learn your craft?
I would say that you should just start experimenting and also learn how to make a bag from a pattern, which is how I started. You can learn a lot from doing a pattern, and then you can experiment with personalizing it and making it more “your design” with appliqués or adding trims and buttons to make it more special. You can also use books and magazines to learn.
9. What motivated you to join the Etsy Beagle Street Team ?
Since getting Lulu http://www.flickr.com/photos/75065105@N00/2511828665/in/set-72157604557963224/
in September of 2007, I’ve grown quite fond of the beagle breed, and then happened to come across the team while searching the Team profile page. I decided I must be a member, and I’m happy to say it’s been great getting to know all the regulars on the team.
10. Any other places we might find you (Flickr, blog, MySpace, etc.)?
I do have a flikr account and two blogs, one for creativity called "Carried Away" http://kookyhandbags.blogspot.com/ and one I just started this month called "Talk is Cheeep." http://talkischeeep.blogspot.com/ The first one is more for featuring my designs, and showing photos of food, my life, and Lulu of course. The second blog is a journal type blog, and just writing about health and wellness and other topics that interest me.