This week I am happy to introduce CiaoHound, Flash's favorite Etsy shop! He loves these dog treats! :0)
1. When did you open your Etsy store and begin selling?
I opened my Etsy store in July of last year and set up shop by the end of August.
2. How did you select your shop’s name?
For over a week, I thought about every possible word to describe food and dogs, then one day, I was sitting there, absentmindedly, watching Velvet inhale her dinner and thought "you are such a chow hound!" A lightbulb went off. I told my daughters and they groaned. So, I thought a little while longer and came up with a little twist on words: ciao instead of chow; they didn't hate it, so I took that as a good sign and went with that.
3. What do you create and sell in your Etsy shop?
My main items are dog treats and kibble toppers. I also try to elaborate on allergen-free treats for dogs with special dietary needs.
4. How did you become involved in your craft?
My oldest daughter was an avid Etsy shopper and she told my youngest daughter, who then opened a shop on Etsy. During the summer break, she wanted everyone in the family to make a craft for her to add to her store, so I started researching hobbies. One book lead to another until I stumbled on a book for dog items. I was very excited about trying to bake treats and Velvet just loved them! She sat in front of the refrigerator for hours; it really just warmed my heart. Then, I got to thinking that Velvet wasn't the best judge of food because she'll eat anything, organic or not, so I baked some for my boss' dog and for my dad's. Neither dog cared anything for food. They barely eat their meals. After adding some of my kibble toppers (Crumbrulee), both dogs picked out my food and ate that first, then proceeded to eat their regular food. I felt that was a true testiment and went "public" with my treats. I love doing this and I love the stories I receive from my customers.
5. Explain your favorite part of the creative process.
I just love when a food idea comes to me out of the blue. One customer was saying that her dog can only eat carbs and meats - no grains. That night we had turkey and mashed potatoes and I was playing with my food and mushed the two together and thought of the potato cakes. Things like that - coming up with unique items keeps it fun.
6. Do you sell in another Etsy store or anywhere outside of Etsy? If so, where?
I help run PetsJubilee on Etsy and have a blast with that, as well. We all work very hard to get our shop names out there and our customers love the sample boxes! We're coming together as a team which is very rewarding.
7. So far, what project are you most proud of?
I think these are my favorite:
They're 'cute' and I like the "Carob Cake" instead of 'carrot cake' play on words.
8. What advice can you give to someone who would like to learn your craft?Research, research, research! For every food item that you find that dogs can or cannot have, verify it with multiple sources! I see many shops selling treats with "inappropriate" ingredients. The shop owners clearly do not do the background research necessary before starting something like this.
9. What motivated you to join the Etsy Beagle Street Team?
When I signed up with Etsy, I looked for teams centered around animals, and when I saw this team, I just knew it was perfect because, I have a beagle! Velvet is the most unusual dog I have ever had. She doesn't like to be petted, hugged, kissed on; we can only play with her when its her idea. She thinks, lives, breathes food 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is the only thing she cares about, but I love her to pieces, and once in a great while, she decides to snuggle up to me while I watch tv, and it is perfect. As much as I joke around about her, she really is a good dog.
10. Any other places we might find you (Flickr, blog, MySpace, etc.)?
I try to be everywhere:
http://www.ciao-hound.blogspot.com (I'm going to try to devote more attention to this in the future)