Thursday, July 14, 2011
July's Guild Member of the Month!
Eco-Friendly Freckles holding her hand-painted upcycled decoupage canister "Paulie's Confession".
1.Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, and personal stuff).
Hello my name is Jessica. I live in Bixby, Oklahoma on a miniature horse ranch with my darling husband and two sweet cats (boy "Magnum" and girl "Nozomi") in our charming little barn apartment. I work part-time at Akin's Natural Foods Market as a cashier and in my free time I love visiting my twin sister, Andrea of Storybook Artifact (she is a team leader of the Etsy Recyclers Guild) and her precious baby boy, my nephew, Bobby. They both bring so much light and happiness to my life! Andrea and I enjoy getting together and collaborating on what we can do to make both of our Etsy shops better...we work so well together; she most definitely helps me with our wonderful team too! ;-)
2. How did you decide on your shop name? Why did you start your business?
All of my hand-painted upcycled decoupage art canisters have a glossy black background and small white freckles; which unlike polka dots are not perfectly symmetrical, hence the name "Eco-Friendly Freckles". These delightful freckles create a texture that is pleasant to feel, and a look that is unique and fun!
My grandmother found out about Etsy in a Woman's Day magazine article and she told me about it; she said that it would be a perfect marketplace for my upcycled decoupage art; when I discovered that I could sell vintage treasures too, I was so excited because I love buying and selling vintage items. Etsy has also been a wonderful venue for my organic kombucha scobies and homemade all-natural soap.
3. What are 5 things you want people to think when they see your products/shop?
Recycling, Retro, Nature-Loving, Unique, Fascinating!
4. What or who inspires you?
My twin sister Andrea, she is a loving and amazing mother and her Etsy shop is flourishing beautifully; she continually inspires and encourages me to follow my dreams. She and I have always loved recycling; when we were little girls we used to pick up aluminum cans off the side of the roads to recycle; and we carryout our same passion for keep our beautiful planet clean for ourselves and our children.
My husband, Joe, and I find "earthship" architecture very inspiring. Earthships are passive solar homes built from natural and recycled materials...We plan on building one soon someday. I love how the rammed earth walls are created by recycling old tires and packing them full of earth; the perfect, strong form and foundation for a home...imagine how many tires you could recycle! The outside of the tire walls is covered with stucco to create a gorgeous, classic adobe style look; and many earthships utilized recycled colored glass bottles as little looking-glass windows; they can be displayed in many different patterns and when the light shines through, they look like glowing gems!
5. What are your best marketing tips?
Take bright, clear, breath-taking, and eye-catching photos of your shop items and continually work on adding more shop inventory; the more shop inventory you have, the more your shop will be seen when people search for something on Etsy!
Join an Etsy Team that has a weekly team treasury challenge, these challenges have been very beneficial for my shop because you are normally required to feature six or more team members and the winner of the treasury challenge will be featured in all of the participating treasuries for the week; this this means more promotion for your shop!
Become a blog author (if you love to write) on various Etsy Team blogs; at the bottom of each of your intriguing blog articles write "This blog article was contributed by *list your name and link to your shop name*". This is a wonderful way to get your shop out there...Plus, continually strive to get your shop featured (or even better, an interview about you and your shop) on BIG blogs (with 1000 or more followers); this has proven to be VERY successful for the selling of my hand-painted upcycled decoupage canisters...my art!
Remember to not focus your efforts too far in one direction, don't get absorbed by your blog or the teams you are involved with while you neglect your shop; although everything can be beneficial for your Etsy shop, remember that "balance" is essential. Continue to list new items in your shop; and if you create your shop items, get crafty and enjoy what you do "creating something beautiful"!
Vintage 40s Art Deco Florentine Silver Plate Ice Tea or Dessert Spoons - Set of Six
6. In ten years I'd like to be…
On our family farm with two or more children! Although, my husband, Joe, and I have no children at the moment; we very much look forward to having some children someday. :-) We want to have a family farm with goats, chickens, and maybe a Jersey cow or two...along with a couple of miniature horses (since we have been taking care of miniature horses, we would love to have a couple of our own). We want to have a big organic garden and of course our earth-rammed earthship home! I hope I still have my Etsy shop and that it has flourished into a booming personal business both locally (through farmer's markets) and on the internet!
7. Why should people buy handmade and vintage items?
People should buy handmade items because they are often one-of-a-kind and made with love. You know that what you purchased was not mass-produced somewhere in a sweatshop with poor under-paid children making them...Instead you know that you are supporting an individual person instead of big corporate fat cats!
My grandmother always tells me that in her days "things were built to last" and she still has many of the same kitchen appliances and other housewares from when she was young. Perhaps she is right, in my experience, I have found this to be true in a lot of cases because the materials seem to be better...or the items just seem to be better made. Today we so much plastic instead of more sturdy, lasting materials like metal and glass. Also, when you buy vintage, I think you are essentially supporting "recycling", because a lot of these vintage items end up in a thrift store or worse "thrown out"! People are always buying "new" things", I love to explore the treasures of the past.
Vintage 80's Black Velvet Mootsies Tootsies High Heel Pumps
8. What do you enjoy most about the Etsy Recycler's Guild Team?
I love the Etsy Recyclers Guild Team because we have both handmade with recycled materials shops AND vintage shops! I also love that our team has been around for a long time and our previous team leader, Cindy of RetroChalet, has been the sweetest, most helpful mentor I could ever have asked for! She is the greatest and so full of passion; she has been the heart of the team...and as the new team captain, I strive to keep our heart beating strong!
9. What have been the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from other artists or Etsyians?
I had a kind Etsyian once suggest that I use glossy Mod Podge on my hand-painted upcycled decoupage canisters because I mentioned to her that I was concerned about the oils from peoples hands damaging the magazine clipping images of my decoupage pieces...her advice transformed my art from great to SPECTACULAR! Now, I can't imagine making my upcycled decoupage tins and canisters any other way! This was monumental advice for the quality of my art, and along with my hand-painted freckles on each piece, I think the glossy Mod Podge encompasses my signature style for my little, one-of-a-kind masterpieces!
"Shakespeare's Muse" Hand-Painted Upcycled Decoupage Canister
10. What are the web addresses where people can find you? (website, etsy, blog, facebook fan page, flickr, etc.)