Q How did you come up with your shop name?
A I have two shops on Etsy. The first is photo-centric and named for what my photography studio would be called if I had one; TMCphoto. PeanutButterPie is named for my daughter. When she was hanging around waiting to be born and after she made her debut we referred to her as The Peanut. The thing with nicknames is that they have a tendency to evolve and soon we were calling the Peanut, Peanut Butter and not long after that we were referring to her as Peanut Butter Pie. Well, to be honest we were using all of those names for her interchangeably. When I decided to open up a second shop on Etsy I wanted a name that was cute, fun and wouldn't limit what would be sold there. I also wanted a name that would have some meaning for me and PeanutButterPie fits the bill.
Q How did you hear about Etsy?
A Not long after the Peanut came along I signed up for an online newsletter which featured a lot of products for babies and toddlers. One day they were featuring these amazing little ponchos for babies and toddlers. I clicked on the link and was introduced to Etsy. When I saw the amazing art, and hand made goods I knew that I wanted to get on there myself. I was suffering from Postpartum Depression and part of what got me through was taking the time to create art again. Between getting my camera out again and starting to paint again I started to build a bit of an inventory and then I opened up shop.
Q How long have you been on Etsy?
A I opened TMCPhoto in July of 2008. I opened PeanutButterPie in September of that year after I started to create cards and paintings for the new babies that were making the rounds in my circle of Momma friends. I had built a small inventory, opened PeanutButterPie and listed the extras.
Q Is Etsy a full time job or something you do on the side?
A I'm a stay at home mom which is my full time gig. Etsy is kind of a full time/ part time since I do it at the same time and being a Momma. Balancing all the work that is involved with running an online shop and being a mom is a full time job all in itself.
Q Since you make handmade items, do you buy handmade as well?
A Absolutely! The bulk of our holiday shopping is done on Etsy or through local craft and arts fairs. I love that the items we pick out for family will not likely be duplicated, are hand chosen with them in mind and made with love and care. So far this last week I've got the Bean (the Peanut's soon to be little sister, who will probably become known as Jelly Bean) the sweetest pair of Peacock maryjanes from Sunflowerexpress and gifts for my brother and brother in law (which I will keep secret so they don't catch wind of their surprises) from AspenBottleHolders and Rockitbot. All three sellers have fantastic customer service and beautiful items. I can't wait to give them.
Q Do you prefer handmade over factory made?
A Handmade hands down! Supporting a fellow artist/artisan/craftsperson in itself is reason enough, but add in that handmade is well made, unique, factory made just pales in comparison.
Q What is one of your favorite items that you've made?
A That's a tough one. All the ornament/ suncatchers are so close to me at the moment that it's hard to choose. I recently carved a star stamp that we've made into ornaments which are stunning, but I also like the tree themed, spiral suns and snowflake themed ornaments. I've recently added a customizing service to the shop where you can add a date, name or short phrase to any ornament which I'm very excited about too. If I'm going to have to choose one I'll pick this one: Holiday Tree Ornament - Forest Tree and Snowflake.
Q What's the hardest part about the items you make?
A Well, The ornament/suncatchers in PeanutButterPie are a collaboration between myself and my husband. I carve the stamps that I use to make the images on the ornaments with glass paint then tape them with copper foil for my husband to solder, then we clean the rosin residue off and photograph them for listing. I'd have to say that the hardest part is a toss up between the soldering and the photographing. Soldering because I'm accident prone when it comes to handling super hot tools, which is where the husband comes in. He's good at it and suffers from fewer blisters than I would if I was doing his job; add into the equation that I'm currently pregnant and not able to work with the smell of melted tin/silver solder and you get the worst of it. Then there's the photographing which is tough right now because I've got the big belly to contend with, normally at a photoshoot I'm up, I'm down, I'm bending this way and that way to get the best shot possible. With a belly full of Bean my movements are slower and contorting is not comfortable.
Q What inspires you?
A I'm most inspired when I am making. There's something about working on something creative that gets the brain thinking and coming up with new ideas. Working with others is inspiring and of course there's nature, music, art and browsing through Etsy which all help to inspire.
Q What would you say to a person just starting out in the handmade world?
A A few things. Have a business plan. Selling online is a business and requires some planning and thinking ahead of time. I started out by diving right in and I wish I'd spent the time (or had the time to) get a business plan together. I've spent a lot of time learning and stumbling and making notes for the next time... which leads to my next piece of advice. Make use of the Etsy forums, chat rooms, Teams, and Virtual labs. The community on Etsy is fantastic and there are sellers in those places that are incredibly generous with their experience and advice. Finally it's a lot of hard work to get your name and your product out there.
Tomorrows feature: #8 - ayoka