Contributor post by Natalie
Please join us in welcoming Petzoup, our featured member!
Tell us about yourself
I am a transplanted Yankee living in Atlanta, GA. I have been an artist my whole life and absolutely love to paint. I work full time but rush home every day to work at what’s truly important to me, my shop.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I started my business in the 90’s but joined Etsy in 2012. I really didn’t start listing and working my shop until 2013. I had visited Etsy on the advice of a co worker and as soon as I saw it I knew it was for me. It had everything that I was looking for to help me grow my business.
Tell us a bit about your products
I paint custom pet portraits on glassware using recycled window sashes, ornaments, jars and wine glasses. I use a photo of the buyers pet and transform it into a loving memory that will last for years to come.
What inspires your work?
The buyers that I work with are so passionate about their pets that it inspires me to be the best that I can be for them. This is a family member that we’re talking about so I try to capture their pets just as they hope for.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
2014 has started out to be a terrific year. I hope too spend much more time working on my business and expanding to outside venues for marketing purposes. I am hoping that within a year or two my business will be a real brand that I can carry even further.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
When I pull up pet portraits in Etsy there are some wonderful paintings, pencil drawings, etc that I admire. When I look at my items among the hundreds of others, there is something unique, just a little different from the rest. I like that my products are outside the box, not just hanging portraits on canvas. I think this helps my shop to stand out from the others.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I have a separate studio in my home after years of working in my kitchen. It has large windows which are great for additional lighting and is separated from the rest of the upstairs. It’s my “get away, don’t talk to me now” room and my family knows it!
Where can people find out more about you and your business?
I have a website at www.petzoup.net where I blog once a month. I also do select craft shows for animal rescue during the year and post when they are coming up.
Why do you believe people should buy handmade, such as your products, vs buying mass-produced products from box stores?
I’m from the era of mom and pop stores. We didn’t have the big box stores or malls. We went down the corner to shop or downtown. We knew the shop owners and they knew us. People who sell and buy handmade are the same type of people who are looking for that same type of experience. Shopping should be joyful sometimes and I find a handmade item just that. When I give handmade for a gift it’s got a great “you are special” factor.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I wish I wasn’t always in such a hurry. I have learned to spend more time researching things instead of just jumping in. I’ve also learned that owning is a business is hard work and unless you are willing to commit to that, don’t waste your time.
Any advise for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Read, read, read and read some more. Learn everything you can before opening and continue your education through the Etsy blog, features and the forum. If you want to be successful go out and get it, don’t wait for it to come to you.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
Actually I’m so busy lately that I have no hobbies at the moment. Painting used to be my hobby, now when I’m not working, I’m usually sitting on my butt!
What is your favourite quote?
Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Just that Etsy has given me something really special, I have become a stronger, more energetic and interesting woman. Watch me ROAR!!!!!
If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.