Contributor post by Natalie
Please join us in welcoming AVA Arts Supplies, our featured member!
Tell us about yourself
We are a family of 15 right now! That’s right 15!! 3 humans, 2 dogs, 3 cats, 2 ducks, 3 hermit crabs, a frog and a snake. Our names in age order are: Andy, Veronica, Chevy, AJ, Rintu, Phineas, Opitmus Prime, Dumpy, Daffy, Si, Annie Oakley, Rafiki, SpongeBob, Mr. Krabbs, and Sandy Cheeks.
We live in a small town in Indiana and love doing things outside. We like to garden, hike, fish, and have been known to puddle jump. In the summer we build bonfires and in the winter snowmen! Family time is important to us.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
We opened our business in July 2012, but didn’t really get active until September 2012. At that point Veronica was laid off and we needed a way to bring in some extra money to help with bills. We had always loved crafting and wanted to be our own bosses. SO we took some money from a student loan, bought a few charms and waited.
Why charms? No real reason honestly. We knew keeping up with a handmade business would be difficult. So we chose to do craft supplies. Charms were just entertaining.
Tell us a bit about your products
Well we sell all sorts of jewelry charms and beads.
We sell glass, metal, acrylic, and resin.
We have sterling silver and pewter.
We even have some made in America charms.
One thing we are proud to carry are officially licensed charms with the permission to resell them. We currently have NFL, MLB, NCAA, and NHL charms.
Finally, we have a small digital pattern section. Veronica loves to draw and paint. Each pattern is hand drawn and then painted with step-by-step directions.
What inspires your work?
We pick out our products through a variety of methods. We choose charms that appeal to us, charms about stuff we like, and sometimes charms that are on trend. Typically when we are choosing our charms we pick out a ton and then narrow down to a handful. We watch for sizing, color, detail, and if it is something that ‘speaks’ to us.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
Our goal is to build our business big enough to be our full time jobs. The end hope is to be able to hand the business to our son when he is older, thus building him a craft supply empire.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I think the biggest stand out for us is selling smaller sets. Odd as that sounds, we have a lot of repeat business because people don’t have to buy 100 of one type of charm. We also have really quick shipping. We typically ship next day, but if one of us is off we can ship as soon as the order comes in!
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
We have a separate ‘warehouse’. Ok it’s not a warehouse, but it’s a small bedroom that has been converted to a mini warehouse. For now it’s working for us, but we are having to start getting more and more creative with space. We do our shipping and listing in our bedroom. We have a little ship station with the printer, poly mailers, labels, bubble wrap pouches, and anything else we may need!
Where can people find out more about you and your business?
Our about page: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AVAArtsSupplies/about
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I think the biggest thing we have learned is that we can do it. If you put your heart and soul into it and try, try again you can succeed. I think we learned that you need to keep changing and growing to increase your success. If you sit back and wait nothing will happen. And sometimes you just need a little luck!
Any advise for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Don’t give up. Etsy is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes hard work and perseverance. There are a lot of little pieces that make a good listing. Pictures, SEO (tags and titles), and descriptions are a large part of getting that good start. Nothing is perfect, it takes time. Here is one of our first pictures:
This is the same product now:
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I love to paint, sew, draw, and just craft in general. I also love to read and go through about 2-3 books per week. I’ll read just about anything other than romances (I’ve tried, just can’t get into them). Andy likes to watch TV specially Top Gear, football, and baseball. As a whole family we play the wii, board games, card games, go outside, garden, bike ride… We also love playing with our animals!
What is your favourite quote?
Hmm, this is a tough one. “Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Picasso and “We learn from failure, not from success!” Bram Stoker’s Dracula rank in my top two.
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.