Contributor post by Natalie
Please join us in welcoming Kathy’s Heart Creations, our featured member!
Tell us about yourself
I love working with my hands and being creative – from cooking and baking to stripping & refinishing furniture, sewing, needlework, cutting things out of wood with my scroll saw, painting, and gardening. I like to try to “make-do” with things I already have around the house.
Creating things with my hands has been a part of my “heart” since I was a little girl.
Growing up, I lived in a rural area without close neighbors and I entertained myself for hours making things from nothing much … I even used to make my own paper dolls from the people I cut out of the Sears catalog … creating families … creating wardrobes for each of them. As I grew older, I became involved in 4-H and won many awards for my sewing and baking in the local county fair, but my most exciting accomplishment was for an award winning birdhouse I made from scraps of lumber and leftover roofing shingles.
I have been married and a homemaker for 41 years and have dabbled quite a bit with DIY projects. From making my own wedding dress in 1973 to creating faux stones out of concrete and making a patio and two sidewalks … to wall stenciling, and creating a faux stone wall in my laundry room by using drywall mud, a stencil and acrylic paint. My latest project was turning an old cargo furniture base cabinet into a faux fireplace for our master bedroom complete with carved mantel surround. I love taking what I already have and making something new out of it.
I thank GOD for giving me the ability to be creative … it is through Him that makes all of this possible.
Now that I am retired, my “heart” still longs to be creative and now that I have raised a daughter and also helped in the raising of my granddaughter I am giving myself permission to focus my time on what brings me so much joy and contentment … painting and sewing! You will find my signature “heart” somewhere on each hand-painted piece. (Kathy’s Heart!)
I have a simple, warm, cozy, homespun, cottage, farmhouse feel in all the things that I make.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I opened my business in October, 2013. I decided to give Etsy a try after being accepted to do a small local craft show in a restaurant parking lot and finding out that I would have to haul my tent, tables and stock a great distance to set up. Because of back and knee issues I knew it would not be worth the risk of injuring myself so I pulled out. I was disappointed. But the longing to create and sell was strong … I am old school and the thought of selling online was uncomfortable for me … but after spending weeks of reading everything I could, I decided to step out and try it. It has turned out to have been a good decision. I have been having a wonderful time these past months.
Tell us a bit about your products
My items are all handmade, of course. They have a warm country feel to them and varies from fabric Canning Jar Bonnets, to Table Runners, to Cat Ornaments/Magnets … Tole Painted Christmas Ornaments … Hand-painted signs on reclaimed fence panels … etc.
What inspires your work?
Most of what I make are things that are a part of my life or things that have meaning for me. For instance I created “Bee” signs earlier this spring when Carpenter Guard Bees were everywhere in my yard … they inspired the signs I made … and the same thing with Bluebirds … I have a family nesting now in one of my houses and I then created signs with bluebirds on them. You can check out my Facebook Business Page where you see where I have tied in personal photos and stories with some of things I have made and are making.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
My future goals are to continue to create the things that I love. My head is swirling with ideas and I am finding my hands are having difficulty keeping up with my mind! My dream for my business is actually a reality right now … I have been amazed at the support I have received from the public and just hope to continue and improve in the days ahead.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
What makes my business stand out from the others? … Perhaps the answer to that is the fact that when you see my shop and the things I make, you are seeing me. Each item has significance to me … my life. I am not trying to be mainstream or do things like everyone else but being unique and being myself. I have tried to create a warm, relaxed homey feeling in everything I do…
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
My work space is located in a section of my closed in back porch. I have a tall wooden storage cabinet painted to match the walls of the porch that I use as a partial room divider. It is such a wonderful place to work because I am surrounded by large windows that overlook my backyard. My wood shop, where I use my scroll saw and other woodworking tools is located just steps away from my porch.
Where can people find out more about you and your business?
You can find out more about my business on my Etsy About Page … https://www.etsy.com/shop/KathysHeartCreations/about?ref=shopinfo_about_leftnav
Facebook page … where I do a little bit of blogging that usually ties in with something I have made or are currently working on … https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kathys-Heart-Creations/721868347832262
Why do you believe people should buy handmade, such as your products, vs buying mass-produced products from box stores?
I believe that people should buy homemade items because they are more personal than manufactured. So much more time is spent on each individual item … the creator/artist works hard to get things “just right”. Whereas manufactured items objective is to produce multiple items in a short period of time. There is no “heart” in manufactured items.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
The only thing I wish I had known before opening my business would be about promoting … about using social media, Etsy teams, hashtags, etc. to promote my shop. I am learning new things all the time.
Any advise for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
My advise to someone thinking about selling on Etsy would be for them to read everything you can about having an Etsy shop before opening. Make sure you have some understanding particularly about your policies. Prepare an “About” page in advance of opening … Have at least 20 things created and ready to post at opening … Create a Facebook business page and begin learning about promoting your shop. Please don’t expect to just list your items and expect them to sell. Practice taking good photos. Look at other shops and/or catalogs for inspiration.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
Yes, I do have other hobbies and interests. I am a family person so I enjoy spending time with my husband, grown daughter and 16 yr. old granddaughter. I enjoy raising Monarch butterflies. A hobby I began when my granddaughter was in elementary school. What started out as a curiosity has turned into a passion for me. I enjoy gardening and being out in nature. My favorite birds are Canadian Geese. This spring I have had the added blessing of watching a Carolina Wren and a Bluebird … nest … lay eggs … and raise their young. Exciting to watch!
What is your favourite quote?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
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.