Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Please join us in welcoming Debra of NauticoCreations, our featured member!
Tell us about yourself.
I live with my partner, two dogs, a cat and a couple of fish in the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul. I live near the country and farmland, which is a nice contrast when going to work in the city. What makes our location so beautiful is that our house overlooks a pond in the backyard so we get a great view of nature every day.
In my professional career, I am a marketing director with an MBA in marketing. I have also earned many awards for graphic design. My Etsy shop is a creative outlet for my downtime.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I started NauticoCreations last fall when an opportunity to showcase my flower arrangements and my mom’s quilted items became available in a gift shop in town. It was so much fun and customers were purchasing them, so I was hooked. I opened my Etsy shop as an extension of that business.
Tell us a bit about your products.
Being handmade, each item at NauticoCreations is very unique. There aren’t two identical items in the store. The shop has two main sections: quilted gifts and flower arrangements.
The quilted gifts range from smaller items such as hedgehog hot pads and placemats, to medium size baby quilts and large, beautiful bed quilts. My mom invested in a long arm machine last year and her quilting work is amazing. She has won awards for her quilting at county and state fairs.
The flowers also range from small arrangements in vintage sugar bowls to large centerpieces in unique containers. Each one is designed with consideration to cohesive color combinations, texture, balance and sometimes even with a bit of whimsy. You’ll also notice that I use a lot of unique containers for the flowers from vintage to new. I start from what will look best in the container and work the arrangement from there. I also include a lot of other embellishments such as butterflies, birds or beading in my designs.
Winters are long and dark in Minnesota and being able to work with flowers inside during this time period is especially gratifying. I get to bring summer into my house while I’m viewing winter right outside my door. With four seasons here, I also have the best inspiration for creating seasonal arrangements too.
What inspires your work?
My mom is inspired by the love of textiles. When she’s selecting her color combinations and I see her finished products, I can see that she possesses a talent that I don’t have.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
This next year, I would like to focus more on better visibility for the Etsy shop. We have great items available for the home or to give as gifts. I’m just not sure they are visible to many potential customers that are looking for them.
My dream for this business is to continue to brighten people’s homes with our creations for years to come. I have so many more ideas of items I’d like to showcase at NauticoCreations.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
Buyers have so many choices when it comes to purchasing similar products. And Etsy is filled with other shops of high quality goods. I think what separates the products in our shop from the others is the eye of the designers, and the lifelong experience we both have.
I started making floral arrangements in the summers at our cabin back in my childhood. My mom has been sewing for her entire life. She thinks everyone should own a sewing machine. I don’t have the patience for one. It’s our unique life experience and special look at beauty that makes our items look different than others, and is apparent when you look at our shop.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
Both my mom and I have two workspaces that we dedicate to the business. My mom has a sewing room and a quilting room. I have a photo studio/display room in my office and I like designing from our great room because I like the light and space there best.
Where can people find out more about you and your business?
Online, Etsy is the best place to see our designs and learn about our shop. If you’re in Minnesota, shoot me a note and I’ll let you know about upcoming craft fairs in our area too.
Why do you believe people should buy handmade, such as your products, vs. buying mass-produced products from box stores?
I think there is energy in what people make. A lot of people in this forum say their products are made with love or care. What they are really saying is that they are putting their energy into these products, which make them unique from mass produced products. If you want something for your home or to give as a gift that unlike anything that you can buy in the store, then shop for homemade.
I’ve been purchasing from Etsy for awhile now and enjoy the fact that I know the history of the item and a little bit about the person who made it. That gives me satisfaction that can’t be found from mass-produced products.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known beforehand?
How different it is to sell online than it is in person. I love having an online shop but didn’t give much thought to online promotion or shipping. In a storefront, people can see the beautiful items and take them with them when they leave. Photography, packaging/shipping and promotion weren’t given much consideration and are necessary in a virtual shop.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
It’s not just about creating items you love. You’ll have to dedicate time towards selling your items too. There’s a great community of sellers that will help you. Make sure to join teams and participate in the forums.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
Travel is my number one hobby. I love a new adventure. You can learn so much from experiencing different cultures whether in different parts of the US or abroad. It can help put a new perspective on your life every time you return home.
What is your favourite quote?
There are so many good quotes, but for this shop, what keeps running through my head is one from the Beatles. “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Etsy really does have a unique community. Sellers are supportive of one another and I’m pleased to be a part of that.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Thanks for the opportunity for your readers to learn more about NauticoCreations. Since we introduce different items each season, please visit the shop periodically to see new, unique gifts for you or a friend.
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.