Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I am a full time farmer, shepherdess, chicken wrangler, heirloom vegetable gardener, Deltiologist and an “as time permits” photographer. My surroundings inspire my photographic journey and like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz I have found contentment in my own backyard.
This is reflected in my favorite subjects of my photography – my farm animals, nature, heirloom vegetables and of course landscapes with a strong leaning towards winter.
Here is the link to my About page and there is lots more info there
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I swung open the doors, well the old barn door actually June of 2010 here on Etsy.
Some of the girls
Some of the other girls
Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
You know that great line from the end of The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy looks up at her friends and family and says something to the effect about “looking for her heart’s desire she wouldn’t look any further than her own backyard.” Well, my life is sort of like that…except I discovered I didn’t have the right backyard. So, after a 25+ year high pressure career, my husband and I chucked it all, sold the house in the big city and bought the farm…really…we bought a farm.
I shared a love of stamp collecting with my father. We could often be found pouring over scraps of paper leafing through catalogues and I’m sure to the uninitiated we must have looked like spies plotting our next great adventure. When he passed away it fell to me (means my sisters dump this on me) to dispose of Dad’s large collection of stamps, covers postcards etc.
I quickly found that it rekindled my interest in geography and history, two classes I should clearly have attended more often in high school. I have acquired some postcards of my own along the way and this is how I came to Etsy to share these beautiful vintage cards with others.
Tell us a bit about your products.
My vintage postcards and ephemera are the core of my business here on Etsy. Some are like works of art and others capture and preserve our history.
My photography allows me to share my little corner of the world with others with blank note cards, metallic prints and decorative pillow covers.
What inspires your work?
My passion for the past and my love of life.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
I actually do set goals for my business with the same dedication as when I worked in the “paying” business world. My goal is to increase my return customer base and help grow people’s understand and appreciate for the past of these wonderful vintage postcards. With my photography I hope to inspire a deeper appreciation of the world around us.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I try to educate as well as simply offer a product – the backstory to an item is important. I also tell a story beyond the facts. Sure an antique postcard may have good corners and be in fine condition but what is happening in the image on the front, what about the story and history of that building. My hope is to entertain and capture the imagination of the buyer – whether it is a postcard or a photography.
I try to imagine I am sitting across the table from my buyer and we are chatting about the item.
Above all, I strive to delight my clients in terms of customer service by going the extra mile and exceeding their expectations.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
What started out in the farmhouse as the second kitchen became the TV room which I quickly annexed and it is now my office. I’m pretty low tech – desktop computer, no cell phone and most days it is dial up access for my computer. I have a wonderful antique cabinet that stores my organized cards, and photos but it is not uncommon to find my treasures on the dining room table (for packing and mailing) or in the guest bedroom while I rearrange things.
Yes, I have a patient spouse and this doesn’t him in the least – he understands my passion for what I am doing.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I have sold on line since the late 1990 but what I learned on Etsy is that you can, and should form a relationship with your clients. Relationship Management will help with return business or referrals.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Do you homework – research and above all treat it like a real business. Just because a client cannot see your face like in a bricks and mortar shop, you cannot cut corners on descriptions, communication, packaging or customer service. Even if this is a simple sideline hobby for you – treat your shop and customers with respect.
Set goals but have fun.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
As a full time farmer there is not such time as “not working” or even a day off.
I unwind with my inside pets (two cats and one collie) and I love to cook.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
Where can people find out more about your business?
My About Page
And, of course a wander through my shop.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
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.