Contributor post by Alicia of AliciasFindings
1. What is the name of your shop and what is unique about your shop?
My shop is called Rhodyart for 2 reasons – I’m from Rhode Island and our state nickname is “Little Rhody”, and I’m an artist.
There are a lot of card makers out there on Etsy. What I think distinguishes me from the rest is that I write my own captions for the front of the card which are often really silly and rather strange. I also am trying to reach a market that I think has been ignored by card makers – intelligent card buyers who don’t want canned verses that are too general. Instead the majority of my cards are blank inside (going against industry standard) giving people the chance to write what they truly feel.
I don’t like using rubber stamps to create my cards, and I’m continually trying to source paper and images that are different from the rest. My style is always changing – but there’s a basic format to what I do that stays the same.
I’ve spent months trying to define just what my audience/style is and it’s still a work in progress but I think it’s best to call what I do “shabby chic with an edge” or “shabby chic weirdos”
2. Where do you live and how does where you live influence your creativity?
I live in Central Falls, Rhode Island, which is the smallest incorporated city in the U.S. It’s a gritty little city with a chip on its shoulder (like the rest of the state). Rhode Island is a mix of grittiness and sophistication – lots of unis, museums, art galleries. It’s a conflicted place.
I live in a very tiny apartment so I have to adapt what I do to my space. It’s difficult to do large canvas work in my space so I work small (though I’m slowly working up to bigger canvases – I’ve made it to 11×14!). That affects my creativity because I usually have to think of a single message I want to convey that hits the viewer right in the face. Yet I need a subtlety as well. Hence the captions that reflect pop culture, underserved markets, and my warped sense of humor
3. What is it about having your own business that you love?
I’m still trying to admit that I have a business and not just a hobby or therapy (I have a chronic illness). There’s a line on a vistaprint commercial that expresses how I feel – something about ‘having a business but not being a business guy’. That’s how I feel.
What I love about doing what I do is being able to not have to run anything by a supervisor. I can take an idea and run with it. I may consult someone but ultimately it’s MY decision (and my risk) to go with what I want to do. I’ve fallen flat on my face a number of times. I’ve taken advice and run with it only to find that it doesn’t suit me.
I may be different from a lot of Etsy sellers in that I don’t expect to make a lot of money from what I do. In a sense it’s already my day job – I just don’t make money lol. I love it anyway.
4. What is your greatest business achievement?
Um, making that first sale and realizing that someone actually likes what I do. Seriously, one of my magnets making it into a Kardashian themed Christmas shopping list on E! Online in December 2014 was a major achievement. I didn’t solicit it but I think someone was trolling Etsy for items and I might have been one of the very few Kardashian themed items that was truly funny and different from the rest. (Victorian girl wanting to be a Kardashian).
Another ‘greatest’ achievement is that I’ve stuck with it. I’ve had the shop on and off since 2008 but only got serious about it in November 2012. All but 1 of my sales have been since then. Since I have ADD and my attention span is very limited, sticking with the shop is a big achievement for me personally.
5. How would you like to see your business evolve?
It’d be nice to sign a deal with a wholesaler. It’d be nice to have lines of cards in local shops. And I’d like to have a presence at art fairs locally. My dream would be a feature in American Craft or on the PBS show Craft in America. I’m not working actively towards any of that at the moment, I am just wanting to hone what I do and make it even
6. What are your social media sites?