Contributor post by Elizabeth of CottageCraftsOnline
Please join us in welcoming Dawn Whitehand of DeeDeeDeesigns, our featured member!
Tell us about yourself.
I have been a practicing artist for seventeen years, and my main medium is clay, though I love using mixed media and recycled materials, plus painting and drawing. I have a studio at my home in Australia where I create my artwork and also teach ceramic classes to both adults and children.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I officially began adding products to my shop in January 2012. I was sick of attending markets and wanted to give online selling a try.
Tell us a bit about your products.
Most of my products are ceramic – tableware and jewelery. I love earthy and organic shapes and colours which translate very well via clay. All of my ceramic works are made by me in my studio, as are my glazes, so every piece is unique. I also love mixed media and recycled materials, so a while ago I began adding button jewellery to my store …. I have had a button collection for many years, so this jewellery is very precious to me. Painting and drawing is also a passion and this features in my shop on original art greeting cards which are ideal to frame as artworks after gift giving.
What inspires your work?
I live in a semi-rural environment so much of my inspiration comes from the natural landscape and the colours and textures that surround me in my everyday life.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
While I want my business to remain small – that is, I am the only maker – I would love to able to generate more sales so that it was able to provide a ‘living’ for me (which my teaching does anyway). But, of course, to build the business up in this way requires time – so I guess I would love more TIME!
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I like to think that the quality of my product is a stand out – also all of my work is unique and handmade…. that is within my ceramic practice everything is made by hand, no moulds are used, so each piece is individual. I am also open to custom orders and, I believe, offer outstanding customer service.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I am spoilt – I have two studio spaces …. my ‘pottery’ space where my kiln, glazes, clay, wheel and tools are, and a jewellery and design room inside my house where I assemble my jewellery after making and firing.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I think the biggest learning curve was top notch product photography – it would have been great to have this knowledge and skill from the outset. This would have saved a lot of time with redoing photos.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
I think doing some research first is the best advice, and checking out the tutorials on Etsy…. this will save a lot of time in the long run. For example, learning about SEO and product photography.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I do a lot of reading and writing, and when I visit new places I always visit the local galleries and junk shops. I also love to browse markets even though I am sick of them as a retailer.
Where can people find out more about your business?
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.