Please join us in welcoming Lisa Behrens of sparkklejar, our featured member!
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Lisa and I am a 46 year old work at home mother, with two of my three kids still living at home. My husband and I have been married 21 years. I believe laughter is a medicine and coffee is one of the five food groups.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I didn’t decide to open a business. After failing miserably at pretty much everything I tried, I started again, only by not trying and went from there.
Having no expectations, I started selling a few things on Ebay in 2002. By 2006 I had exceeded my expectations (of nothing) and by 2007-2008 I had completely transitioned to Etsy selling upcycled vintage, mostly canning jars.
Tell us a bit about your products.
My items vary. Most of the hand made and upcycled objects have one thing in common. Gratuitous amounts of paint. Pink paint seems to be a favored color among the masses, even though my favorite color is black. I poly-set pretty flower decals on the gratuitously shabby painted items, and somewhere in there I sand and seal, and through this highly complicated process (infernal lie) I get the items you see in my Etsy shop.
What inspires your work?
Inspiration comes in many forms. My love of vintage jars and my desire to upcycle, recycle, repurpose and salvage, provide the motivation and desire to create something from something else. I don’t like waste, I think we live in a throw-away society, I try to make things that were once useful in their time, have a purpose again.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
As far as goals and dreams for my business, I actually don’t have many.
Another thousand sales on Etsy by 2016 would be nice. I feel going to work in your paint covered pajamas while eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon (and by peanut butter, i mean cool-whip) is pretty much living the dream. I am my own boss, I stay home with my kids, I can play my music as loud as I want while I work, and I can fire myself at will and go take a nap.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I think the fact I am actually a mason jar collector helps my listings stand out from other artisans and crafters who upcycle old fruit jars. I hope my love and knowledge of vintage and antique canning masons show through to everyone who views my shop. I also believe I have created interesting and marketable niche products that have unique elements and useful appeal.
Many of my items are one of a kind, which makes my shop ever-changing and attracts new buyers as well as keeps previous buyers coming back.
And having a little faith doesn’t hurt either.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
My entire kitchen counter is my work space, which works out well, because I hate to cook. Which also doesn’t work out well, because people need to eat (I tried giving my family cool-whip and a spoon, but my husband said that just wasn’t working for him, picky picky).
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I wish I would have had a better comprehension of how taxes worked when you own your own business. I wish I had not gone through an oil-base polyurethane phase (that was a disaster). I wish i had learned to keep acetone on hand before the superglue incident.Also, green paint doesn’t taste like lime jello shots, spray enamel outside, tetanus shots are a good thing, and everything said about glitter being the herpes of the craft world, is totally, arguably, true. In all seriousness, two very important things I have learned from Etsy trial and error (and angst and woe)…
1.Always take a non-refundable deposit for custom work
2. It’s okay to say NO
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
My advice for those just starting out on Etsy or thinking about trying Etsy for the first time, is to realize all the advise everyone is going to throw at you may not be relevant to you. What works for me may not work for you. There are basic Etsy-isms to follow, but at some point, you are going to have to see what is right for you. That is a perk to running your own business, you are unique and you need to show it.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I spend time with my family and friends, and way too much time on Facebook… but I justify it by telling myself its marketing… (denial much?). My hobbies are collecting old fruit jars, covering the kitchen counter in paint globs, cool whip dinners, napping, and hating unicorns.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is biblical.
(Hebrews 11:1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Where can people find out more about your business?
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I would like to thank the captain and leaders of the CIJ team for the opportunity to let me share a bit about me.
I would like to thank Linda from LandKBeads.etsy.com for helping me with these photos.
And I would like to thank my husband for loving me even though I’m quite the pain.
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.