Member Feature: WorkbyAahlee

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Aah-Lee of WorkbyAahlee our featured member!

WorkbyAahlee

WorkbyAahlee

Tell us about yourself.

Growing up in Williamsport, a small city in north central Pennsylvania, I was encourage and inspired by local artists and art teachers, such as Eve Archer, Dr. June Baskin, Vicki Yeagley, Barbara Ertel, David Cillo, Robert Shultz, and of course, my family and friends. Most of my work from grade school through high school was 2 dimensional paintings and drawings. After finishing high school at Williamsport Area High, I decided to head off to college to further my art “career.”

Roanoke College, a small liberal arts school in Salem, Virginia was my next endeavor. While in college, my 2 dimensional work evolved into 3 dimensional work. Working with clay and various other materials, I was expressing myself through art like I had never before. During this time, I was mostly inspired and encourage by Professor Scott Hardwig. After four years, I received an art degree, and decided to ventured off to a new city with new hopes and aspirations.

Migrating farther south to Atlanta, Georgia, I ended up taking about a 3 year hiatus from art. My art had to take a back seat to making a living and getting myself settled in Atlanta. After those 3 years, I felt a need to return back to art, and so I began drawing and painting again. I began creating cards and other stationary 2 dimensional works by mail order and by word of mouth. Eventually I put them on Etsy.

About 5 years ago, I was able to return to my love of pottery. So now my shop consists of stoneware works and decor.

I have also started about 6 months ago a new branch of work with some fun & silly glasses…now affectionately called “Ali Glasses”….I began running half marathons about 10 years ago and in the last 2 years started making these funny, silly & celebratory glasses to celebrate milestones in my journey to run a half marathon in all 50 states plus DC.  I would make for friends and other runners to help them celebrate milestones.  Eventually the demand for the glasses was too great to do for free and so develop the “Ali Glasses” jumping into my shop here on Etsy.

My company Works by AAH-LEE was derived from the pronunciation of my first name. I hope I can inspire and delight all those who see my designs and get my message.IMG_1687[1]

When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?

I opened my Etsy business in 2013….I was selling cards, calendars & other stationary via catalog, word of mouth and mailings and decided it was worth trying to selling them on Etsy.

Tell us a bit about your products.

My products are either stoneware plates, weave bowls, or clay sculptures and are all handmade and glazed by me.  The Ali Glasses are decorated by hand by me and customized for customers as requested.IMG_2163[1]

What inspires your work?

The clay work is inspired by the lake I live on….the water, the nature, the life that is around the water….the beauty and tranquility is awe-inspiring at times.  I have also been inspired by my home state and running all the 50 states.  The glasses were inspired by wanting to make people smile and  help them enjoy a running or life milestone.IMG_1175[1]

What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?

My future goal for my business this year is to continue to build my base of customers and my product offering.  My dream for the business is to make it a full-time business as of now, it is just on the side.

What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?

Not sure there is another shop doing Ali Glasses and as for the clay pieces…..I don’t see where anyone has done lake themed pieces or state stoneware pieces with the textures I use….the wood grain texture and the hand etching of the lake for the lake pieces……wood grain is my signature texture for many of my clay pieces….I believe that is what makes me stand out.

Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?

My work space is a community studio about 5 miles from my home and I have a small space in my house were I do the Ali Glasses.  It is nothing fancy at this time.  Hope to have a studio in my home’s basement someday or a small studio separate from the house in the back yard facing the water.

What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?

I have learned shipping supplies are the last step of the sale and it is important to have the right supplies to get the product to the customer safely and in one piece.  It is important not to rush this final step because if the piece is broken in shipping it is a lost sale and I am heartbroken.  So over protect your product for shipping is the lesson.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Just take the leap.  It was kind of scary at first, but it is really very simple and the cost is so very little.  It is totally worth trying.  Be sure to navigate all the avenues that can help get you notices.  Etsy has lots of helpful places to get advice and links to help you be as successful as you want to be.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?

Just take the leap.  It was kind of scary at first, but it is really very simple and the cost is so very little.  It is totally worth trying.  Be sure to navigate all the avenues that can help get you notices.  Etsy has lots of helpful places to get advice and links to help you be as successful as you want to be.IMG_0072[1]

What is your favorite quote?

Thoughts become things…..choose the good ones!

Where can people find out more about your business?

Facebook under Aah-Lee Designs FB page!

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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.

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