Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
“A maker with passion” is how I have been described. I am self-employed and have been for over 15 years. What I do, and what I sell helps me to put food on my table. I have lived in Brisbane Australia since my birth 53 years ago, although I have travelled quite extensively. I love to create. I remember as a small child making simple toys like swords and bows and arrows and using them to play out fantasy with my friends. A swashbuckling pirate, an explorer, the leader of an Indian tribe, I was many things during my childhood play. The fascination with making has stayed with me into my adulthood. The difference, I suppose, is that now I make pieces that are imbued with my own style and made with the care and accuracy of a craftsman.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
About 20 years ago an opportunity arose for me to make use of a large amount of timber that was going to be disposed of by a company I worked for. I took the material, turned it into a product and went to a weekend market. I sold out in a couple of weeks. I took the profits from that venture and invested in better tools and equipment. And so it began. For a number of years I had a day job and traded at the markets on the weekends.
Some years later I took the leap and decided to register a business name and apply myself more deeply in developing my products. In 2012 I saw an opportunity in ETSY to introduce my products to a global audience. I love they way that ETSY operates as a community and gives access to wonderful products from all over the world.
Tell us a bit about your products.
My signature item is my folding stool/side table. This item is the result of many, many hours of product development and prototyping. A truly unique item that is very well made, functional, versatile, beautiful and excellent value of money.
I make a wide range of other products that are both beautiful and functional. I also like to make things from off cuts of material that would otherwise be thrown away. My jewellery is a good example of this. It pleases me greatly that I can use small pieces of beautiful material to make items that enhance the wearers appearance. Because of the nature of the materials I use each piece is unique and individual.
What inspires your work?
The shapes you see in nature are a constant inspiration to me. I’m not a fan of hard looking, square forms. I have a distinct preference for more fluid, curvy forms that are soft and sensuous, both to the eye, and the touch.
My sleigh bed is a good example. Hardly a straight line exists within the piece. Completely made from solid timber, the technical difficulties and challenges of the make are difficult to overstate.
Architecture often inspires me as well. Both ancient and modern architecture contain line and form which can translate into beautiful furniture.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
The commercialization of my stool is my main goal. My Book Birds are soon to be available in a range of independent bookstores and galleries. I am working toward having my Book Birds and Jewellery range available in a variety of gift shops and bookstores.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
Quality and originality.
There is more to making furniture than nailing a few bits of wood together or screwing together a few sheets of veneered board. Even the smallest of my items are made to last generations. I encourage people to change the way they look at things they purchase. Globally, we have become quite wasteful and often have a disposable outlook toward the things we buy. I try to encourage people to ” buy once and buy right”. Great design is timeless, great making ensures that those designs carry on to be the antiques of the future. Things of value that can be proudly passed on to the children or the children’s children.
Good design + Great making = sustainable future
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I work from a small shed / workshop on my property that I like to call my “shedudio”. Whilst it is jam-packed with tools and equipment as well as my timber stock, it is a comfortable environment to work within. There is always music playing and places for friends and visitors to sit and chat. Often I work late into the night doing quiet work like carving or applying finish to products, sometimes with a glass of red wine in hand.
My “shedudio” is both a workspace and a place to relax.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I have learned how difficult it is to develop a complex product from scratch. A valuable lesson that I have taken forward in my design language.
I have also learnt to not impose deadlines on the design process. Sometimes it is better to walk away from a design problem so the mind can be free to think. I find it quite amazing how many times the resolution for a problem springs to mind when you are not thinking about it.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
If you craft or make or draw or paint you should get your products onto a global platform so the world can see, and buy. ETSY provides the opportunity to do that at a very reasonable cost. What have you got to lose?
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
Sometimes I ride my motorcycle far away into the hills, visit friends or go to an art show. Live music of all kinds gives me great joy and I like to get out and see new bands. Cooking is something that I enjoy greatly. I love to entertain friends with lavish feasts of food from all over the world. Indian food is a bit of a favourite at the moment.
My work is my release. I’m pretty lucky that the thing that puts food on my table is the thing that gives me enormous pleasure.
What is your favorite quote?
“My life is my message” Mahatma Ghandi
Where can people find out more about your business?
I have a web site under development at the moment and that should be live before the end of the year. In the mean time I can be contacted directly through ETSY or send me an email at email@example.com.
Facebook: Timber Dimensions
Twitter: Timber Dimensions
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