Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I am a life loving person who adores creating. I can’t stop making things. I also love to sell things and can’t help but try to make more things that I can sell. I love living a life that isn’t completely dependent on the office life. A life that can one day travel the country freely.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
My business was very gradual. I first started with a painting of my own pet, Deja around 12 years ago. I then started selling paintings on Ebay and at craft fairs. I actually was on Etsy long ago, but didn’t invest the time into learning the nuances of the platform. In 2013 I resigned from my full time job as a legal secretary to jump into the world of selling on Etsy. Prior to that I had mostly sold from word of mouth. From there, I learned everything I could about Etsy to start myself off. This proved to be a wonderful experience and the sales and my shop have been growing ever since. I have also now just opened another Etsy shop for resin jewelry which is in its very beginnings.
Tell us a bit about your products.
I hand draw and paint each one of my pieces. My work focuses mostly on creating custom pet portraits using photographs provided by clients. Sometimes the artwork is a very straightforward replication of a photo provided and sometimes I really have to get creative with the pictures I’m given to produce a scene of multiple pets together or just go off of a really fun idea a client has. I spend hours upon hours creating each piece.
What inspires your work
My clients inspire my work! I love hearing their ideas, seeing their pictures and working with them to create something specific for either themselves or someone they love.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
My goal for my business is to grow it to the point where I can travel eventually while still creating art. I want to build it to a point where it supports me anywhere I want to go and I don’t need to supplement with part-time income.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I think that us pet portrait artists all have something to contribute. My style focuses more on realism, but I think it’s just a personal preference to what a client wants. I really try to work with my clients so that everyone is completely satisfied before shipment even takes place. So far this has been a success.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I have a large living room that I place my studio in. I like being a part of the every day life of our home and not secluding myself into a separate studio. I’ve always lived apartment life so this to me is very normal. I actually use the desk I had as an elementary school child. When I was little my mom found it at a garage sale and sanded it and stained it for me. It’s held up for 30 years!
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I wish I had focused on Etsy way back when it first opened. There was less competition then. I have learned though that there are plenty of customers for us all. You just need to grab their attention.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Do it! Why not? I do think you need to be honest with yourself about your product though. You must have a good product. You must have good photographs and you must take the time to learn about the platform and understand that it takes time like building any other business. If you have realistic expectations, obtain the correct knowledge and work hard (as well as have a great product), then I see no reason why you won’t be successful.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
Actually when I’m not working, I tend to make other things (to sell!). I started my resin jewelry business out of my free time. I also really love hanging out with my nieces and nephews and traveling, hiking and hanging out with dogs.
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.