Member Feature: WitchesLairWreaths

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Laurie of WitchesLairWreaths, our featured member!

WitchesLairWreaths

Tell us about yourself.

I am a 3rd generation Floridian born in Tampa, Florida raised in Brandon, Florida. I am 50 years old and currently reside in Palm Harbor, Florida with my amazing husband Jeff whom I’ve been married to now for 15 years. Without his love & support, this dream would not be possible!  I must mention our sweet corgi dog “Lady” who keeps me from becoming a work-a-holic as, she requires her daily walks and rides along with me to the post office every time a sale is made in my shop. We have raised two beautiful daughters, Tabatha 32 & Alisha 25. Tabatha has blessed me with two beautiful grandchildren Carley 12 & Grayson 8 months. Thank you Jesus as I couldn’t be any more fortunate & blessed than I am!

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

My grand opening of The Witches Lair Wreaths was in September 2015. I decided to go into business for myself because I was tired of the rat race of working for someone else.  I am fortunate that my husband financially supports me. I am able to stay at home to run my business from my shop and commit to it as often as I need too.

Tell us a bit about your products.

In the beginning, I was making only wreaths and then I branched out and started making bows, centerpieces, swags & garlands in all sizes, for every Season, Theme & Team you can desire. My shop currently has over 250+ items in it. All hand made by me and are ready to ship out to you now. I have been collecting items for my art for many years. It could be a vase or a wooden tray, or a flower, a bumble bee pick, a ribbon, a gigantic pumpkin, a Marine plaque, etc. The next step is to do lots of research online for other items that coordinate with it and to help me to complete “the vision” that I have in my head of how my finished product is supposed to look. Once I have every piece in its place, I will assemble it to completion for my finished product.

What inspires your work?

My favorite Holiday’s are Halloween & Christmas! I was born on Halloween & that’s why I am “The Witch of The Witches Lair Wreaths”. I absolutely love the colors & themes of Halloween as, it keeps me young at heart.

I don’t usually make things too scary or gory but, I am proud of my Halloween vulture/skull centerpiece & my Fall/Fairy, pumpkin centerpieces. They are my original designs and are very unique.

My inspiration to open my Etsy shop is from becoming an empty nester & from the passion that I have from creating something beautiful with my own two hands.

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

My future goals for my business is to downsize the merchandise that I use to create my art with by spending more time working and less time shopping!

I am also, working on promoting a Etsy sale “Out with the old & In with the new”. Anything more than 3 years old in my shop will be marked down.  This will keep me motivated to stay up with the current trends and help me to move out the outdated items to clients at a cheaper rate as, the craft world is always evolving and so am I.

My dream for this business is for me to continue to grow and to reach for the stars with my creativity so that I can produce irresistible products that are one of a kind unique!

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

I try to be different and think outside of the box when I am searching for my materials to create something new. Sometimes, I purchase an item just to tear it apart so that I can use that “one unique piece” just to make it my own style. I use many elements. Like I might spray paint a wooden or ceramic candlestick just to turn around and glue it to a charger plate which allows me space for a beautiful flower scape at the base, for my centerpiece. I also, love hand painting and stenciling words to make my own plaques. I cut, stuff and sew material sometimes too for that finished touch. The key is to customize my work so that it stands out from others. I mostly use high end quality materials but occasionally I will find that “gently used” second hand piece that inspires me too. I do a lot of customization pieces for my clients because they know that I can deliver a product designed with their vision in mind that will look absolutely amazing! Please make sure to read all of my 5 star ratings from my happy clients whom I must thank as, none of this is possible without them!

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

My amazing work space consists of a 25′ x 14′ room that is devoted entirely for storing some of my crafting items and also, for my every day work space. Located along the walls are 2 large industrial racks to support my inventory like my incomplete wreath & garland frames, centerpiece vases, plaques for my wreaths etc.

I had a carpenter customize to my drawings, 4 solid wood shelves to hold my every day and seasonal ribbons. There are shelves on the front & back sides easily accessible with the casters on the bottom to allow easy access as I turn it around to see what’s on the other side yet it stays flush against the wall to allow ample floor space in my work area. The rest of my ribbons are stored in jumbo ziploc bags and then placed inside of a rubber-made storage bin labeled for the appropriate season. Then I place out in our 3 car garage until needed again. In the center of the room is my work space area where I have placed two 6′ tables & two 4′ tables to make a large “U’ shape and my executive chair sits smack in the middle of it so, that I can access my work from many angles. I have a 4 drawer mesh organizer that holds my “go to” items like a hammer, saw-tooth hooks for my plaques. So many types of glue for all types of materials. Markers, pens, several types of tape, push pins, sewing pins, spray paints, latex gloves, brushes, more paints, stencils, paint tape, pain saucers to hold the water. I have glitter & glitter glue & raffia tie & twine in every color imagined.

I have a wooden table on wheels that I use solely for my shipping station. It homes my professional scale that accurately weighs my items, a measuring tape to measure the boxes for approximate height, length, width which is mandatory for accurate shipping rates for my website. There is a large solid wooden desk organizer that holds all of my VistaPrint mailing labels, Thank you cards, envelopes, instruction sheet on “How to rate your item on Etsy” that I print out and mail in every Thank you card with every purchase. Flyers for my art classes at Hobby Lobby which I leave in the store and hand out for publicity. Gift tags that coordinate with my merchandise that I tie either directly onto my merchandise or onto the ziploc bag that they are packed in for that extra, wow moment. Packing & Fragile tape for my boxes. I located

My desk in my bedroom with a printer, printer ink, printer paper, along with a multi leveled tray organizer to sort out all of my business paperwork. I find it hard to work with stacks of papers waiting to either be reviewed, sorted & filed that is why I separated my desk from my work space! On my U table which is my work station I have my journal which I list every single item in detail & price as I create a new item. This helps me stay organized & offer an accurate sale price in today’s market to my clients.  I have a connected adjoining room to my main work space that is my “Floral room”. It displays my daily floral & current Seasonal floral. I zip tie each color of flowers together for that Season and then I zip tie that to my 4 metal grate stands. Each stand has two sides and there is a season on each side of these metal grates. This allows me to visually see & pick the floral that I need immediately without disrupting my work flow.

Most of my completed wreaths are stored on 2 of my duo industrial clothes racks in my garage. Each wreath is stored in a sealed tight XXL ziploc bag and hung for easy viewing/access. These bags are great to protect your wreath from any insects while in storage. All of my items are shipped in sturdy corrugated boxes (some new & some recycled) as there is such a large fluctuation in the sizes & weights of the items that I ship therefore, I have committed an entire 1 car garage area & another industrial rack to store my boxes and other packing materials like, Styrofoam, butcher paper, popcorn to assure that your item does not break during shipment.

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

I have learned that creativity can not be forced! It has to come naturally or it just isn’t made with the same amount of  love & devotion that it deserves. I have learned that there is no such thing as an accident but, instead its a learning curve/experience. I have also learned that because of the size of my items, most people at the craft shows won’t purchase my items. They are too large or too heavy to carry around and most people are too tired to return to purchase an item even if their intentions are good. I no longer set up tent due to these reasons.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Go for it as, It is an amazing experience to be your own boss but, just know that like any business it is a lot of work! You really need to do a lot of research before you take the plunge. I found it very exciting but, tedious as, you have to stop creating to do this and that is hard for me. It took me months of research and also, studying Etsy’s website and learning about the “How to’s”. It all comes together in time and it is so worth it!!! I thank all of the shop owners out there on Etsy that helped me “problem solve” when I was unsure of something, without your help the process would have been daunting. Also, locate the customer service help area so, when you do run into a problem, you can get expert advise not just a hunch. Best of luck and reach out to me for help anytime.

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

I enjoy being around my family & friends, cooking baking, sharing memories together! I catch up on house work that  I neglected during that “never ending” craft project. I go through my recipes, plan my week & hit the grocery store. We spend a lot of time cooling off from this Florida heat in the pool & unwinding with a drink in hand in our heated Jacuzzi. We occasionally hit the beaches and take Lady to the dog beach. Occasionally attempt to read a book. Garden my plants & manicure my assortment of plants in my Succulent & herb gardens.

My favorite hobbies are crafting, scuba diving, horse back riding, jet skiing, boating, fishing, hiking in the mountains during Fall season, decorating/staging my home.

What is your favorite quote?

“Don’t expect anything & you won’t get let down.”

Where can people find out more about your business?

Etsy: WitchesLairWreaths

Facebook: WitchesLairWreaths

Instagram: lkemp6133

Pinterest: lkemp6133

Twitter: lkemp6133

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

As an Entrepreneur, I enjoy teaching craft classes at my local Hobby Lobby store here in Clearwater, Florida. I have my flyer posted on my Etsy shop for all to view with the dates, time of classes and class information as well. If you live in my area, you can purchase my classes directly in my shop, just show up and have some fun crafting with “The Witch”!

Otherwise, come visit us in Florida and give me a call while your in town, to set up a private class anytime.

________

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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Items Of The Week: At The Beach

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Member Feature: SilverTrove

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Carol of SilverTrove, our featured member!

SilverTrove

Tell us about yourself.

I am a widowed mother of 3 grown children who have given me 6 beautiful grandchildren.  I live with my BFF and constant companion, Sadie, who is a 10-year-old border collie.

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

I opened my business in 1990 because I love creating and wearing jewelry.  I was a single mother of 3 young children at that time and I felt they needed me at home with them.  I took a huge leap of faith when I resigned from my full-time job to follow my dream.  Shortly after that I took 2 classes in silversmithing and the rest is history.

Tell us a bit about your products.

I offer a variety of sterling silver jewelry, all handmade by me.  I love custom orders because it gives me a chance to get to know my customers and create pieces that fit their personality and style, but I also have many ready to ship products.

What inspires your work?

Nature, the work of other artists and, of course, my customers.  I was trained by a Native American silversmith so many of my pieces reflect that style.

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

I want to expand on past successes and grow my business to at least double my sales from last year.  I hope to create new designs and learn new skills along the way.  I also want to teach some of the techniques I’ve developed.  I know many jewelry designers have been able to grow their businesses by selling their designs to manufacturers but I want to continue to make every piece I sell.

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

With almost 30 years of experience, I can offer jewelry that will stand the test of time and I back that up with my service and repair policy and 100% guarantee.  I stand behind every piece I sell which is why I have many repeat customers.

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

My studio is spread throughout my home, which allows me to have specific areas for specific tasks.  Being able to move from space to space and room to room is a nice change of pace and it works for me!

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

I have learned many things, but I can’t say I wish I had known any of it before hand.  Each learning experience has contributed to my growth and the development of my business.  For example, I had a brick-and-mortar store early on.  It was a great experience, but I learned that running a store takes a lot of time.  I didn’t have nearly as much time to create jewelry and it kept me away from my children.  Still, I’m happy I learned that lesson through experience.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Go for it!  It’s not as difficult as you might think and you may be able to develop it into a full-time career.

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

I love spending time with my family, gardening, cooking and studying the Bible.  I often go on nature walks with my dog.

What is your favorite quote?

Matthew 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Where can people find out more about your business?

In my Etsy shop or on social media:
https://www.facebook.com/silvertrovedesigns/
https://www.instagram.com/silvertrove/
https://www.pinterest.com/silvertrove

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I think other people love my work because I love my work!

________

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.

Items Of The Week: Door Decor

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Member Feature: OrnamentsByRebeccaT

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Rebecca of OrnamentsByRebeccaT, our featured member!

OrnamentsByRebeccaT

OrnamentsByRebeccaT

Tell us about yourself.

I love creating ornaments for every season and occasion. I think I discovered the world of crafting in kindergarten when they handed me my first piece of paper and bottle of finger paints… I’ve been at it ever since.

I also have OCD, Obsessive Christmas Disorder which I thank my grandma for. When I was five she bought me my first little 3 foot aluminum tree with pink pine cone ornaments frosted in white. I haven’t stopped since. The crafting and Christmas became a natural extension of each other. Much of my Christmas village is handcrafted ceramic houses I’ve made, as are many of the Santa’s in my collection.

With Pinterest came a whole new world of crafting to explore.  I have been sewing since the age of 8 and I became fascinated with the quilted Christmas ornaments.  I made two and haven’t stopped since.

It didn’t take long to realize ornaments are a year round thing. The spring and summer collection looks beautiful piled in a basket or hanging from a ornament stand. The patriotic red, white and blue are stunning accents to your 4th of July table or door wreath. Autumn… Halloween… Thanksgiving and of course Christmas. The possibilities are endless.

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

I first opened the shop in 2015 as a means to get ornaments to the people who were asking to buy them. I did not put a lot of time into it at first.  Then, in 2016, I was downsized out of my job after 28 years and found myself looking for work for the first time in more than a quarter of a century. Yes, that is a scary thought.  As I searched for a new position over the next six months, I had time to learn new ornament designs and really spend time upgrading the shop and my website. It was something I loved doing and my goal was to make people happy and never be dependent on another company for my livelihood.

Tell us a bit about your products.

I love the time and effort that goes into each, one from looking for just the right fabrics to go together, to the hand crafting of each unique one, to the finishing touches of glitter accents, bows, jewels and charms. I may use some of the same fabrics on several ornaments, but each finished ornament is unique… no two finished designs are ever the same.

I’ve been honored to make ornaments for a mother from her wedding dress to give to each of her children, memory ornaments from shirts and dresses of loved ones who have passed on, special pets who become family members, documenting life events like weddings, graduations and new babies. Realtors who give personalized ornaments to new clients with a picture of their new home.  Each is created with love to hold memories for years to come and to be passed down from generation to generation.

What inspires your work?

Anything… everything!  A walk, a painting, a song, other artists, a memory a new fabric or trim.  Stories people share with me are inspiring in so many ways.  Inspiration is all around us everyday.  We just have to be open to seeing it.

One of my favorite quotes is “Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”  – Mary Lou Cook.  I try to live life this way.

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

I am working towards making my business more full time. One of my major goals is to get back to my blog and share ideas, tips and tricks.  I have been very lax in this area.  In today’s eCommerce world we need to be on top of social media which is every changing.  I am also working towards getting more exposure on blogs and magazine features. A dream would to be have some of my pieces in a Christmas store and to continue to help my clients preserve memories of the special moments in their lives.

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

I try to treat every customer like royalty.  Providing legendary customer service is so important to me.  Honesty is the best policy.  If I do not feel I can give you a end result that you are going to love, I will say so.  I don’t accept a order just to make a sale. I always strive to improve the selection of my ornaments by introducing new processes and products. I stand behind my ornaments with 100% satisfaction guaranteed.

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

As your kids grow and leave home, new space opens up. A spare bedroom is now my studio. It is my creatively messy sanctuary. I am surrounded by things that inspire me and make me happy.  Pics of my kids and grand kids, a crystal sugar and creamer that was my moms, Christmas lights everywhere, pieces of fabrics and trims, gifts from friends, things my kids made in grade school. Every bit of wall space is filled with pictures. Bins filled with magical fabrics stacked on the floor. My kitty sleeps on the love seat while Christmas music plays on the radio. It is pure heaven!

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

The amazing feeling that comes when someone sends a message that says they received their ornament and love it. It is a indescribable sense of satisfaction that one of your creations could make someone so happy.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Just do it!  Don’t wait for everything to be right or perfect.  You will make mistakes and you will learn from them. But there is never a better time to start than right now.

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

Spending time with my family and I have a room in my home that stays Christmas all year.  I have a extensive Christmas village and I love spending time adding to it.

What is your favorite quote?

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.- Confucius

Where can people find out more about your business?

My website http://www.ornamentsbyrebecca.com/

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/OrnamentsByRebeccaT/

Twitter http://twitter.com/ByRebeccaT

Instagram http://www.instagram.com/ornaments_by_rebecca/

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/ByRebeccaT/

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Thank you for letting me tell my story and be part of the awesome EtsyCIJ group!

________

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.

Items Of The Week: Stripes

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

New Team Members: July

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming the new Etsy Christmas In July team members who joined in July! Take a moment to check out their shops, and share on social media using the hashtag #EtsyCIJ! Thank you!

Mindi Hinson from MindisCustomCreation says:

Hi all!

I have been creating and designing things for as long as I can remember. It hasn’t been until recently that I found my passion for wood working and signs. I am a wife and mother to four kids and four dogs. To say my house is hectic, is an understatement. The entire process of creating my signs is were I find my peace, my “me” time.

I was excited when I found this group. Not only does it give me a chance to get my work out there, but I get to see al the beautiful items everyone else makes that I may not have seen otherwise.

Thanks for excepting me to the group!

MindisCustomCreation

Patricia from IntricateAccessories says:

Hello!

My name is Patricia and I’m an Intricate Bead Artist & Street Style Knitwear Designer.

I started off by creating knitwear fashion and accessories for myself. As an Intricate Bead Artist, I have created many purses and pieces of art with thousands of tiny Japanese Beads.

Intricate Accessories was opened in March of 2017 and it really has been a positive experience. This year I hope to add some bead accessories.

I found a link to this group in the forums. I’m happy to be a part of this team.

IntricateAccessories

Gail from QuiltSewPieceful says:

Hi everyone! This is Gail from QuiltSewPieceful.

So, you can probably guess that I’m a quilter! I have been selling my quilts, pillow, table runners and more for 9 years. Gasp! Time really does seem to fly. My shop slogan is “Quilts for Holidays and Everyday”. I love to make items for holidays, but especially for Christmas. I seem to specialize in Christmas Tree Skirts, but also make lots of table runners, some wall hangings and a few lap quilts.

I discovered quilting over 20 years ago. I wanted a quilt for our king size bed, so I went to a quilt shop. I honestly thought that’s where you bought quilts. I was nearly speechless when I discovered I could make my own, by buying the fabric there, and they would even teach me to do it. I have been hooked ever since. Of course, it would have been a lot cheaper to buy the best quilt that I could find, than to take up quilting, but I have never regretted it!

Years later, I taught quilting classes at that same shop, and even was the shop manager for a number of years.

I sell on Etsy because I just can’t stop buying all the amazing new fabrics I find, and turning those fabrics into quilts.

Thanks for having me on your team.

This pattern is for a Christmas Tree Skirt that I designed.

QuiltSewPieceful

Margaret McKee Huey from MargaretandMargaret says:

Hey! I have been designing counted cross stitch designs since 1985! I have quite a few Christmas designs – especially stockings.

Here is one of my best sellers!

MargaretandMargaret

Barbara Hagee from SewTrulyMe says:

Hello! Although my shop says I’ve been open since 2009, I have only been actively selling for two years. There has been so much for me to learn selling on Etsy. The forums and teams are an incredible resource.
There is so much more for me to continue to learn. If I fail to successfully attach a sample listing, my apologies. One more thing to add to the LEARN TO DO list.

As I’ve gotten older, I started transitioning into making making smaller and lighter items. I enjoy the challenge of designing, sewing, and selling mini hats / fascinators.

I look forward to being part of the team. Merry Christmas!

Barbara

SewTrulyMe

Judy from PiecesOfMePaperCraft says:

My name is Judy and I’ve had my paper crafting shop since 2012, although I’ve been on Etsy since 2009. I previously sold jewelry for my daughter but closed that shop.

I started scrapbooking in 1998 and began selling handmade embellishments on ebay in 2001. I did that for a couple of years, then let it go when the competition started selling mass produced items.

My shop sells mostly handmade cards, but I also sell gift tags and DIY blank tags. My shop was closed from Sept. 2017 to April 1, 2018 while I underwent treatment for breast cancer. I’m healthy now and happy to be back.

PiecesOfMePaperCraft

Bobbie Ann Pimm from PimmCreations says:

Hi everyone! I’m into a little bit of everything. I started painting abstracts and then lamps from wine bottles, night lights, lighted/decorated bottles, jewelry and will be adding some pillow and other decorating accessories and home necessities, too. I mostly focus on Upcyling and Reusing to reduce my personal carbon imprint on the environment. This lamp made from a wine bottle and an acrylic skin represents me perfectly.

PimmCreations