Member Feature: Vadjutka

Contributor post by Cindy Humphrey of Cynhumphrey

Please join us in welcoming Judit Wild of Vadjutka, our featured member!

Tell us about yourself.

I am Judit Wild, a Hungarian jewelry designer, but I wasn’t born as a jewelry designer. I studied photography, journalism and sociology. I was working as a journalist and a market researcher for 15 years in total, and I slowly changed to making and designing jewelry.

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

I opened my Etsy shop 10 years ago, in February, 2008.  At that time I was already making jewelry for 6 years, as a hobby, and I wanted to have a consistent online presence.

 

Tell us a bit about your products.

I design and make jewelry. You can see my sterling silver work in my Etsy shop.  I love to combine all sorts of materials. My newest love is plexiglass, and it goes with sterling silver very well. Back in the time of opening my Etsy shop I was using glass beads, fused glass pendants, later fabric, and then wood.

What inspires your work?

My greatest inspiration is the sea / ocean, and the sky above.  My main aim is to express feelings via my jewelry, so anything can inspire me from food to buildings and nature.

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

I have a small shop in Budapest (capital of Hungary, my home) and my plan for this year is to have only silver jewelry in my shop. Currently I have the fabric / wooden jewelry as well as the silver ones.

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

Honestly, I have no idea. I haven’t seen too many people so far combining sterling silver and plexi.

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

Yeah, I have a shop in the heart of Budapest, and I make my jewelry there. For the sterling silver jewelry line I work in a different studio, that is suitable for silver smithing.

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

Many-many things. Actually it is a constant learning process. I will try to highlight a few.
1) Being persistent and patient.
2) One should really mind his/her own business, and not look at others too much.
3) Balancing between my own way (artistically) and what people like / want.
4) Listening to my gut feeling. Rational decisions are important, but one cannot neglect the gut feeling.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

I think that being active on 1-2 social platforms is essential for any online businesses. I chose Instagram and Facebook for myself, because they suit me the best. Others may prefer other platforms. The main point is, that the platform you use, suits your skills. (I am strong in photography, but not in 160 characters texts, so Twitter is not for me.

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

Photography, dance and cooking.

What is your favorite quote?

You get in life what you have the courage to ask for. (Oprah Winfrey)

You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path and that will make all the difference. (Steve Jobs)

Where can people find out more about your business?

I have a website: http://vadjutka.hu/eng/about-myself/
A Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vadjutka.design/ (mostly in Hungarian)
An Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/vadjutka/ (mostly in English)

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Thank you for reading this through!

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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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Member Feature: Claudia Marie Felt

Contributor post by Cindy Humphrey of Cynhumphrey

Please join us in welcoming Claudia Marie Lenart of ClaudiaMarieFelt, our featured member!

Tell us about yourself.

I am a self taught needle felt fiber artist, children’s book author and illustrator.  My career was as a community journalist, but I always practiced some form of art. I’ve played with watercolor painting, sketching, colored pencil drawing.  I also learned all the handwork arts as a child – embroidery, crochet, knitting, and sewing. When I discovered needle felting, I knew I had found what I was meant to do.

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

Claudia Marie Felt was born in 2012, but I had an Etsy store previously in which I sold vintage and antique picture books. When I started needle felting, it was natural that I would start offering my items for sale. My first pieces were bunnies and flower fairies. I was felting as a hobby back then as I was working full-time as a journalist.

Tell us a bit about your products.

My creations fall into three categories, needle felt animal sculptures, angel and fairy dolls, and wool paintings. My animals are known for their realism and character. I focus a lot of energy on their faces and I use soft fibers like alpaca, cashmere, mohair and yak. My Waldorf angel tree toppers are very beautiful and distinct. My wool paintings are fairy tale interpretations or they show children playing outside in the seasons.  My Waldorf Seasons wool painting actually inspired my book “Seasons of Joy: Every Day is for Outdoor Play.” It was illustrated with dreamy wool paintings that show children joyfully playing outside through all four seasons.

What inspires your work?

I am inspired by my love of nature and animals. As a young adult, I worked in three national parks out west and observed wildlife up close. Today, I enjoy hiking in the woods with my dog and I often see the regional wildlife – deer, chipmunks, cottontail rabbits, red-tailed hawks and various birds. The animals I see in my backyard tend to be my most popular felted items.

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

I’d like to grow the print side of my business. I also aim to continue to improve my work and to create some new amazing designs.

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

My customers tell me they like how I capture the personality of animals. I spend a lot of time felting the details of the animal’s face, especially the eyes. My angel tree toppers are distinct and customers have told me that they are the most beautiful.

needle

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

I have an open floor plan in  my house, so my work space is a corner surrounded by windows, with a couch, a table and a cedar chest overflowing with wool.

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

To account for all the costs when pricing an item, the time it takes, the supplies, the fees and even the time you spend marketing. Don’t undersell yourself.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

My advice would be to always do your best work and also always aim to improve. Reply to customers promptly and always be extremely polite.

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

I like outdoor activities — hiking in the forest preserves and kayaking on the lake. To relax I play guitar and read. My favorite books are novels with a touch or fairy tale.  I also enjoy playing with my dog, gardening and spending time with family.

What is your favorite quote?

“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” St. Francis of Assisi

Where can people find out more about your business?

Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudiaMarieFelt
Website: http://www.claudiamariefelt.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudiaMarieFelt
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/claudiamariefelt

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

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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.

Member Feature: YEHsProduction

Contributor post by Cindy Humphrey of Cynhumphrey

Please join us in welcoming Adele of YeHsProduction, our featured member!

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Adele. I am a stay at home mom with four little kids. We used to live in California but relocated in 2015. We currently are serving in a missionary school in Taiwan. We enjoy our new chapter here. There is so much to explore and learn from.

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

Everything started when I had my first baby. I was a social worker before being a wife and mom. When I got married and soon got pregnant with my firstborn, I know I had to stay at home. I want to spend every moment with her. That’s my best investment! So I put my professional career aside and picked up my crafty tools.

After my first baby was born, I felt I had endless ideas! I felt like I want to hand make everything I can for her. That’s about the time I knew about ETSY.  In 2011, I opened my first shop!

Tell us a bit about your products.

Originally I only sold kids related items, such as baby hats, hooded cowl, and etc. with some canvas panel works in between. But mostly, they are all kids related items. Then, I got a chance to design some cast iron pot knob covers for my friend. So you can see some of that in my shop too. Until recently, I started to make aroma stone. I like things that smell well. So when I first learned about aroma stones, I just had to try. Now in my shop, you can see aromatherapy home decors, jewelry, car vent diffusers and even wedding favors and place card holders. I am very excited about my new work.

What inspires your work?

I would definitely say, my kids! Just by watching them grow, gave me tons of ideas. I just don’t have enough time to make all of my ideas come to life. Etsy is a way to share my creations with people.

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

Moving overseas is definitely a big challenge for my Etsy business. My shop has been very slow since we moved to Taiwan. Many potential buyers would show their interests at first, but decided not to purchase due to the shipping time and many other reasons. This year I am hoping I can win back some people by listing some “ready to ship” items.

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

I design all my products. From yarn to plaster, from hats to home decor, I made the designs my own. Therefore you can’t find anything like this in other shops. Also, the time I spent in each product and the detail-oriented work is definitely not something you can find anywhere.

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

I do and I don’t. I have storage with all my craft supplies in my laundry room. But I do most of the work at my dining table.

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

I had no knowledge of marketing. I remember before I opened my shop, I thought I just have to keep knitting and that is enough. I didn’t know that making my shop seen is even more important! Even now I am still learning how to promote myself via social media. I am definitely not born to be a business woman.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Do not be discouraged at first. Build up your inventory and accumulate your ideas and experience. Also observe other Etsy shops, and try to find your own style and pace.

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

I love to sing, more specifically, harmony. So I would pick up any song and start to harmonize with it. I can sing almost any part. I love doing that.

What is your favorite quote?

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23

Where can people find out more about your business?

You can follow me via Facebook page Yarn and Everything and IG Yarn and Everything 

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Do not limit yourself. But also do not be too confident with everything either. Know your inner self, know your limitations, and keep strengthening it. And remember no matter what the result is, keep your eyes on the one above. He will guide you and lead you.

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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.

Member Feature: TheLoveStory

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Tamara And Mary of TheLoveStory, our featured members!

TheLoveStory

Tell us about yourself.

We are Mother & Daughter, Best Friends and Business Partners who love what we do. We have so much fun working together, which is what we believe has contributed to our success.

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

We started The Love Story in May 2012 because both my mom (Mary) and my dad had lost their jobs and I was a stay at home mom wanted to help. My mom, on her free time, was knitting for charity and so I looked online to see if she could sell some of her items on line and came across Etsy. We realized then that it would be a great opportunity to work together once again. We saw that there was a heavy wedding presence on Etsy and we love weddings, so we did our research and that’s when The Love Story was born.

Tell us a bit about your products.

We sell everything from jewelry, wedding garters, one-of-a-kind evening bags, baby headbands and accessories, shoe clips and much more.

We take great pride in our products and make sure that we use only the finest materials. Most all of our products are made for special occasions so it’s of the utmost importance to us for our clients to look and feel like a million bucks!

What inspires your work?

We are inspired by two things:
1. LOVE~ The name of our store is no coincidence. We believe that Love makes everything better.
2. OUR CUSTOMERS ~ All of our customers inspire us to be creative because most everything we make is customizable and it’s such a joy to work on something so special for someone and watch it come to life from just a vision.

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

Expanding our collection!! Last year we joined forces with DIYCRAFTSHOPPE to broaden our collection. In order to keep our prices down for our customers, we have to buy in bulk (which means a lot of product sitting on our shelf) so we decided to start another Etsy shop which allows us to sell the same great quality supplies that we use to our DIY friends!

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

At The Love Story we like to offer a variety of items. We don’t just sell one item, we sell accessories that compliment each other. We try to be a one stop shop for that special occasion coming up and/or a place to find the perfect gift for that special love in your life!

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

We first started out in an extra bedroom in each of our homes. We quickly outgrew them and moved into a beautiful studio that we are probably going to enlarge again very soon.

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

We have owned a few businesses together over the years so we were pretty prepared, although the one thing that we are still learning is how powerful Social Medial is and how important it is to stay active on all of the social platforms.  But we are doing our best to keep up!

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

We would highly recommend selling on Etsy! From a back end business aspect, you couldn’t ask for more. Etsy provides so many critical tools to keep you on track financially. And as for advertising, they dominate on Google so you have a great opportunity to get views. They make it seamless to operate on other platforms in order to grow your business and keep your website all together. It really is the best place to market your business on the internet!

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

We are fortunate enough to live on a private lake in Northern California perfectly situated between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. So, needless to say when the weather is nice and we aren’t overwhelmed with orders we love to either take our kayaks or houseboat out on our lake and enjoy the sunset or take a fun trip to either San Francisco or beautiful Lake Tahoe.

What is your favorite quote?

“One kind word can change someones entire day.”
~Anonymous~

Where can people find out more about your business?

We are doing our best to make it easy to find us either on Etsy (of course), Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and our outdated blog. (Not enough time in the day!)

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Etsy CIJ for inviting us to be a featured team member on their blog! We are truly honored to be included and would like to wish everyone a lifetime of love & happiness.

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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.

Member Feature: beckyspillowshop

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Becky of beckyspillowshop, our featured member!

beckyspillowshop

Tell us about yourself.

Hi, I am Becky.  I am 56, and live in West Virginia.  Even though I live in WV, I am a Virginia girl, born and raised there.  I have lived in NC, Texas , and I  even lived West Africa where I was a volunteer missionary for a year.  I make decorative pillows, tote bags, handbags, aprons for adults, kids and toddlers, drawstring backpacks, infinity scarves, pouches, place mats and table runners. My shop is called “Becky’s Pillow Shop”.

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

I started my business in May 2008, after I had just gotten a sewing machine for FREE, and I started making pillows just for fun.  I needed something to keep me busy, as I had just finished chemo-therapy after having breast cancer. I kept making pillows and started to sell them.  It started out, very simple and more of a hobby, and then I started expanding by teaching myself to make aprons, tote bags, and more.  Just a year after I started my business, my husband died from a freak work related accident, and so my business became good therapy for me. It kept me busy. I started out with a small web site and then started doing craft shows and other vendor events.  I joined Etsy in 2013.

Tell us a bit about your products.

I make decorative pillows, as well as pillow covers and tooth fairy pillows.   I like to use recycled materials and have made aprons from T-towels or men’s shirts,  bags from skirts, etc. I do custom orders as well.  I also like making my own designs.  See my make up bags pictured.   I make table runners, place mats, handbags and shoulder bags, laptop bags, pouches, and drawstring backpacks. Recently,  with the help of a friend who is a photographer who sends me pictures of Montana wildflowers, I started making decorative wildflowers, but putting them on homespun fabric.

What inspires your work?

I try to think outside the box, especially when it comes to making things from recycled or upcycled items. Sometimes if I have just a small amount of fabric, I try to think of what I can do  with it, even if it is just pockets for a kid’s denim apron.  I like looking at home decor magazines to get ideas on matching and mixing colors and patterns.  I have found some Bible verse fabric which I have used for pockets on the  outside of a Bible tote bag.

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

I hope to start having more Etsy sales each month, enough to supplement my income each month and help me pay certain bills.

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

I like to have a variety of items, and not just concentrate on one or 2 items.  I keep my prices reasonable, in hopes to keep people coming back to buy more.  I like to used upcycled materials when I can.

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

A few years ago, after my husband passed, I made the Master bedroom into my shop where I have my work space, and store materials as well as finished products.  I have an L shaped desk, with my sewing machine on it and a hutch with lots of storage space for thread, patterns, and sewing materials. I also use a hutch for displaying my pillows, and other items as well as storing shipping supplies and vendor set up supplies.  I have shelves for pillows, cork boards and a coat rack for hanging bags, and my closet is where I store fabrics and hang aprons.  I also have my laptop and printer and 2 big work tables  in the shop.

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

I wish I had known about how to price items before I opened my business.  I tend to price too low, and have recently learned a much better way to price them.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Make sure you have good quality pictures, and that you don’t price your items too low because people will think they are cheap.  Also, make sure you have a banner across the top of your site and keep 4 featured items at the top.  It leaves a better impression on people who visit your site.

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

I enjoy spending time with friends, watching movies, and organizing my house.

What is your favorite quote?

It takes both the rain and the sunshine to make a rainbow.

Where can people find out more about your business?

Etsy Shop: beckyspillowshop

Facebook:   beckyspillowshop

Twitter:   @beckyspillows

Pinterest: beckyspillows

Instagram:  @beckyspillowshop

Blog:  beckyspillowshop

WebSite:  beckyspillowshop

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

One thing that I have learned is when people try to suggest things for you to make for your business, is that you know what you like and what is best for you.  Don’t try and take every suggestion to heart.  People are always trying to give you suggestions as to what you can make , they are just trying to help, but you know best what you want for your business, and what sells, and you don’t have to try and  please everyone.  Do what makes you happy and what sells. It’s good to have a variety of items, without having too many different things.

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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.

Member Feature: GypsyMadonna

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Robin of GypsyMadonna, our featured member!

GypsyMadonna

Tell us about yourself.

Born in Canada, I entered the crafts business at the ripe old age of 12! I was taught beadwork by a member of the Squamish Indian Band Tribe (of North Vancouver) and from there, I managed to experiment with every crafting technique available. I had the great fortune in having an Art Teacher who decided to expand the curriculum from painting, drawing and clay to encompass all the handcrafts popular at that time – tie dying/batik, candle making, leather work, macrame, weaving, doll making – you name it, I tried it. I think I drove my parents nuts with wanting craft supplies for my Birthday and at Christmas and finally I just had too much finished product. My father suggested I try a local craft show to see if my finished product would sell. Well, it did and that was the beginning of my lifelong love affair with creating and selling my handiwork!

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

My business really started in 1965 and continues to this day. But if we are talking about when I did decide to open an ETSY shop to showcase my work, well, I think that was around 2010. I also sell antiques and collectibles as well as jewelry on my other site, RobinsNestMidwest, and that business has been around since 1984 though only on ETSY since 2006.

The photo I show was taken in 1969 when a group of my friends from High School decided to take space in a Pier One-like shop at the bottom of Lonsdale – a major street in North Vancouver, B.C. The shop sponsored at craft fair and “my group” was one of the first to sign up!

Tell us a bit about your products.

I love Christmas BUT my heart is with the Victorian era as well as with Retro Modern, 1960s Made in Japan items. So my I have many different lines when it comes to my crafting. My first line is Antique Victorian Revival using ANTIQUE components from the late 1800s, paper, fringes, fabric, beads, etc. My second line is Retro Modern Revival using vintage chenille, tinsel, glitter, paper, etc. My third line is crafting ribbon roses using antique ribbon and modern – the designs are based on those of the French Art Deco era. And my last line, well, it’s hard to explain. It’s Religious with a very soft, feminine feel. I love creating First Communion items using as many antique materials as I can – I restore, I repurpose and I copy. These projects are varied and may be as simple as a card with images or a complicated design utilizing larger components such as crosses, frames and specialty paper. I still experiment with other ideas and while some may work, others may not. So my shop can be filled with many a prototype but most all of my work is ONE OF A KIND!

What inspires your work?

Victorian images inspire my work as well as looking at other designers’ creations. I love the Belle Epoque era of Edwardian France and I also use that inspiration for my creations. And yes, I can’t forget the Japanese ornaments from my youth!

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

Selling on the Internet is my livelihood so at the ripe old age of 64, all I want to do is to continue with what a do – sell my product, make a living and hope, one day, that some company will like my work enough to give me a chance at reproducing my work on a larger scale and offering it to the world market. Well, I can dream, can’t I!

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

I don’t think anyone sells a “similar” product to what I make. First, it’s too hard to find the components – I have been collecting for near on 40 years now and my condo is overloaded with parts. Second, I think you have to have a real “feel” for working with antique items and coming up with a “revival” look. Most of the product in my shop is ONE OF A KIND – the original pieces used to build my foundation for my product. While I can keep a Library of past designs in a folder, I never like to “recreate” an item. I love to experiment too much and if an item I make doesn’t pass MY critical eye, I will tear it apart and start again. With antique parts, you have to be extremely careful not to let even a single bit of paper go to waste.

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

My studio is currently the second bedroom in my condo. It was always intended for use as a studio as well as a computer room and work room. To say that I have now outgrown it is an understatement. So my raw materials are all over my unit – in closets, in storage areas, under my bed, any place I can find space to store my “stuff”.

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

The entire road to my business has been one of trial and error. I was on my first computer in 1971 when the computer was in a class room and the terminal was an IBM Selectric Typewriter! Computers have come a long way but since 1999, when I purchased my first computer, some things have never changed – have a good product, take pictures that, while maybe not the best, still show your product to an advantage, and last and most important, have a knowledge about what you are creating. I learned most of my trade by interacting with the public at craft shows. While I lived in Los Angeles, California, I sold to many a celebrity and the ability to converse was most important in the selling of my handiwork.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

It’s a hard climb – there is no doubt about it. You are competing with everyone who wants to sell their product on the internet and that’s the main obstacle. If you have a distinct product, keep your shop filled, offer excellent service and work at it, success can be yours. This “job” is not for the faint of heart. As my Father once told me, you are living by your wits and it takes a great deal of courage to have faith in yourself.

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

Believe it or not but my work IS fun! But when I do need a break, I get on a cruise and watch the waves on the ocean or I hop on a plane to England to visit the markets of England and France. My work is my hobby and I don’t think I would change a thing!

What is your favorite quote?

Have faith. Faith in yourself, faith in others, faith that you will succeed.

Where can people find out more about your business?

ETSY: GypsyMadonna

ETSY: RobinsNestMidwest

FACEBOOK: GypsyMadonna

PINTEREST: robinyeo

PERSONAL WEBSITE: gypsymadonna

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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.

Member Feature: Retired Lets Do Lunch

Contributor post by Cindy Humphrey of Cynhumphrey

Please join us in welcoming Karin Barnes of Retired Lets Do Lunch, our featured member!

Tell us about yourself.

I have been into paper crafting since my children we very small, so for the better part of 40 years.

I love the holiday season and all the old fashioned traditions that go with that time of year including making Gingerbread Houses and making my Christmas cards.

I taught gingerbread house making classes to school age children and have also made custom houses for family and friends.  They are SO much fun to make but, always seemed like a lot of work just to toss at the end of the season.  While baking was not my favorite part, I loved the decorating.

I don’t consider my self an artist. Wish I was, but I feel my “artistic” side led me into paper crafting.

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

I started Retired Let’s Do Lunch in the later part of 2005.  I had just retired after 18 years as a director at a very busy non-profit company and my husband jokingly told friends my new mantra was “retired let’s do lunch”.

My love for making gingerbread houses sans the baking part and my love for paper crafting lead me to creating a house using chipboard.   With the help from my kids I found a vendor to create dies from my designs, then another vendor to punch out the houses. I literally “weeded” the chipboard sheets and packaged them into kits at my kitchen table.  In the beginning I stored all my inventory under my bed until my husband added closets and a mailing station in our garage.

I sold at tradeshows and art fairs for a few years then discovered Etsy.  The best part of selling on Etsy is the connection you make with your customers.

My original thought was to decorate the little houses with paper.  We didn’t have access to all the wonderful die cutting machines available now. So all embellishments were cut by hand.

I created the Iddie Biddie for the main purpose of having a little house that could be used as a Make & Take project at Art Fairs and Tradeshows.  It soon became my most popular kit.

Later I learned that with a little prepping the chipboard would hold Royal Icing and that opened up a whole new use for these little kits.

Tell us a bit about your products.

The houses are die cut  from heavy weight chipboard.  They have a unique scoring so they make up quickly with nice sharp corners.  Because they are made from Kraft colored chipboard they resemble gingerbread, but easily take decorative paper and/or paint.  They can be used for any season.

They are incredibly durable and even the ones with Royal Frosting will last for years.

What inspires your work?

Other artists!

When I attend art fairs and bazaars and I see adorable doll houses or little fairy houses. I am always thinking how that could be incorporated into a gingerbread house.

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

Well, I think before I really retire, I would of course, love to see my product in some of the Big Box crafting stores.  Would love to leave that for my kids and grand kids.

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

Because the customer assembles the house, they come flat and are inexpensive  to ship.

They are die cut and scored for easy assembly. I also think the durability of the little houses make these houses stand out over similar products.  Once assembled they are ready to decorate and can last for years.

It is an easy project for school teachers and families at Christmas time – no more gluing graham to empty milk cartons.

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

Before my husband retired we lived in a 4 bedroom house.  So, it was easy to turn one of the rooms into my studio.  When he retired we wanted to simplify our life so we moved into a 55+ community where there were plenty of activities to keep both of us busy.  It also meant a smaller house.  We downsized to a 2 bedroom house. My studio now doubles as a guest room.  I have a day bed surrounded by Armoires that hide all my supplies and shelves filled with decorative shoe boxes.  It is fun and cozy.

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

That not everyone will love and “have” to have your product.  And, that is OK.

I am also learning to diversify a little more.  My shop doesn’t have to be about just the little houses.  I recently got into flower shaping and love sharing that on handmade greeting cards.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Pay attention to your customers.  If you get a complaint, address it and make it right.   A happy customer is your best advertisement.

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

Play games.  I  have learned to play Mah Jong.  It is a very challenging game that keeps you thinking.

My husband and I also love playing board games with our grandkids.  Since they are older now some of the games are challenging to us as well.

What is your favorite quote?

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass – it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Where can people find out more about your business?

www.RetiredLetsDolunch.com

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Only thank you for considering me to be featured.

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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.