Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Cheryl Cunliffe and I am the the owner, designer, maker and tea drinker at Chapel View Crafts. I have always liked food and started working with polymer clay 15 years ago and love recreating cakes and foods in miniature.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
It started as a hobby making dollhouse miniature food which I still make to a lesser degree. As I grew in skills and confidence I then started selling on the internet. Since 2014 I have been selling on Etsy and this has allowed me to sell to people all over the world.
Tell us a bit about your products.
There is a strong food theme running through my products. Mainly cakes and biscuits made in polymer clay which are textured and then turned into jewellery, sewing accessories, planner accessories and other polymer clay gifts. I also continue to make dollhouse miniatures but the craft based items are my focus at the moment.
What inspires your work
Colour and texture tend to inspire my work. I love making something look like it could be picked up and eaten, I like looking in cake shops and bakeries and thinking that I could recreate that.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
My goals for the business are for it to continue to grow, slowly adding to my product lines and being a success in what I do. This year I am actively taking part in some craft fairs to go out and meet people rather than selling over the internet and I hope this experience will give me ideas of where to take me in the future.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
It’s the attention to detail I believe that make my products stand out. I spend a lot of time behind the scenes mixing clay, practicing techniques and improving my skills. I think my background as a miniaturist gives me an eye to look at the small things and be as accurate as I can in my reproductions.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I have two rooms in my home I use for work. One is a studio space and one is a storage and packing area. I am lucky that I have this space to work in, I can walk into the room in the morning to work and then shut the door when I am finished for the day.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
Let customers help you decide the direction of your business. I started in one area food jewellery but in the past 6 months the business has started going in a different direction which came from a customer request and has proved one of my most popular items and sales to date. This new direction of needle minders and knitting charms is where my current focus lies but would never have thought of it before.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Read up on how etsy works in terms of search etc and then keep learning. Have fun customers on Etsy really appreciated the personal touch many sellers give as it’s not another auction site with massed produced items it is a collection of unique products made by unique people.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I knit and crochet and currently I am working on a cross stitch sampler.
What is your favorite quote?
I don’t really have a favourite quote but I have a favourite word – serendipity which means the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way, which describes my life perfectly.
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.