Contributor post by Alicia from AliciasFindings
Tell us about yourself.
I’ve been doing stained glass for over 15 years, and glass fusing for three years. It started by taking a class through my local community college, and I was hooked! I have been an administrator for a volunteer fire department for 18 years, and just recently left that job to pursue my art full-time. I’m very excited to have the time to devote to developing new pieces, and learning new techniques!
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I’ve been doing glass work for 15 years, and decided to try my hand at selling it in 2012 on Etsy. It has slowly grown each year, and now that I decided to pursue my passion full-time, I’m hoping to grow my business and add new types of pieces in the upcoming year.
Tell us a bit about your products.
In stained glass, I create suncatchers and larger panels/windows up to 2 foot x 3 foot. I also love to create 3D stained glass sculptures. In fused glass, I create ornaments, pendants, wall vases, garden stakes, and glass paintings that can be used for serving boards/trivets, or displayed on an easel. I also welcome the challenge of creating custom pieces. Stained glass involves cutting and shaping pieces of a design, wrapping each piece in copper foil, and soldering them together. Depending on the shape, they may also be framed in zinc or came. Fused glass involves cutting and shaping glass pieces, and firing them in the kiln to fuse/melt them together. Some pieces only require one 24-hour firing. Other pieces like bowls and plates that use a mold require two 24-hour firings. Different effects can be created in the kiln based on the firing schedule used.
What inspires your work?
Being born and raised in Maryland, my art encompasses a wide variety of styles that reflect the diversity of our area. We have beaches, mountains, big cities and small towns all within 100 miles and I love them all! As such, I jump from creating traditional pieces to abstract/modern designs and back again as the feeling strikes me. Stained glass is very enduring and lends itself to family keepsakes. I love working with customers to create custom pieces that mean something special to them, whether it be a pet portrait of their family pet, or a landscape of their family homestead.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
Now that I am devoting myself full-time to my art, my goal is to double the number of pieces in my inventory, and also participate in many more art shows to increase sales and my network in the artisan community. I also plan to take additional classes to learn decorative soldering and the lead came construction method so that I can offer new and different art pieces.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I believe that the wide variety of styles and pieces I offer make my business stand out from other stained glass shops. I don’t specialize in any one type of style, and I offer custom designs to meet virtually anyone’s needs in anything under a 2ft x 3 ft size. Variety is the spice of life!
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
My studio is located in my basement, and is an organized chaos of glass and supplies. The basic tools needed are relatively few–a glass grinder, soldering iron, kiln, and 3 or 4 hand tools are all I need to create my art. My “packing room” is in a spare bedroom lines with shelves for boxes, bubble wrap, tape, etc.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
Patience, and to never stop reading and learning about your trade and different sales techniques. Online sales is constantly changing, and you have to be vigilant to stay on top of SEO and social media trends.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Set realistic goals for yourself, and don’t expect to get rich quick! It takes a lot of hard work, time, and patience to learn and apply what you need to, and to continuously adapt as things change.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy hanging with my family and getting outdoors to hike or go canoeing whenever the weather permits! I’m also a big movie buff, and try to get out to the theater once a week (especially with the new comfy leather recliners they have now!)
What is your favorite quote?
I have found the most true and useful quote is one given to me by my training when I sold investments–“You have to ask for the business”. It is so true in all aspects of life. You have to ask for what you want, and don’t assume others can read your mind and automatically know.
Where can people find out more about your business?
My Etsy shop is www.stainedglassyourway.etsy.com Don’t hesitate to message me to inquire on custom designs as well!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Just that I thank you very much for the opportunity to share my art and aspirations with you!
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