I came across Gifts Define for the first time doing a “pounce” on etsy. I decided to pick my favorite person from the ten people who came up and find out a little bit more about them. I couldn’t resist the adorable felt creations made by Irma of Gifts Define so I checked out her website and I’m SO glad I did. Not only is Irma uber-creative but her attention to detail is A-mazing! And as if that weren’t enough she offers a little something for everyone from baby shower & wedding favors, to pencil toppers, tooth fairy angels, and soft, huggable dolls to custom, handcrafted mobiles, the most adorable wall banners you’ve ever seen and, her newest addition, the go creative art box. I couldn’t wait to write her an email asking her to be our very first interviewee here on “Handpicked Handmade” – thankfully she obliged!
I am so excited to share her wonderful creations with you. And if you visit her blog before August 18th you can enter to win one of her whimsical “Conversation Birds” just by answering two easy questions!
Artist | Designer of Gifts Define
Where do you call home?
My home country is Indonesia where I grew up. In 2001 I moved to the U.S. to pursue my graduate school. Now, I reside in Tampa-Florida with my husband, Jeff.
Do you have a studio in your house/apartment?
I have a studio in my house. I converted our guest bedroom to become my creative studio/office and of course our home garage for my woodwork creations (which you can see more of at: www.gdfunktional.etsy.com)
What inspires you?
I’m lucky to be able to say that my work is my passion. Gifts Define is the extension of me, of my soul and resonates all of the creative passion I have for creating whimsical little treats that make people happy. I am so blessed to know that with every stitch of every treasure I create, I ultimately bring a smile to other’s faces.
How do you come up with the ideas for Gifts Define?
My hand-crafted creations are inspired by my wonderful childhood memory and an extraordinarily creative family I grew up with. I inherited the artistic skills from my parents, my auntie and my grandpa. I translated my childhood treasures into what Gifts Define is all about. Whimsical dolls, decorative fun functional creations I used to make, wear, play with and enjoy while I was growing up!
Design ideas can pop up in my head at anytime & anywhere from the colorful fabric piles I saw at the craft store, textile pattern, form and pattern in nature, cute pets, the theme parks, the zoo or the cartoons I watch on TV.
On top of that friends and customers often ask me to create a personalized one-of-a-kind collectable doll for gift giving or party favors. They will come up with some challenging custom-made doll requests, which on the positive note would motivate me to be more creative & innovative at the same time.
When did you start Gifts Define?
My love of dolls began in elementary school in Indonesia. My mom and aunt introduced me to the world of colors and creativity. While in college, I combined my knack for business with my joy of crafts by selling dolls and gift baskets with a friend. However, my studies took precedence and put our business on the back burner. I moved to the U.S. in early 2001 to pursue my graduate studies. To help cure my homesickness, I occupied my time with handcrafting. I once again began making dolls for friends and Gifts Define was born in August 2006.
Is Gifts Define your full-time gig?
Do you have a day-job as well?
I did. But 3 months ago I decided to take a break from my corporate job in hospitality industry and do what I really passionate of doing…full time creating and establishing Gifts Define.
How long have you had a shop on etsy?
I joined Etsy in July 2006 (to shop around) and start selling my own creations in September 2006
Where do most of your sales come from? Etsy? Blog? Flickr? Website? Word-of-Mouth?
Combination of all, really! I always ask customers where did they find us, and they’ve mentioned all of the outlets mentioned above.
What do you do to promote Gifts Define – on etsy, on your website etc.?
Etsy Main Showcase, Promo Giveaway for people who subscribe to my mailing list, Sending out product samples or advertise in prominent bloggers who can help you to showcase or introduce your creations to larger audiences.
Do you have any advice for your fellow crafters?
– Be committed to whatever you are creating, because when you love what you do and put your heart into it, it will reflect into your work.
– Always prioritize quality & craftsmanship – Staying true to the handmade nature of crafting, I hand-cut, piece, and sew each creation to a rigid quality standard, using the best & safe natural based materials like woolen felt.
Thank you again Irma for being our very first featured artist!
To see more of Irma’s work check out:
The main website at www.giftsdefine.com
Etsy v.1: www.giftsdefine.etsy.com
Etsy v.2: gdfunktional.etsy.com
Don’t forget to check out her Blog too: www.indollgences.blogspot.com