Posts tagged handpicked handmade

gathering moss….

I have found what I think are the most ingenious designs on Etsy! – that’s just my humble opinion. I cannot wait to get on over to the shop and buy one of these for myself…the only problem is figuring out which one to buy.

Adorn Jewelry:
Gather, Moss Square Ring

Set in Stone, Moss Pendant:

Rock Garden Ring:

Gather, Rectangle Moss Ring:

Gather, Circle Pendant:
This is the one I think that I have to have!

And if these aren’t your thing head on over to Adorn Jewelry’s Etsy shop and check out some of here other unique pieces such as her nest pendants.

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What’s Old is New Again….

Remember Hasenpfeffer?
I wrote a quick post about them a month or two ago after finding them on Facebook. Well Daniela was kind enough to do a more thorough interview for “Handpicked Handmade”. One of my favorite things about Hasenpfeffer is that their eco-consciousness. Daniela explains in more detail…..

Hasenpfeffer Incorporated
Hasenpfeffer.etsy.com

Location:
Camano Island, WA

Ships To:
Wherever a mail carrier will go

What materials do you use for your ECO friendly products?
We use just about anything that anyone else deems worthless for its intended
purpose. Usually it’s thrift clothing on its way to the dump, but we do buy
the occasional dead stock or vintage remnant. We use poly-dacron fiber fill,
but only because it’s hypo-allergenic and affordable. For that and our
thread, we buy American-made products. We don’t have a problem with imported
products–we have a lot, in fact–but most imported essential materials are
made primarily with cost in mind, and that usually translates to sketchy
labor and/or manufacturing practices. We can’t feel good about the things we
do if someone suffers.

Why did you decide to make ECO friendly products?
It makes us sick to see good things go to waste. Most people are
pathological consumers, and in their wakes they leave a lot of “garbage.”
Some of it really is garbage–cheap, low-quality articles that fall apart or
stop working. But then there’s a lot of stuff that no longer fits a trend.
That’s not true garbage. So we try to make enduring things from those
materials. In a sense we’re doing well by doing good: we’re giving people
high-quality things made out of stuff that would’ve become landfill.

What inspires you?
Seeing something like a shabby old wool sport coat come to life as a
critter. You can find some beautiful materials in clothes that nobody would
dare wear anymore. I don’t think people understand the energy and investment
required to make even simple materials, and to see them acquire a second
life is a gratifying thing. Then there’s the thought that we kept one more
piece out of a landfill. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s like eating an
elephant: the bites add up. If everybody took a bite, we’d really get
somewhere.

How long have you had your shop on Etsy?
Seven months (give or take)

Is this a job for you or a hobby?
A little of both–sort of like everything I do. I’m a graphic designer by
trade, but I chose design because it’s a lot of fun for me. So in a sense my
work is a hobby that just happens to put some jingle in my jeans.
Hasenpfeffer Incorporated wouldn’t sustain me financially…not yet at
least.

How did you get into your craft?
Curiosity. Well, that and it’s fun. I sewed a lot when I was a kid, and
doing it now reminds me. The curiosity part was whether or not people would
actually buy things that I made. I mean it’s a foregone conclusion that
SOMEONE will buy SOMETHING, but the success I’ve had is humbling.

Do you have any advice for fellow Etsy shop owners?
Find something that you love doing and do it. If you do that, you’ll find
success. I think a lot of people put the cart before the horse: they pursue
success and try to come up with a means to get there. There’s no passion
there. But if you do things success be damned, you’ll inevitably find it.
Then the persistence comes naturally: you’d do it whether or not you got
paid. And that’s really the key to success: passion and persistence. Of
course there’s that whole thing about making people fall in love with your
work, but that’s almost incidental–there’s a lot of junk out there that
people buy. If you’re passionate and persistent, your audience will find
you.

Anything else you would like to add?
Make your own reality. We’re so conditioned to buy into a mass produced
version of someone’s dream. What legacy is there in that? Just leave a trail
of neat stuff in your wake. If it sells, great. If not, at least the world
will be a better place for it.

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Paloma’s Nest

I came across “Paloma’s Nest” doing a pounce of “JUST SOLD” items on Etsy. A quick peek into this shop is all you need to see why! If you’re anything like me you’ll want one of everything! From the hand-stamped, ceramic bowls to the delicate, white ornaments and innovative, simple wood stationary the whole shop is beautifully put together and the photography is equally as pleasing. Go ahead take a look!

What’s your name?
Caroline, or, “Mami” to some. Contrary to popular belief, I am not Paloma.

Where do you call home?
Austin Texas. It is quite lovely here. I migrated here from Mystic Connecticut and earned my degree in Art and Design at the University of Texas. I have been here ever since!

Is Paloma’s Nest a one woman show?
Me, myself, and I!

Do you have a studio or do you work from your home?
My studio is part of my home; a separate building in my back yard, the “shipping” department” in what used to be a spare bedroom, and a lot of overflow on the kitchen table!
I love being close to my family while I work, but on the flip-side, it is difficult to STOP working and take some time off. I struggle to find a balance between work and home life; being self employed often means working twice as much and twice as hard- but it is worth every moment!
{*Excerpt from an email between Caroline & I* she says, “We are lucky enough here in Austin to have the country’s largest Green Energy program- our entire home and studio is wind powered- even the kiln- from turbines located throughout west Texas!” *Pretty cool huh?*}

Can you tell us a bit about your process and your workspace?
My schedule and my process is a bit cyclical- making custom pieces to fill orders, packing them up when they are ready, carrying the bundles (lots of bundles) to the post office and shipping them out, and starting all over again a few days later…pause, and repeat.
In between, I am constantly packing and shipping ready-made orders, and answering customer service inquiries. I believe that is the single most important thing I do for my business- emailing promptly when a customer asks a question. Especially in the world of online retail, customer service must be a priority- connecting with your buyers in a personal way so that they know they are purchasing from a real -life, trustworthy human being on the other end. I have created and kept so many important business contacts just by being open to good communication.

How did you get started?
I always planned on making a living from my art -“where,” “when,” and “what” were the questions…I began by selling my work wholesale to small boutiques and did so for several years. At one point I had a sales rep who displayed my work in a showroom. I had some wonderful accounts through out the country, but it was still never enough to make ends meet. I always had to work a “day job” and do my business on the side. Wholesale is so difficult, because you are making such large quantities of work, but are expected to sell them to a shop for usually half of your asking price. I became so frustrated with that and it began chipping away at the happiness in doing what I loved- my art.
So, when my daughter was born, I gave it all up completely- the work and energy just wasn’t worth it.
Then I found Etsy one day, while shopping online for baby clothes.
I was so smitten with the founders’ idea of creating a marketplace where the independent artist could make a living, and the belief that together we could all create a micro-economy based solely on handmade goods. I was hooked, and knew this was the place for me.
I put a few pieces I had in the studio up for sale, and they were gone in the first two days. It was Thanksgiving time, and the shopping season was ripe and ready for the taking! I figured I had better get back into the studio and make some more if I wanted to make this happen; in the meantime, photos of my work started flying through all of the blogs- back then I didn’t even know what a blog was!- and thanks to some fantastic media attention early on, my Etsy shop took off like wildfire. And now here I am not even a full year later, selling on Etsy full time without a free moment to spare!

What inspires you?
Knowing that the work I create will become a cherished heirloom for someone, that I am creating a piece of history with my own two hands.

Do you sell mainly from Etsy or do you also sell from B&M shops?
Etsy is my pride and joy. I am currently so busy with my own retail orders that I have to turn down many requests for wholesale orders- simply because I do not have the production capabilities to fill them at this time.
I do sell to select retailers- I am so lucky to get to “handpick ” those who I feel are the best match for my product line- and I especially love international brick and mortars, as often they are helping me to reach an audience that may not yet be familiar with Etsy.

You have well over 2300 sales! What’s your secret/advice for those Etsy sellers trying to sell and promote their work?
Create a brand for yourself , not just a product. Show a full line of items in your shop that are cohesive, that have a common thread running through them, so that buyers can begin to recognize your work and distinct style. Be sure your photos are top-notch and don’t even put them in your shop if they are not the best you can do. Complete the product with packaging and logos to give your work a professional edge. Be sure your company name is somewhere on every single item that leaves your studio so that people can find you again easily-and even better if they can do a simple Internet search to find you and your shop.
All of these things, combined with EXCELLENT customer service, is what creates word-of-mouth advertising and repeat customers.

How do you handle so many sales? Do you have a process you can share with us?
My husband calls me a “machine”…I love what I do, so that keeps me going. You have to be creating a product that you love and love to make, otherwise you will burn out very quickly.
Organization is key- utilize all of the tools Etsy provides for keeping track of your orders, especially the “check box” for shipped items/ payment received. My basic system is this:
I print out every order and put it in a binder- the printed copy moves through sections of the binder as it moves through the process of making the piece, packing the piece, and shipping (Paypal Multi-order shipping is a MUST for easy labels and tracking info on every single shipment). Once shipped, the printed orders are filed away and new ones fill their place in the binder.
I stock all of my shipping and packaging supplies in bulk; I recommend having on hand at least enough to pack everything you have currently for sale in your shop, so that if needed, you would be able to ship everything at a moments notice- you never know! I also have arranged my supplies in an order that makes sense for how and what I wrap- so that I can reach what I need easily and quickly and move onto the next one.
With the holiday rush coming up, I am busy pre-packing/gift wrapping all of my ready made pieces so that they are ready to ship ASAP. This way (I hope) I can focus most of my energy on custom pieces when things get really hectic around here.

What do you consider your “biggest break” so far?
That is a difficult question- I owe so much gratitude to the little guys- individual bloggers who have shared my work with the world from day one… I would never want to overlook their importance in the growth of my business. Each time someone writes about my work is an honor and a gift.
One major “break” for me came when Brides magazine asked to feature my “To Have & To Hold” ring bowl in their fall/ winter issue this year…that propelled my design into the limelight and I have been able to create a brand new tradition in the world of weddings with this one piece. I love thinking of how many children and grandchildren will someday use their parent’s ring bowl in their own wedding ceremonies many years from now. It gives me goose bumps!

Where do you see Paloma’s Nest in 1 year?
In one year, I will probably be doing much of the same, but in even larger quantities! We are expanding the studio space further to accommodate larger equipment so that there is nothing to slow me or my production down.
In a few more years, I hope to expand the Paloma’s Nest product line to include more home goods; my husband and I share a passion for wood and furniture design, and I have a special love of textiles…Who knows?

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The Tooth Fairies Have Arrived…

Introducing the *newest* item in the Muselady Shop
Stitch-A-Wish Owl Tooth Fairy Pillows!

There’s a small pocket on the back of each owl that’s just the right size to safely tuck a tooth and a note into. The pillow can be hung from a door or bedpost or it can be placed under your child’s pillow.

Of course when your little one loses a tooth they’ve got to write a note to the Tooth Fairy so I’ve also included a cute “Dear Tooth Fairy” PDF template with each purchase. It prints four notes to a sheet – two pink & brown and two blue & brown.

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Ravenhill ~ Matryoshka Softies

I found Emily Fletcher Moss of Ravenhill, while doing a search on Flickr for something totally unrelated (I can’t remember what) and I was instantly taken in by her amazingly beautiful, colorful creations! To say that Emily has an eye for color is the understatement of the year. And thankfully for us she is putting that to good use creating an inspiring collection of matryoshka softies.

My favorites, surprise surprise, are her Mama & Babies below.

Emily now lives in Oslo, Norway but was born in Massachussets. Most of her childhood was spent in Maine but in 1991 she moved to Norway where she met her husband while studying at the University of Oslo.

Emily began as a knitter but this past year she dropped the knitting needles in favor of the sewing kind and began focusing more on making these matryoshka softies. She likes selecting the fabrics, ribbons, and trims and deciding how each one will look. She loves to give each of them a unique expression and personality.


She has promoted her work through her blog, Flickr and recently she became active on the Etsy European Street Team.

She has a large collection of softies for sale on her Etsy Shop. In celebration of her One Year Blog Anniversary she is offering a free gift certificate to purchase any doll available in her shop. All you have to do is visit the blog and comment on her post by midnight Monday, September 8th!
Good luck, I’m headed over there right now to enter! : )
Thanks Emily!

Ravenhill Etsy Shop
Ravenhill Flickr Page
Ravenhill Blog

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