Monday, February 9, 2009

in the cafe spotlight: herebirdiebirdie

Featured Etsian: herebirdiebirdie
Shop link:

Give us the basics:

My shop is here, birdie birdie. I'm based in Tacoma, WA, and I make one of a kind bags and cases from upcycled and repurposed fabric.

What’s your favourite smell?
I don't think I can pick one favorite smell! I love aloeswood incense, Virginia cedarwood, and the nicotiana flowers and nasturtium foliage in my garden.

How long have you been doing your craft?
I've been sewing for over 15 years now. I taught myself to sew making clothes for my doll when I was 8. (They were awful. But I still have them.) I started sewing bags about two years ago.

Who/What inspires you in your craft?
A lot of my inspiration comes from the fabric; I use these garments and pieces of fabric that have so much character. I also like to see what other people are doing with textiles in clothing and home dec, how they're combining prints and colors, how shapes and textures are combined in dishes and other objects.

What do you like least about your craft?
I have to buckle down and focus on one or two types of things to make! I found out it's better for my shop if I make things like bag sizes uniform and don't branch out too wildly with embellishments or shapes. In my ideal world (you know, the one in my head) I'd be sewing a zillion different kinds of things, painting, decoupaging, but in reality I have to put my nose to the grindstone and limit myself.

What’s a normal day for you?
Oh, truly boring. I parent two kids, one of whom is still at home all day, try to get breakfast and lunch on the table, walk my huge black Lab to pick up the older kid from school in the afternoon, hug and kiss my partner when he gets home in the evening, try to get dinner on the table, help round both kids into bed, feed four yowling cats and the Lab, and then put on my iPod and sew madly for a few hours. Sometimes, somehow, I find time to do a little housework, take care of my garden and make things that aren't for my shop.

What advice would you give Etsy sellers just starting out?
Well, I'm just starting out myself, but it seems to me like a lot of people have something they enjoy doing and imagine Etsy is a way to magically make money doing that thing the same way they always have. I think these are very rarely the successful sellers. I think if you want to actually make sales you have to study what sells well, and adjust your product accordingly -- and plan on setting aside and investing time and energy just for your shop on a regular basis.

How do you discover new things on Etsy?
I like to search for things that usually pique my interest: "bird" in the Vintage category is always dangerous and so is "vase" in Pottery and Ceramics. I click people's avatars in the forums, I notice people who like to swap and sometimes I follow the other favorites of people who hearted me. I found the most awesome metalworker recently by doing that.

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