1. Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
My name is Melissa. I’ve been painting glassware for about 3 years now, though I’ve been doing arts/crafts in one form or another my entire life. I’m the daughter of a professional artist, so I guess it runs in my blood. Currently, I’m a SAHM mom to a spunky little 1 yr old girl, 4 cats, 2 dogs, and 1 husband. In my previous life (aka pre-baby), I worked in a variety of buying offices for national retailers, including Dollar Tree, the Navy Exchange, and Macy’s. I graduated from Ohio State (Go Buckeyes!) with a degree in Fashion Merchandising. My husband and I are both from Ohio, but currently we live in Smithfield, VA, about an hour from Virginia Beach. We’re both big beach fans, especially the Outer Banks, NC.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Chase my daughter around the house! She’s pure non-stop action!
What led you to start creating your art/craft?
I’ve always been doing arts/crafts in some form or another for as long as I can remember. I actually started painting glassware about 3 yrs ago. A girlfriend of mine was getting married in Mexico, but was having her bridal shower stateside. Instead of spending a fortune on pre-made Mexican/beach-themed shower favors, I decided to paint a glass for everyone, half with my Aztec Sun
design and half with Palm Trees. Everyone at the shower loved them and encouraged me to do more, so here I am!
What aspect of creating your art/craft do you find the most enjoyable?
Coming up with new designs, especially if they end up being good sellers.
the work area, and works-in-progress = Under the Sea glasses
If you had to choose one other medium in which to display your “creativity”, what would that be and why?
I love collages. If it wasn’t so time-consuming, that would be my next venture.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Considering my mom is an artist by trade, I have a lot of handmade items around my home. Lots of paintings (get one each year for Christmas), mostly of boats/beach scenes. I have a few items that I’ve bought from other artists that I just adore – a large mermaid made of polymer clay, a ceramic fairy, an orca whale shaped mirror, just to name a few. One of my favorite items that I made for myself is a collaged table I did in when I was in college. Finished the top with a 2-part polyurethane coating so it’ll last for a nice long while.
The collage table
List five of your favorite books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
Favorite Bands/Artists (in no particular order)
-Valley of the Dolls – Jacqueline Susann
-Grant County Series – Karin Slaughter
-Currently in a Vampire craze – almost embarrassed to admit it, but I loved the Twilight saga. Right now I’m part way through the Sookie Stackhouse (TrueBlood) collection by Charlaine Harris.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
Like everyone else, would love to be able to offer customers a % off discount at check-out. Seems like ppl are always talking about it in the forums. I hope Etsy is listening!
How do you organize your business? Such as finances, keeping track of supplies and marketing etc?
I’m a total Excel geek! I love making and updating spreadsheets. I have spreadsheets for Etsy sales, custom orders, craft show sales, and an inventory/sales sheet for my consignment shops. As far as keeping my supplies organized, well, that’s not so simple. I’m lucky enough to have a spare room in our house for my computer and art supplies, though it’s rarely in any sort of order.
The supply closet
How well is your shop doing? How long has it been open? Number of sales? Number of visits?
Technically, my shop has been open since April of last year. None of the items I listed sold and they all eventually expired. To be honest, I didn’t do much to promote my shop at the time, I kind of just posted and forgot about it. After hearing about other friends’ success with Etsy, decided to give it another go. Began adding stuff again around Sept/Oct and had my first sale the Monday before Thanksgiving. Sales were somewhat steady through the Christmas season, but have definitely tapered off since the beginning of the year. I’ve had 13 sales overall. Definitely not the success I was hoping for, but a promising start nonetheless!
How do you promote your work, on and off-line?
Online I use Facebook and Twitter. I post on the Etsy forums and if I have time, I’ll pop into the chat rooms. I’m also part of the Busy Moms of Etsy Team. In “real-life”, I do art/craft shows and I belong to a few local art groups. A lot of my custom business is through word of mouth.
In ten years I’d like to be…
Living in a beach house down in the OBX. A girl can dream, right?
Where else on the net can we find you and your goods? Twitter, blog, Flikr account, any others?