1. Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
My name is Kara LaFrance and I have lived in Coastal North Carolina for the past 5 years with my husband, Paul. I received my BA in Graphic Design from Rochester Institute of Technology and worked on Newbury Street in Boston at a small design firm that worked for non-profits and socially responsible businesses. It was an amazing job and I never thought that I would do something else. My body had other plans and a growing illness took over. A rare pituitary disease sucked the life right out of me but what choice did I have but to persevere. What I knew as my life changed, but the desire to create doesn’t go anywhere and it waits for you. These days I keep my hand in design with freelance work and create whatever inspires me – cards or paintings or both. I’m sure the two intertwine but they are different and have a different process. Either way, creating things make me joyful.
2. Apart from creating things, what do you do?
So the illness part of me changed everything. Now I try and add things to my life that will help improve my health. My favorite addition is pilates. It has changed my life.
3. Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
My design is what ever it needs to be. I like my cards to be bold, quirky, honest and sometimes just pretty. Maybe a word gets stuck in my head until I find the right pieces to put it into a card or I’ll covet a lovely piece of paper and create a card because of it. Color inspires me…. paper inspires me…. nature inspires me and my husband inspires me (as cliche as that sounds). For my paintings nature is where I find my source of creativity. I love the layering of foreground, middle ground and back ground and the play of light. I capture differnt scenes with photograpy and the base a painting off of my favorites – with artistic liberties of course!
4. What led you to start creating your art/craft? 5. How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
I’ve been creating since I was a little girl and I’ve never stopped. Being chronically ill for so long I needed to try and focus on something so I started painting little watercolors and selling them locally in coffee shops and crafts shows. Then I started printing the watercolors and using them in cards. They did equally as well but, honestly, I becamebored, so I went back to my large oil paintings, only making cards for my husband and getting my design fix from freelance projects. When I found etsy I started thinking about cards again.
6. If you had to choose one other medium in which to display your “creativity”, what would that be and why?
Between graphic design, card making and oil painting I’m pretty satisfied with my creative outlets.
7. What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My Painting “The Dreaming Tree.” I painted it for me and my husband. Moving to the south has been inspirational. The old trees are so lovely and majestic. I have it as a note card in my shop.
8. What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I’m pretty happy with Etsy. I would love a way to organize my favorites. One section for gifts and a section for myself. It would be awesome to be able to further organize sections into beauty, jewelry, housewares, etc. A “similar” listing feature would be a huge time saver! I’ve read they are working on it so if it’s there and I don’t know it I hope someone will convo me!
9. How do you organize your business? Such as finances, keeping track of supplies and marketing etc?
I try to keep my paper organized but it doesn’t stay that way for long. I need more room to spread out! I seem to stay organized with painting.
10. How well is your shop doing? How long has it been open? Number of sales? Number of visits?
My shop is just “doing.” There are so many people selling cards on Etsy. I’ve been open 1 year but I’m not constantly promoting and this hurts my shop. I don’t sweat it. I just enjoy having a place to share my little creations. As of the day I am answering these questions in early July I have 29 sales. I have over 8000 views. The more people who “heart” my shop better the chance at sales.
11. What do you think you’re doing right for getting the sales you have? Or what tips do you have for other Etsy sellers?
January was my biggest month. My love notes were a huge hit for Valentine’s Day. Spending time in the forums worked wonders. I’ve had to focus on a few design projects so energy is placed there but I have been participating in regular threads… “item of the day” and “promoting other shops.” We are building a great little community. All are welcome and we start buying from each other. Repeat sales are where it’s at! I also try and get lovely blog interviews from gracious hosts, such as, yourself.
12. How do you promote your work, on and off-line?
The thread for promoting other shops is a list format. So when it’s your turn to be promoted everyone posts in the forums, Facebook and twitter just for you. I can’t beat that. My Facebook fan page regularly gets hits as well. The “link love” trend has spread like wildfire and really up-ed my hits
13. In ten years I’d like to be… I can’t get through a 3 month plan. I have no idea what I want for myself in 10 years. Good health. The old saying “you have nothing without your health” is painfully true.