Interview: Screenprinted Apparel from Megan Lee Designs

Screenprinted Apparel from Megan Lee Designs

Megan Lee Designs specializes in screenprinted apparel, tote bags and greeting cards that have fun and quirky illustrations and graphic prints. All designs are drawn by Megan and are printed by hand.

Why did you choose to sell on Etsy?
I wanted to reach customers without having to create my own website (I began selling on Etsy a LONG time ago) and also still believe that you can reach a much wider and/or different audience through Etsy than you can through your own website. Etsy’s search function has brought me lots of customers who have never heard of my shop before.

How do you come up with design ideas for your shirts? What is your creative process like?
It’s a lot of sketching/doodling and just thinking about things I like. It’s honestly super simple and I often go back to my first sketch when I try and re-draw things a number of times.

Chicago Tote Bag

What is your best selling product in your shop?
I think its still my “Midwest is Best” heart design, which doesn’t surprise me because the Midwest is amazing and it also covers a LOT of ground. I never really even realized how many states consider themselves Midwest.

Do you ever have creative blocks?
I definitely do, and thankfully I don’t have to create and come up with designs daily because I have so much business-y stuff to take care of. I find that my creativity sometimes comes in waves, and I honestly have no idea what it corresponds with, but its like every few weeks I’ll just get a burst of lots of good ideas.

Megan Lee Designs

Do you use social media?
I do, and need to use it more and more effectively. I am getting a little better at posting daily on Instagram, and I do enjoy it. It is just that there is always so much to do, especially now with having two very small children.

Do you have a blog?
No, and sometimes I wish I did, but I feel like its something I just wouldn’t update often enough!

Do you sell at craft shows?
Yes, definitely! Not quite as much as I used to, but we do probably from 10-25 shows/year. Our next big show is the Spring One of a Kind Show in Chicago. Can’t wait!

Do What You Lovd

Do you sell wholesale or consignment?
At this point almost all wholesale, but I definitely started selling on consignment and we still have a few good consignment accounts from a long time ago. They can both be good options depending on a number of factors, but at this point we are only adding wholesale.

Do you ever have problems with customers?
Honestly nothing too major, but just things like items being delayed in the mail, maybe a hole in a shirt, things that are usually easily fixed.

What do you hope for in the future for your shop?
Just to keep expanding my designs and possibly trying some new products based on my customers requests.

Interview: Blankets and Knitting Tools from BeCozi

Describe what you sell in your shop and the process of giant knitting.
I sell super chunky Merino wool blanket, DIY Knitting kits, giant needles and luxury Merino wool knits. I knit all my product using my hands. It give giant, 3 inches stitches and a beautiful chunky look to all knits.

Your products are made with Merino wool. You also sell vegan alternatives to Merino wool. Can you describe what Merino wool is? Why did you decide to offer vegan products?
I am selling 100% super chunky Australian Merino wool which made from the wool of Australian Merino sheep. Merino wool is the most amazing wool in the world: it is hypoallergenic, moisture wicking and even antibacterial because the fiber is so fine that bacteria can not attach to it! It is extremely soft, not itchy at all and very gentle to touch. I also sell super chunky vegan yarn: 100% Acrylic which looks and feels like Merino wool for those who prefers everything vegan or just wants a cheaper alternative. Some people have such severe wool allergy that even Merino causes it, those love my super chunky vegan yarn.

How would you describe your style?
My style is in the name of my store – BeCozi. Be cozy – is my style and a motto. All my products are made to make you feel cozy and comfrotable.

Describe your studio space. Where do you work?
I work from home. I have a studio with a special custom made table for hand knitting: it is a completely unique product designed by me. Hand knitting is my personal technqiue not used by anybody before. Now you can find people on YouTube who are copying my style but a year and 3 months ago when I started – I created this unqiue style of hand knitting. I also have a shipping room with all the wool and shipping supplies in my house.

Be Cozi

Do you ever have creative blocks?
No. I always have so many ideas and unfortunately not enough time to make them all the reality.

What is your favorite feature on Etsy? Do you use any other websites?
Not sure what is the first part of the question about, sorry.I do sell on my website and also on Amazon and Ebay.

How do you package your products?
I package the wool in plastic white mailing envelopes and for all the other products I use special sizes boxes.

Do you use social media?
I do use social media:
pinterest.com/becoziknits
facebook.com/becozi
instagram.com/becozi
twitter.com/becoziknits
youtube.com/c/becozi

Do you ever do craft shows or sell wholesale?
I participated in one craft show in my city – Holland, MI in May 2016 for a Tulip time festival craft show, otherwise I do not really have time to do it. I do offer wholesale for the wool and my items – 15% off from the price on Etsy and website. It is not 50% as wholesale usually works because my retail prices are very reasonable.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Giant knitting with super chunky Merino wool or super chunky vegan yarn is a lot of fun. It is my passion and joy, I love to do it and I love to share my passion with the world.

 

Interview: Vegan Cheese from Three Girls Vegan Creamery

Three Girls Vegan Creamery is an organic, plant based and dairy free creamery. They make artisan cheeses from nuts and aged to perfection.

Describe what you sell in your shop.
We do not have a storefront YET! We are planning a crowdfunding effort on Indegogo in April to help us setup our very own facility. Right now we are working out of a family restaurant’s commercial kitchen in Madison, CT. It is an Italian restaurant and they began offering vegan options with our Mozzarella “di Bufala”.

You have three people who run your shop. How did you decide to work together?
The Three Girls Vegan are a mom and two daughters. We have been a team forever.

Why did you choose Etsy as a platform?
Curiosity. We have always heard great things about Etsy. To test the waters we just posted a few of our items. So far it has been fun and we have met some wonderful people!
Why did you become vegan?
We are 100% Italian and were raised on a traditional Italian diet. Once we went vegan, it was the cheese that was the hardest to give up. We began creating the recipe for the Mozzarella. We ferment and culture to make authentic cheese, but instead of using any animal products, we use the cashew as our cow. The process of creating the Mozzarella recipe took over 9 months and more attempts than we care to remember. It was so important to make a mozzarella that was perfect in a caprese salad but also melts, stretches and is ooey gooey when in a lasagna or on a pizza.

What is your favorite thing to cook?
We have veganized all of our traditional Italian dishes. We make Mozzarella en Carrozza sandwiches, eggplant rolotini with almond ricotta and grated parmesan and romano topped with mozzarella. We make fried calamari from oyster mushrooms, crabcakes from artichoke hearts, homemade gnocchi with creamy alfredo. All dairy free, animal free! This is our culinary activism. We have converted 6 family member to veganism because the food is so good!

What other vegan products or companies do you like?
We love to support as many vegan products as possible.

Do you sell wholesale or consignment in other shops or restaurants?
Yes, we sell wholesale to several Connecticut, NY and MA stores. You can see a listing on our website (www.threegirlsvegan.com) store locator.

Do you do craft/food shows?
We do a local Farmers Market monthly. We are super duper excited to be a sponsor at the upcoming New England VegFest in Worcester, MA on April 30th. We will be serving our famous Mozzarella en Carrozza Sandwiches!

Do you have a blog or use social media?
Yes, we are on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and of course our website. @threegirlsvegan

What do you hope for in the future for your shop?
We are praying to raise the funds necessary to open a small shop. We will always remain small batch artisan and need our own place to grow!

Three Girls Vegan Cheese

Three Girls Vegan Creamery also sent me some products to try – Assorted Aged Cheese Wheels and Mozzarella “di Bufala” Pearls and Assorted Aged Cheese Wheels. I love that these products imitate traditional cheese that can be used in Italian and other dishes. I have never tried a vegan mozzarella that was not shredded or a cheese wheel that was vegan.

The Assorted Aged Cheese Wheels were cashew based. The flavors were Pistachio/Cranberry/Fresh Thyme/Pumpkin Seed, Vegan Maple Bacon/Pecan/Herb and Old Fashioned Fireball. The texture was great. I liked the Old Fashioned Fireball the best.

The Mozzarella “di Bufala” Pearls was cashew based, fermented and cultured. It had a great texture that is the same as regular mozzarella. I really liked the mozzarella cheese and think it is something I would buy in the future. I did not think try cooking it so I do not know how well it melts, but I enjoy it would taste great in any recipe or that calls for fresh mozzarella.

I did not cook anything with these ingredients this time, but I think I will buy from in the future and try out some recipes. Let know what types of recipes you would like to see in the comments.

Interview: Photography from Helene Smith Photography

Helene Smith sells photography in her Etsy shop, Helene Smith Photography. Her photography is of nostalgic, mid-century-style snapshots of Americana.

You have a lot of photos from Chicago and Michigan. Where is your favorite place to visit?
I haven’t been able to travel nearly as much as I would have liked to over the years for various reasons, but I actually really love to take weekend trips to rather small towns and find hidden little gems to shoot.

Your photos have a feeling of nostalgia. How do you get this feeling in your photos? Do you think it is something that comes naturally or is it a look you try to capture?
I have always been drawn to beautiful old things and beautiful odd (old and new) things and even things that are not beautiful, things that are ordinary and overlooked.

My work also looks a bit vintage because I try not to use any (if any at all) filters (effects). I might lighten a shot a little if it’s hard to see, but part of what I am trying to convey is exactly what I see so I don’t want to change it too much and that’s becoming rarer these days. So many photographers want to play with effects. Effects can be alot of fun, but that’s just not me. That’s not what I am trying to convey in my work.

How do you promote your shop?

I have a Facebook Fan page and I also use Twitter and Pinterest, online. Of I’m selling my work at an upcoming event, I will also try to put posters up at local businesses. And I still use email for special events.

Do you ever do craft shows?
Yes, I have done craft shows/art fairs for many years though usually just a few a year – holiday time and maybe a few in summer.

Helene Smith Photography

What do you hope for in the future with your shop?
There’s just so much I would like to do. I have so many photos that I’d like to add to my online collection, but it’s just a matter of time (each listing takes a bit of work when it’s new). I’d love to offer additional photo items like photo calendars and maybe some lockets at some point. Eventually maybe photo compilation books as well, specific to Chicago or Grand Rapids. On the other hand, I am a purist and I don’t want to clutter up my shop too much with much more than prints. I used to sell photo cards as well, and might add them back, too.

 

Interview: Vegan Bags from MeDusa Studio

MeDusa makes vegan clutches, bags and wallets. It is run by Israeli designers Gili Rozin Tamam and Adi Gal. MeDusa has a signature style that uses vibrant hues and unique textures.
Medusa Bags
What is your favorite feature on Etsy?
[My favorite is] the “shop update” where we can tell all our followers what’s new in our shop.

Why did you decide to make all vegan products?
It wasn’t a choice in the beginning of our way, but something we understood along the way. It became a very strong value for us and we want to keep be a cool, chic, high quality alternative for leather goods.


Shop Interview Gili from MeDusa Studio

What is your favorite product in your shop?
Very tricky question and actually it depends who you are asking. Adi will tell you the slim clutch which is the ultimate combination of classic shape and new material and design, mainly because Adi is so classic. I [Gili] will tell you the Paris bucketbag because it’s the best cool street urban bag that any girl needs and also because it’s a new version (and a vegan one) of the must have bucket bag trend.

Shop Interview Gili from MeDusa Studio

What is your creative process like?
It is like a big ping-pong table between Adi and me (Gili). We are talking, walking around the city to and from the studio and looking for this thing…to start the new line.

Describe your studio space. Where do you work?
We work in a great space, in the center of Tel Avi. It’s in the backyard of one of the main streets of the city, Dizingof, so its very quiet even its in the center street. Our studio is full of everything – colors, materials, million stuff we are keeping just in case. In this busy space I think we feel comfortable to create. People and clients that are coming feel like they are entering our home, asking if one of us lives there.

Shop Interview Gili from MeDusa Studio

Do you ever have creative blocks?
Yes, of course, unfortunately like all designers have. There are times things are stuck and you have to know to let go. Only by going back things will solve and the creativity will come back. You don’t control it. If we knew how it would be easy, but I will never know how ideas are getting in my mind or why they stop coming…

How do you promote your shop?
Adi, my partner, is the one responsible for the shop and manages everything about Etsy. She create teams, and spends many hours on Etsy.

Shop Interview Gili from MeDusa Studio

Do you have a blog?
YES! We do!! Go check it out here

What do you hope for in the future for your shop?
Success! There many more new Medusa girls that will join our family, and big and exciting adventure and new projects!

If you are interested in being interviewed on this blog, get in touch with me.

Interview: Wedding Dresses from French Knot

 Interview with French Knot  

French Knot is a shop on Etsy that sells handmade wedding dresses and bridal designs. The shop is run by Colleen with her sister Dorothy. They make high quality wedding dresses to brides who want something a little different

Why did you choose to sell handmade wedding dresses in your shop? 
I’ve been sewing for many years, and when I learned about Etsy as an online marketplace for handmade items I decided it was the perfect place to sell my dresses.

What is your favorite feature on Etsy? Do you use any other websites?
I considered selling on other sites, but I have found Etsy to be user friendly to the shopper as well as for the seller. I think the selling format is really well organized. You can analyze your sales and listings really quickly and easily keep in touch with customers.

How would you describe your style?
My brand is based on classic vintage styles, occasionally with unique fabrics or finishes that set them apart from the commercially available dresses.

French Knot

What is your creative process like? 
For me the best time to start designing is in the morning – with plenty of coffee and some good music. Once I have a silhouette in mind I start researching fabrics. That usually leads to more dress ideas, but I try not to get carried away.

Describe your studio space. Where do you work?
My studio is a nice private spot in my home. I am set up with plenty of space for sewing, storing supplies, as well as a dressing room and mirror for brides that come to try on dresses. I’ve considered moving to a commercial space, but I love working in my slippers and bathrobe, and the commute is really short.

Where do you get your models for your shop product photography?
Over the last few years I’ve been meeting and working with some local wedding pros, and we have gotten to know some great models – mostly by word of mouth. We do quite a few inspired bridal shoots, and I continue to meet new models that way.

Where do you get inspiration?
The inspiration for new designs is occasionally from pictures or designs I see online and in books, but mostly when I start looking at fabric the ideas really flooding in. All I need to say to myself is, “what could I do with this fabric?”, and immediately I come up with some slightly-crazy ideas. Rule of thumb: edit, edit, edit.

What is your favorite way to promote your shop?
Promoting my shop on Etsy is pretty straight forward, but out in the real world it’s a little harder. I’ve spent the last few years networking with local wedding professionals on photo shoots, and I find that they help bring my designs to life. Styled shoots are a great way to be published on blogs and circulate on social media.

Do you sell wholesale or consignment?
At this time I am not selling wholesale. Since my shop is such a small operation I prefer to work with my customers directly.

What do you hope for the future with your shop? 
My ultimate goal with my shop is to provide a creative alternative to the commercially available dresses – and make a living at it. So far I feel like I’m on the right track. Etsy has facilitated a way for me to reach a huge audience, and I’m really happy here.

Interview: Scrapbooking Supplies from ChickyDoddle

 
ChickyDoddle sells scrapbooking and crafting supplies including decorative tapes, rubber stamps and craft paper. A percentage of the net proceeds is donated to a charity each year. 

What is your favorite non profit organization to donate to?
I prefer to donate to public schools. My preferred organization to use is DonorsChoose.org. My profile in DonorsChoose is “The MaKu Collection”, which is the company name I used when I first started my own business. You can view the projects I’ve supported through this link.

What is your best selling item in your shop?
I would say my Custom Labels.

Scrapbooking Supplies

How do you like to package your items?
I like to package my washi tapes with glassine paper bags and stickers + bubble wrap. For labels I always pack them carefully with cardboard and resealable cello bags to keep them in good shape during transit.

How do you promote your shop?
I use Etsy Promoted Listing, advertise in Blogs, and use Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I also sponsor certain fundraising events.

What is your favorite social media website to use?
Instagram

Scrapbooking Supplies

What is your favorite feature on Etsy?
The ease to set up shop and listings.

What do you hope for the future with your shop?
I would like to bring in more washi tape designs, more kawaii stickers, and make more creative custom stickers and labels. I’m also hoping to expand my product line next year but I’m still investigating the best new products to carry.

Interview: Perfumes from StephanieK

StephanieK sells natural perfumes and beauty products. The perfumes are plant derived and contain no synthetic aromas so they are great for people with chemical sensitivity or allergies. 


Describe what you sell in your shop.

My shop features my line of 6 all natural perfumes, plus a few beauty products like lip balm, facial oils and sugar scrubs. About 10 years ago I started making my own perfumes with essential oils, and I just fell in love with the botanical essences and the art of old-style perfumery.

What is your favorite feature on Etsy? Do you use any other websites?
I love the Etsy Local feature on the mobile app. It lets you find Etsians in your area and see all the events where you can meet them in person.

What is your creative process like?
There are so many benefits to having your own website, I could go on and on about it. I would encourage any seller to start one as soon as they are able to do it. If you’re up to tackling a learning curve, you can DIY your site and save a lot of money, but hiring a pro is the smart choice if you’re serious about running it as a business. Either way, you do need to be able to commit time to operating and marketing your site. It can be more challenging to operate on Etsy and a website at the same time if you have one of a kind products, because you’ll have to sync inventories. But I do about half my business on my website and half on Etsy. If you can only do one, go with Etsy because it’s easy to operate and it has a built-in audience.

Where do you get inspiration?
I feel inspired by so many things! Music, food, stories, experiences, travel. Getting out into a more natural setting like a park or nature preserve.

What is your favorite way to promote your shop?
Instagram has been something I’ve been getting into recently. I’m camera shy myself, but I like taking pictures as a way of sharing my feelings and telling my story.

Describe your studio space. Where do you work?
My studio space is a work room on the upper floor where it’s cool and quiet, so it’s great to have a space that is separated. My dad built for me a perfumer’s organ, which is a steep tiered stand which holds many bottles so you can access them easily. We also made these great wooden vials holders for filling. Also a LOT of glassware. The whole space is inundated by lab glassware, blending bottles, big vials, tiny vials and perfume bottles of all shapes and sizes.

How do you package your products?
Packaging is really important to any product, but here I am selling perfume online. If I can’t attract someone with a photo and a text description there’s just no way! It’s really challenging to figure out great packaging on a small scale. I design and print my own labels at home and add nice details by hand to my boxes. I like to use recycled paper where I can, and of course glass which is both reusable and recyclable.

Do you ever experience creative blocks?
Oh yes… I’m good friends with creative block. To run a shop you have to take on so many different roles, so there’s a lot of opportunity to get stuck. If I start to feel anxiety about a task, that totally blocks up my creativity. I just have to set it aside until that anxiety fades. Working on another task or even just goofing off seems to be the best way to bring it back. Great ideas most often come when you’re not trying to think of great ideas.

Do you sell wholesale or consignment?
Yes, I do offer wholesale now and I am open to working out consignment deals. My items have a broad appeal so they can fit right in with nice boutiques, salons and spas, and even health and wellness retailers.

Do you ever do craft shows?
I do a few craft shows per year. Right now I’m only doing shows in central Texas so I that don’t have much travel overhead. My biggest show is actually a renaissance faire. Every spring I spend 8 full weekends out at the Sherwood Forest Faire near Bastrop.

What do you hope for the future with your shop?
People who try my perfumes so often say they’re so much better than anything you can get in a store, so I really need to work on getting the word out. I hope to have my samples in beauty boxes and full size perfumes into retail spaces in the next 6 months. It’s been a long time since I released a new perfume, so I also want to create two or three new fragrances this year.

Interview: Dreamcatchers from Tiaralianna

Tiaralianna makes dreamcatchers and string art made of vintage finds and handmade pieces. Legend says that bad dreams get caught in the web of a dreamcatcher, while good dreams pass through to ensure good dreams while you sleep. Dreamcatchers can be used as car accessories, worn as jewelry or can be used as decor.

Why did you decide to sell dreamcatchers in your shop?
I created my first dream catcher in 2013 as a project but had no intention of selling. Mid 2015 I started creating more dream catchers as a hobby, again I didn’t intend on selling any. My boyfriend of 5 years was the one who first saw my potential and decided to create my shop name and Instagram account Late 2015. He even sold a bunch of my first dreamcatchers. From there I got inspired to make it a small business and took over the shop myself.

How would you describe your style?
I’ve come to realize I don’t really have a set style. Rather, my dreamcatcher style varies from whatever inspires! A lot of my style comes from bohemian, hippie, and cottage chic looks. I love creating both traditional and non traditional styles with each dreamcatcher being unique.

What is your creative process like?
Creating dreamcatchers is very therapeutic for me. Often when I start creating dreamcatchers I envision the end result and run with it. However, sometimes that’s not always the case. Times when I feel uninspired I like to hit up a bunch of craft and/or thrift stores and pick up some beautiful pieces such as doilies, yarn, etc. I often get inspired this way.



Describe your studio space. Where do you work?
Everything I do regarding my shop is from my home in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Most of the time I find my self working in my home studio or on my balcony ledge where I get a gorgeous view of nature.

What is your favorite feature on Etsy?
My favorite feature on Etsy is the review tool. I love hearing customer feedback. I have yet to receive a negative review, but I’m sure if it’s constructive feedback I wouldn’t mind either way. Being that my studio space is filled with dreamcatchers, it’s hard to let a lot of them go. The review feature allows me to hear from their new owner, it makes my day!

Do you use any other websites?
Instagram and Facebook is my main social media platforms. I sell my dreamcatchers online on Etsy along with in person sales. My hopes are to create a website for my shop separate from Etsy.

Where do you get inspiration?
Working with art has always been a creative outlet for me. I believe that God gives everyone a gift, intended to glorify Him. My gift, however small, is a gift of creativity none the less. What good is a gift if it isn’t shared? Knowing that my creative ability was intended for his purpose inspires me to keep creating art. 

What is your favorite way to promote your shop?
Social media has always been my favorite way in promoting what I do. Instagram and Facebook in particular are sites I enjoying using. These sites allows me to interact with users in a way that’s more personal along with showing others an inside look of what I do. Through social media I like to post pictures about shop updates along with my creative process.

Do you sell wholesale or consignment?
I do not sell wholesale or consignment at the moment. I’m open to the idea but for now I’m selling direct.

Do you ever do craft shows?
I have yet to do a craft show but I aspire to be a part of one in the future!



Do you make other types of art? 
Yes! On my Etsy shop I list string art. My first dreamcatcher was a combination of both string art and dreamcatcher. The materials I used for the base were a wooden board, nails, and string. I created this piece by hammering the nails in a circle and weaved the pattern with string. I plan to recreate more of these in the near future. Since it’s a stable wall-hanging, I use mine for hanging earrings and necklaces.

What do you hope for the future with your shop? 
In the future I hope to create my own website where I can list my dream catchers along with pictures and videos of my creative process.

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Thank you so much for taking interest in my shop! If you like what I do, check out my mother on Instagram: @ieggmedia. She is an artist that works with chalk, paint, and digital mediums. She’s one of my biggest role models and encourages me to follow my creative passion.