Tuesday, December 17, 2013

25 Days Of Christmas Celebration # 22 - Interview with Sarah of Ordinary Artists

On to today's 25 Days Of Christmas Celebration shop feature! We get to meet another fellow SPS Team member, awesome crafter and artist, Sarah of "Ordinary Artists". Sarah works together with her father to make journals, cards, magnets, art prints and stickers! What can be greater than a family business?

"I feel most alive when i'm creating."
 Sarah accepted to share with us the story behind her creations, tips regarding time management, but most importantly, she put together a series of great advice for Etsy sellers. Continue reading and find them out!
1. Please share a little something about yourself!

I have always wanted to be an artist. I feel most alive when I’m creating. I’m all about the process, and am constantly trying out new art forms. In addition to Etsy work, I’m a newly wed, work at a church, and am a full time student. I’m graduating with my masters in May! Then I hope to pour more into my work, and possibly even open up a storefront shop.

2. Tell us about your shop – what made you open your shop and when did it happen? Also, what items do you sell?

A big part of the reason I’m an artist today is because of my dad. He taught my art classes when I was little, and now we make art together! He had been making and selling hand-sewn journals for a few years here and there, and I had been dabbling in different art forms – one day in late December 2011, we got together and decided to open up a shop! It took at least 6 months before we had a good idea of what we wanted our shop to look like, and to figure out the business side of things. My dad makes all the journals in the shop, and then I help him put colors and sets together. I make the cards, magnets, art prints, and stickers. We’ve recently started collaborating on journals, where he’ll make them and then I will stamp or emboss designs on the covers. I run all the business side from photographing and listing to customer service and shipping.

3. What’s the story behind your creations? What got you to create the items you’re making?

Our creations are a process of experimentation, passion, trial, and error. Each week we get together to work on projects and talk about new ideas. Our creativity really feeds off of each other. I notice what sells and we try to balance making popular items with giving ourselves space to create new projects.

4. Please pick one of your items that you feel is most representative for your shop and tell us what makes it the most special?
"Have fun. Create what you love."

Our tiny journal sets are definitely special to our shop. The first tiny journals were just an experiment, in the 2012 holiday season. I put a few on the shop and they sold like crazy!

Since then, my dad has perfected the art of the tiny journal. He makes them in batches of hundreds, and we spend hours putting them into sets. Here is one of my recent favorites, perfect for fall: www.etsy.com/listing/163032490/small-notebooks-fall-colors-6-tiny. They are just adorable, and the perfect size for little notes! Now we make them for wedding favors, party favors, gifts, and stocking stuffers!

5. Please share a little wisdom on time management! How do you organize your time? How does a typical day selling on Etsy look like – time spent on orders, on teams, promoting on social media etc?

Time management is tricky, especially with Etsy being one of two jobs. I’ve found that it’s helpful to create, photograph, and package in batches. After I’ve experimented and come up with items I want to keep making, I’ll make a whole bunch at a time. They are all still so unique, but I am able to reduce overall time. I try to photograph as many items in a photo shoot as possible, and make a few days a week my shipping days. I’ve invested in some nice packaging materials, and have a little shipping station next to my worktable so I don’t have to run all over my studio to get orders ready. I try to connect with teams once or twice a week, and post something on Facebook 4-5 times a week. I like to post pictures of what I’m working on, or question, or a link to a really great treasury that features one of our items. There are some weeks where all I do is package and ship, but I try to protect some creative time to keep me excited about the work.

6. Speaking of Etsy teams, what do you look for in them? What makes you choose a particular one?

When I first started on Etsy, I looked for teams built around treasuries. This was a great way to get known on Etsy, and in the process help others get known. I don’t have as much time to make treasuries these days, so I look for some camaraderie and a place to share new items. I really enjoy favoriting others’ work, and encouraging other team members in their work.

7. What’s the best advice you received when you first began selling? Also, what advice would you give to new sellers – whether it’s about promoting items, shipping, photography, communicating with clients or whatever else you feel that new sellers should be aware of?

When I first started selling I looked at shops that I wanted to be like, and tried to learn from them. I even sent a few of them messages asking for advice. They were very gracious! Here’s what I would say to those starting out:

1. Have fun. Create what you love, and don’t be afraid to try new things.
2. It takes a while to find your groove. Work on your brand and mission: why does what you create matter? How does it make people’s lives better? How do you want people to know you?
3. Create treasuries. The more the merrier!
4. Favorite other shops, follow Etsy sellers that are popular, like them on Facebook (you could even post a little “hello from _____” on their wall!)
5. Make sure you have plenty of light in your photographs. At first, pick a background and stick to it. I use an editing program to bring up the exposure in most of my photos. If you’re not sure how you want your photos to look, start with simple and clean.
6. I always put a hand-written card in each order I ship, with a business card, little gift, and a coupon code for their next order. Do something special for your customers – they really are great, and at least some of them might come back to shop again!
7. Pay attention to your shop stats. See what’s popular, and find good key words for your item tags (google adwords is a great tool for this).

8. What are your goals regarding your shop for the near future?

We’re hoping to get up to 500 items for the holiday season. I’m currently working with a group of artists to open up a shop sometime next spring or summer. It’s fun to think about adding an in-person component to our online shop! I want to keep having fun and doing what I love.

The SPS Team is definitely keeping their finger crossed and we hope you'll reach your goals in no time! Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and for sharing your secrets with us!

Visit Sarah's shop for more interesting items:


I'm Andreea and along with my husband we create "paper miracles". We make cardstock boxes of various shapes and sizes, but also other paper goodies such as die cuts, envelopes, table numbers, gift tags, coasters and more! We truly hope that you will enjoy them just as much as we enjoy making them!


No comments:

Post a Comment