Tell us little about yourself!
I am a Toymaker, a Writer, a Dreamer, and an Artist. I am also a devoted, deeply in love wife to a wonderful man and a homeschooling mother of 4. I am a very busy mom who toils away the day in service to my family. I love my life and my family. They are my pride and joy, but sometimes it is hard to find the joy while you clean a toilet after 3 boys. Then at the end of the day I get a few moments to create and bring my little people to life. They make me laugh, down right giggle! We also strive as a family to take care of the Earth and be as GREEN as possible. You could find out more about me here on my blog: http://thereluctantcitydweller.blogspot.com
What do you make and how long have you been creating?
I paint wooden dolls and create wonderful playsets and playboxes for them to have a life in. I opened my first shop on Etsy in September of 2008, but it took awhile to list and figure out what I was doing. I struggled with product photos, and it took some time before I got it right.
What inspires you?
My childhood and the imaginary things I dreamed up while living on Sunshine Mountain in PA are my inspiration. Also, my own children and the things they want to play with inspire me. It is so rewarding to be able to create with them. I love to watch them and see how they use the wooden pieces. One of the greatest rewards for them is to be able to go into my studio and get a bunch of unfinished pieces and play things like, Mars Mission and Super heroes with them. My daughter is always running in and stealing the items I am trying to photograph. You see her in the one photo as she sees her chance and grabs a few to play with.
What got you started working with wood?
I really wanted to create this plastic free environment for my daughter. Other people were painting them, but more as a collectors piece with non expressive faces. I bought a few unfinished dolls for my kids cause I really wanted to make something for them for Christmas. After other people started seeing them and telling me I should sell them, I started thinking they were right. I also started using other wooden pieces to make playsets for them. No one was doing that at the time. I then found these boxes that I could change and paint and make into this little peek into the dolls world where the kids could join in the play.
How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
I was a shopper on Etsy way before I was a seller. We had a lot of Etsy items under the tree this past Christmas. Our kids were left a note from Santa telling them how the very best kids get toys made by the elves. Etsy Elves to be exact! This year all our birthday gifts have been all handmade gifts from Etsy sellers! My son Max is next and he will be getting quite a few wonderful creations from fellow members! I didn’t start selling on Etsy until December of last year.
What advice would you have for other Etsians?
First, you have to know what your goals are. Is it a hobby or will it be a source of income? If it will be a hobby, then enjoy and use the money you make to pamper yourself and have some good mommy time. If it is going to be an income and a business, then you need to research, promote and stay positive. Get help when you need it. There is a wonderful free national program called SCORE. They are like a Big Brother/Sister for Small Business. They will meet with you and guide you through the process to make your company be what you want it to be. You will get a mentor who will be your personal guide. I have 3, I call them my Business Grandpas, and they are great! They are retired successful business people who volunteer their time to help others just like you.
What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?
I am so excited to be in this group. I also belong to other groups, but being with other toymakers makes me feel like I have found kindred spirits! I hope to learn from those that have traveled these roads before me. Knowledge is power! I hope to gain lifelong friends. I hope to support others and to be supported. I hope to be able to contribute to and promote our group in a positive manner.
I am also working with a few gift shops on some consignment and wholesale jobs. Additionally, I am working on getting my own
website. These thing as well as my storybooks for my playsets are in the beginning process. I will have more details in the months ahead.
Interview by Ecoleeko
Thank you Fairy Ring!!!