Tell us little about yourself!
I’m an old married lady (lol), with two teenage boys. We live on a little ranch, with two horses, four dogs and two cats. Periodically, we have other animals – various rodents, goats….I really want a desert tortoise. We’re from the east coast, but now live in the wild west – southwest Arizona. I love the wildlife here, and the mountains. The heat – not so much! I work full time for an advertising agency, but have the wonderful luxury of a home office – which gives me time to lurk on etsy all day. Don’t tell anybody!
What do you make and how long have you been creating?
I am a knitter. My Mom taught me to knit when I was a little girl. I used to knit baby clothes, but when I opened Woolies on etsy almost three years ago, my shop evolved into stuffed animals. I can remember saying (a LONG time ago) to my sister in law that I was always searching for patterns for softies. Finally, I found some great ones, and have developed some of my own as well. I also sew, and make some softies at the sewing machine. Everything at Woolies is made from natural fabrics. I’m a yarn junkie, and could easily develop into a fabric junkie. And then I got into jewelry making, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.
What inspires you?
I can still remember what it felt like to be a small child and hug/hold my stuffed animals. I went everywhere with them. (I still have one, Lucky, a horse). What a comfort my animals (both stuffed and otherwise) were to me, during a difficult -and a bit lonely – childhood. I want my animals to provide the same sort of comfort and love to children. My stuffies are all very good listeners – just in case you wondered.
What got you started with making knitted and soft toys?
Hmmm, might have answered that one already? I am a true animal lover. And a true lover of anything soft and squishy (which includes cookies and brownies). It was natural that Woolies became knitted soft toys. And I have my Mom to thank for teaching me to knit.
How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
It will be 3 years in just a couple of weeks. It has opened an entire new world for me. I love it here.
What advice would you have for other Etsians?
If you really want your Etsy shop to be a business that provides an income, you have to treat it like a business. Selling on the internet is a vast undertaking. I do not pretend to fully understand SEO, for example, but am trying to learn. Don’t expect all your sales to come from buyers on Etsy. I recommend reaching out across the world – via advertising – to reach your target audience.
If I could tell shop owners just one thing – treat your customers like you would want to be treated. Excellent customer service is the best thing you can do to grow your business.
What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?
It wasn’t that long after I started to sell on Etsy that I discovered the Natural Kids Team – and it was like meeting your new best friends without even expecting it. Like minded women (mostly), making incredible, wonderful, items for kids. From natural materials. Ecstasy. Now that we have our website up and running beautifully, I just want to continue to grow with the team. I was leader for about a year and a half, and I’m very happy to relinquish that role!
What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?
Children’s imaginations are incredible things. I love to see a child come alive, with a natural toy in their hands. I think a big set of natural blocks is one of the greatest toys a child can have – let them imagine a city or a fort or a tunnel. One day I’ll write a book – Plastic is the death of the human race. (lol).
Interview by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard