Introducing… Sew Flirty!

So Fun!  So Fresh!

I met another new and wonderful artist in the Etsy forums recently, and she’s a FRESH DISCOVERY, having only opened her shop this past April 16th!  So, lets’s give her a warm welcome, take some time to appreciate her artwork, and take some time to get to know her as an artist, and hopefully a friend!  Oh yeah … and MAYBE WE COULD BUY SOME OF HER WORK while we are in her store poking around!  🙂

Her name is Stacey and she is an Idaho native, who recently moved to a mid sized city in Kansas, so her husband could attend school there.  (Bonus for her – there are lots of fabric stores and places to get inspiration from!)  She is a stay-at-home/sew-at-home mom with a one year old boy, “Hudson.”  Like most moms, Stacey spends most of her days chasing Hudson around, with a few free moments to spare, trying to do something creative that provides some mom “freedom” time!  Henceforth came her Etsy store, Sew Flirty…Filled with her stylin’ crafts – modern but usable and may also have a touch of vintage to it.


We all have our crafting beginnings and this is Stacey’s story – “My mom taught me to sew with an old Bernina sewing machine, which I still use.  It is made out of metal, which you don’t see much anymore! I love it though. It works great and is reliable! Other than that, I just like being creative and sewing helps me have an outlet!”

Stacey is new to Etsy, but with regard to balancing her shop with everything else, she says she “just tries to take it one day/item at a time. Otherwise it gets overwhelming.”  She makes lists and tries to tackle at least something on it everyday. “If I do, then it has been a good day!”  I’m with her – I love making lists and crossing things off!  It’s the crossing things OFF the list that motivates me to keep going strong!  It’s sometimes hard though, to balance work with play – or at least to balance the enjoyable aspects of our crafting with the less enjoyable aspects of managing a home-based crafting business.  As I know many of us Etsy people do, Stacey has found that she is “definitely staying up a lot later now that (she) is on etsy!! It is so addicting!”  Don’t we all know it!  Especially when you’re starting out!  It can be such fun!

 

With regard to her favorite materials, she says they are Fabric, fabric, fabric!  “I love to use bright, fun, retro and unique patterns. I love to mix different fabrics that have a commonality and create something with them.”  She gets her inspiration from… “items I use everyday.  I try to find a way to put some flair into them. I also look at vintage patterns which help me give a new twist for common items. Anything that you are already using that can be changed into something more fun will create a fresh new feeling when using that item. I like to change things up and add a little flair to things.”

So, what is her favorite item from her etsy shop?  “Probably my aprons. I only have one listed right now but have a few more in the works. I have enjoyed creating patterns for them that will be flirty in the kitchen or wherever you choose to wear them! I wanted to make it fun to cook, not just another chore! Plus they are such a hot item right now! I do enjoy creating new things and coming up with new ideas though so really, anything I am working on becomes my new favorite item!”

And, what does she love about handmade?  “I enjoy coming up with an idea, then finding just the right materials/fabric to use. It is also about taking the time to put it together just right and seeing the final result! I feel like a lot of love and care goes into handmade and each item has their own personality. There is something unique to them that no one else has. Its kind of like having your own secret!”

Her ways of promoting…  “I try to go on the forums at least a few times each week. I also have a blog at http://sewflirty.blogspot.com that I update regularly. I plan to hand out business cards and offer incentives to repeat buyers.  I am just getting started with promotions though so I am looking into all avenues!”

FINAL STATEMENT FROM STACEY…  “I just always like to add a splash of flair to things. If I feel like the item will accomplish it, then I add it. I think life should always be so fun, so fresh and sew flirty!!”

INCENTIVES FOR CHATTERBOX BLOG READERS… She is offering 10% off to anyone who mentions nicoleleeartistry in their message when they purchase an item from HER ETSY STORE.

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Creative Ideas! Earth’s Trash is These Womens’ Treasure:

I got an email from my sister in law today and thought I’d share. I LOVE seeing people recycling to make art! I have been wanting to come up with an orginal idea of my own, but nothing has REALLY struck me yet.  Are you doing any kind of creative recycling? If so, let me know! Maybe you’ll be my next featured artist.

I don’t know where these ladies are, who they are, or anything about their story, but they build horse sculptures out of driftwood and it’s amazing!

ALL I’VE GOT TO SAY IS, “WOW!”

Introducing Greenbelts…

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I enjoy introducing artists now and again, who really spark my interest, and I’ve found someone who not only makes astonishingly original pieces, but she does it using recycled materials that we all wear out and throw away – belts.

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Her name is Shannon Ritscher.  She is from Seattle, WA.  Shannon is a part-time graphic designer and part-time crafter (Greenbelts), but she is also a full-time, stay at home mom to her 4 year old son – Henry.  (Round of applause for balancing all three and rockin’ it out on Etsy at the same time!)  She’s awesome, is an inspiration, has a ton to choose from on Etsy and I seriously have so many favorites, it makes my head spin!

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I don’t know about you, but I think the growth process of artists, when they work from the ground up, is a beautiful thing.  Shannon started listing on Etsy in June of 2007.  When I asked her about her early beginnings, she recalled, making collars and cuffs for friends and family for Christmas presents just 6 months before she opened shop.  She said they liked them so well that she thought she’d try her hand at selling them.  As Shannon thought back, she said, “I worked out of my neighbors basement for one full year before my husband finally built me a little work space (shed) on our back porch just a few months ago. Yea!”  If you’re a crafter, you can likely relate.  I know I started working at the kitchen table, which was followed by a relocation to our home office, with yet another bulge into our guest bedroom.  I don’t think the growth and development ever ends. 

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I asked Shannon what her favorite material or materials are to use.  I’ve already said belts were one, but you’ll see from her work, she also enjoys working with buttons, found objects, and bottle caps and humorously, a favorite of most but not often thought of, Shannon’s other favorite thing to work with is “time.”  🙂 

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Shannon’s personal favorite of the items in her shop is a toss-up, but here was her response…  “The first one is a cuff made from a very cool weathered leather belt, a giant metal washer, and an amazing vintage dark abalone carved button. The contrast between the materials makes my heart flutter. I also have a soft spot for the red, white and black large cut flower cuff and collar setthat I have listed right now. I just about go cross-eyed every night, sitting and cutting out flowers (TONS of flowers!). I think they look adorable though – especially on. I love things that are girly but without all the frill.”  I’m sure there are lots of people out there that share Shannon’s taste!

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When I asked her what she loves about handmade items, Shannon said she loves the unexpected aspect of handmade items.  Wonderfully said, Shannon’s additional comments were, “when you see something fantastic that is made from something else (recycled) and/or something that is uniquely beautiful – Well, there’s nothing better.”  She also added, “I do tend to gravitate toward recycled pieces because I love things that have a story behind them.”  I too love stories and because I’m a talker, love things that generate fun conversation!  Shannon’s items are and do, exactly that, which may be why I love them so much!  Plus, I’m an animal lover with three dogs – what fashionable, dog owner girl wouldn’t love having a matching dog collar and owner cuff set?  They’re sweet!

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For all of our Etsy readers out there, I always think it’s good to know how other Etsians are promoting.  I’m a firm believer in working smarter, and not harder, so I’m regularly looking to borrow ideas from other successful people.  Shannon’s success has come primarily from promoting her items through her website, a blog, her Etsy shop, Myspace, and similar web based opportunities.  

Even though we are pretty much saturated by technology these days, I know some people still don’t realize the power and marketing potential of the Internet.  With 386 Etsy items sold and having 100% positive feedback, Shannon is one to prove that it works! 

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Shannon says that most of her promotional efforts have been put on hold until her son starts school next year and she has a little more time to give it a good effort.  Currently, she has products in 8 stores, from Seattle to the UK.  She has a portfolio on TrunkT, her Greenbelts are featured on www.seekingdesigners.com and various blogs like www.pupstyle.com, itsthedogslife.com, www.treehugger.com, www.ourgreatgreenglobe.com, etc.  She is also gearing up to attend some local art/craft shows this summer.  Jeesh!  For having her promotions on “hold,” I’d say she’s pretty active and thriving!

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Shannon had some kind words for me for featuring her in my blog, but after learning about her, her talents, and drive, I have this to say to her: Shannon –>YOU rock! 

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High Five!

And lastly – one more thing about Shannon — she’s great because her birthday is the same day as Anthony and I’s wedding Anniversary…December 17th.  🙂