Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Feature: Samantha, from Gilded Rose Studio

This week I am very delighted to be able to share the work of another Rollergirl! It is also very interesting how similar we are. We both do some tattoo inspired work, both are mommies, both play roller derby, and both love to juxtapose contrasting ideas and themes. 

I have placed an order with Samantha, I am very excited about it! Please visit her store: Gilded Rose Studio



Tell me about your store. 

Well! I had started out designing Roller Derby-themed Onesies...with clever baby-related Derby Names. Created the Old School way...with stencil and fabric paint. I still think the names are great, but I was not entirely happy with the finished product. So, I can see why they never sold. I don't consider it a complete failure...it opened me up to other ideas. Traditional Tattoos on babies! So complete polar opposites, but totally cute-able when you add hand-embroidery. And I didn't even know how to embroider. Go figure :) 






 How would you describe your style?



I used to have oodles of style. Coming out of the seams...that's how much style I had! Now I have a baby. I don't feel I need to elaborate any further. In my mind, reminiscing on my "old life", it was a mix of preppy, classic and envelope-pushing. Back in the day when I worked in corporate finance, I would wear all sorts of interesting outfits. A knit royal purple printed shift dress with knee high brown heeled boots, complete with my favorite Forever 21 junk jewelry. I loved mixing up the expensive stuff with the cheap stuff. (but you had to be selective when it came to the cheap stuff otherwise it doesn't work!) One of my favorite flirty outfits was this black and white mini polka dot cap-sleeve dress, sheer button up over a slip from H&M, black leather vintage-style Coach shoes with teardrop cut-outs over the toes (the only kind of Coach anything I will wear) and bright red lipstick. I'm constantly inspired by pin-ups. I don't try to dress like an exact replica of them, but I will channel their style (if I can!) ::sigh:: Those were the days. 
Samantha and Her Daughter 


 What inspires you?
It may not be blatantly obvious in my creations, but my surroundings in the mountains inspire me a great deal. They remind me to keep things simple, use pops of color when it calls for it. Not to over-embellish. I suppose that might be how one would describe traditional tattooing. I love contrast, the use of opposites. I use backdrops highlighting my natural surroundings in my pictures. My newest favorite backdrop is the meticulous way my husband stacked one of our woodpiles for winter. 

Summer Mountain View


Do you sell in other venues?
Yes! I have a collection featured at Mother & Child in Nashua, NH as well as a collection at Live Wire in Westerly, RI. I'm working on my website right now, it will be a process! I'm currently gearing up for Fall Craft Fairs in the New England region. 

What networking do you do that you feel helps your business?
Person-to-person and word of mouth will always trump anything online. But promoting on Facebook, no matter how annoying it must seem to my friends and family because the only updates they see from me are pictures of embroidered baby onesies, seems to draw in a good deal of views and word of mouth sales. I discovered the Business Forums about 2-3 weeks ago...as slimy as it sounds, showing my face on that forum (not even for selfish reasons!) appears to be working for me as well. 

-Just a side note, I found Samantha's shop in the forums :)  -




Share one random fact about yourself… or more if you wish.
I like tuna fish sandwiches. But I cannot eat chicken salad, even though they are the same consistency. Speaking of food...sometimes, when I'm standing up and snacking, I will do a little happy-dance-kick a la "A Chorus Line". 

What is your workspace like?
It is CRAZY! I had taken over my husband's drawing table because he wasn't using it, but I have recently been kicked off the drawing table because (I feel) my husband doesn't want to share. I now operate out of my handy storage container and embroider wherever it's comfortable. I also will embroider standing up on occasion...I sit far too much than I would like to admit due to creating for my store! I'm still thinking of a better "home" for my little operation. 
Winter Sunset


Thanks to Samantha for letting me do a feature on her store and sharing awesome photos! please visit her shop! 

Have a great Weekend! 

♥Erica

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Feature: Krystal from Random Wishes


For today's feature I got to interview Krystal. Her shop is called Random Wishes, here is a link: 
http://www.etsy.com/shop/kryslew1987  Krystal has many interests and talents, and her shop features an eclectic mix of beautiful candles, art and jewelry. 






Tell me about yourself.


I grew up in the country on a farm. I learned from both my mother and my grandmother how to do crafty things. As a child I always wanted to be an artist. I would draw pictures for my family members and they would proudly display them in their homes. During High School I took all the art classes I possibly could. I absolutely loved it. I wish I had gone to college for art, instead I went for Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry. I do have a degree in both. I currently work in Cooper's Seafood House in Scranton, Pennsylvania. 






Tell me about your store.


I started my store about a year ago. I was not sure on how I was going to do it, but asked around to different people and they showed me what to do and how to make things better. I have to say my store has improved in the last couple of months. I got a new camera which made my pictures better, and I have developed my skills a bit better and my items have sold more. I sell mostly jewelry, but I just started doing custom candles. I love doing candles, while making them they make my house smell so great and it lingers for hours. I also do paintings and knitted items. The knitted items will be in more as the weather gets cooler.






What inspires you?

The world inspires me. I grew up in the country and learned to appreciate the little things. I see a lot if not all things as art. I twist things to become my own and create something wonderful. My art teacher once told me the world is your canvas us it to your full advantage.  My family also inspires me. They tell me what they like and I tend to put my own twist into it and it becomes a great work of art.


Do you have a strong support system? Who is your biggest cheerleader?

My family has always been there for me no matter what. My mom is my biggest fan. She is always asking what I have that is new. My Aunt Ann is always wondering what I have in candle scents and my father is 100% behind finding me a physical place to sell my items. I have a wonderful boyfriend who encourages everything I do. He is always telling me how great I am doing and telling me to never give up no matter how much stress I am under. My support system is very large and I am very grateful to have them.

What is your favorite food?
 
Well I went to School to be a chef.  My pallet has developed a lot since I was 18. My favorite food used to be anything Italian. I loved Fettuccine Alfredo and Spaghetti. at least once a week I would eat one or the other. Now though I love sushi. I love to get a spicy kani salad or calamari salad with a rainbow roll and edema-me. I love trying new things.


How would you describe your style?

I would say that I am very random. I try to do different things all the time. Hence the name Random Wishes. I like to do a number of different things. I paint, I make candles, I make jewelry, and so much more. This way I never get bored and I always have someone to make smile.

Please visit Krystal's shop! You can get there by clicking on any of the photos in this post! 

Have a great weekend! 
♥Erica

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Items !

I finally bought replacement bearings for all of the wheels that were pillaged  from my derby skates while they were idle during my pregnancy.  Which reminds me, anyone who has used up skate bearings, please contact me, I will trade Caustic Threads merchandise for them. I plan to have them in time to get to go to a fellow duke city derby skaters birthday skate party this weekend. I am looking forward to getting back on skates, and I have a lot of weight to loose so I am looking forward to the exercise. In a few more months Penelope will be big enough to ride in a bike trailer and I can start biking with both of my girls, and my husband got a new used bike so we can enjoy weekend bike trips again. 

I have several new items in my shop:

now I carry children's long sleeved tee shirts

This is a new shirt design, a Plymouth fury

I also recently started carrying v-neck tee shirts


This motorcycle is also a new design, and it has been popular with our friends. 

There are other new designs, but I will leave it at that and try to post my other new stuff next week. I also recently purchased some fabric markers... something that I had always thought were pretty uncool... until I had the idea to color in my screen printed designs. The result is really pretty, so here is a preview...


This is my daughter, wearing a hand dyed and printed Rose tank top (this is also a new screen design) that also hand colored with my new fabric markers and embellished with rhinestones. I really love how it turned out. 



I still have a tutorial to post... I would not have guessed that I would drag my feet this much with that... I will also be featuring another etsian this Friday. 

Take care for now :) 

♥Erica 




Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Feature: Kristin from Connielou's Designs on Etsy

This week I interviewed Kristin, from http://www.etsy.com/shop/kristencwatts and her answers were so much fun, that I found myself wanting to ask her more questions as I read! Kristins shop is beautiful,  lovely photos fill each page, enticing you to look at each of her pretty pieces!  


     Kristin and her husband


Tell me about yourself. Not necessarily about your shop, but about you.

I am a high school English teacher, who is a lead singer in a band, works part time making teeth for my dad (he's a dental tech) and jewelry for my shop Connielou's Designs. I love being busy. I have a wonderful husband, who is in his own band, and two sons; the oldest is 15 and the youngest is 10. I love teaching, writing, reading, singing, and of course...making jewelry! My business card slogan is "I never leave home without my earrings!" because I don't:)

                                                  Kristin's boys (her husband and her sons)



Tell me about your store. 

My store is named after my grandmother Louise, who died from cancer, and my great grandmother Constance "Connie," whom I was named after (my middle name is Constance). I owe my love for jewelry to my grandmom because she would never leave home without her earrings, either:)
How would you describe your style?

As an artist, my jewelry is very unique. Sometimes I use recycled jewels; sometimes I use parts of my grandmother's old costume jewelry. I buy a lot of my parts from artisans and sellers on Etsy, though. I buy from Esty sellers or small stores near me most often because it's all about the "little people," not corporate America:)

How long have you been selling on Etsy?

I have been a member for over a year as a seller, but I only recently started to sell my jewelry (about 2 months). I've been averaging 10 creations per day, since in June I started to sell my jewelry inside and outside of Etsy. I'm proud to say in the last two months I have made 200 pieces of jewelry (necklaces, earrings, and bracelets).


                                               http://www.etsy.com/listing/79670011/red-etched-wood-and-baby-blue-droplet


 What is your workspace like?

Right now it's the dining room table, and it drives my husband crazy! Me too, actually:)




What networking do you do that you feel helps your business?
In terms of "networking," I feel word-of-mouth has been the best for me. It also helps selling to people when they can see my product. My mom has been bringing in things to her work, and they are selling quickly. In terms of "social networking" online, I am having a hard time. I tweet, I've advertised, etc. My teams on Etsy have been great support; however, my sales have not increased yet from anything I am doing at present. I am hopeful, though, and I am not giving up. I feel like once people start to buy from me, it may spread. I really like my stuff, and it's so inexpensive. EVERYTHING is $25 and under!








Name some of the sellers whom you look up to and why? 

There are so many, and I aspire to be like them. Looking up to others helps me become a better artist:)




What are some of your favorite Etsy stores?



This is a tough one because there are tons. I really love Mermaid Treasures. I like her supplies, and she always gives free goodies with her purchases! I love the surprise:) I also like Rustic Goth; her paintings and prints are so awesome and different! All Earrings and Supplies is another great supply store. Perfect packaging, labeled and all.



Share one random fact about yourself… or more if you wish.

My motto for life: "To thine own self be true."

Do you have any advice for new sellers?

Don't give up, don't get discouraged. Try, try, try again, and I believe we can succeed!


http://www.etsy.com/shop/kristencwatts


Kristin has a promotion going on right now:
free shipping in US, and throughout the rest of August and Labor Day, 20% off EVERYTHING in my shop. Use coupon code 20OFF at check out.


So- go check out her shop! 


Have a great weekend!
♥Erica

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Feature: Holly Beck from Hollyand Sage on Etsy



Holly Working


This week I had the pleasure of interviewing holly from HollyandSage on etsy! I am hoping to do weekly blog features of the many wonderful artisans on etsy and other handmade venues. 




 How long have you been selling on etsy?

I have been selling on Etsy for about a year. I opened my shop in March or April of 2010, but didn’t really get going with it until mid-summer.

What is your busiest season?

The busiest I have been so far is 2 weeks before Christmas last year. After that, business dried up – I guess everyone was afraid to order online too close to Christmas (for fear it wouldn’t arrive in time).


 Is etsy your sole income? If no, what is your “day job”? Would you quit if you could?

Right now I don’t have a paying day job, but I maintain a household and do a lot of “mom” things. J


A mommy necklace



What inspires you?

A lot of my items are inspired by color combinations – I have always had an eye for color, and a love for creating my own combinations.

I love the sophisticated color pallet in this button bracelet 


Do you sell on other venues?

I do. I have items in three retail locations: Pure Gifts in Mount Pleasant, SC; Back Home in Gold Hill, NC; and Borrowed & Blue in Mount Pleasant, NC.

Are you a good or a bad influence on those around you?

Lol! I guess that depends on the topic! I am a good influence on eating – I am all for natural and local foods, etc., so my friends consider me to be a bit of a food snob. I may be a bad influence in some other areas, but we won’t go there today! ;-)

I love this simple chic necklace




Name some of the sellers whom you look up to and why?

I think The Bead Girl at Studio Jewel is my hero! I don’t know her personally, but I love her work and I would like to learn to work with metal the way she does. Her designs are so simple and stylish! She is also very successful – I guess I hold her success up as an ideal that I would achieve in a perfect world.

Holly's workspace


 Do you have any advice for new sellers?
Spend some time on the forums – I learned so much of value there about how to take better photos, things to do and not do, etc. I also made a few connections to teams that I joined. Etsians are very helpful if you get to know them, and some of us need a lot of guidance!


 Do you have any pets?

I have a Ragdoll kitten named Blaze. He follows me from room to room when I move around the house throughout the day – he is a wonderful companion! We also have a bearded dragon (lizard) named Simon, and a Rottweiler named Molly.

Holly's kitty, Blaze





Do you have a strong support system? Who is your biggest cheerleader?

My husband and my family and friends are all great supporters of my work! My mom and my aunt have bought multiple pieces from me (in addition to the ones I have given them). My husband is my biggest fan – he is very supportive!

This money clip would be a great guft for the men in your life



Holly is hosting a giveaway on another blog:

Enter to win a vintage button wrap bracelet, a $20 value, from Holly&Sage in the North Carolina Artisans Event on this bloghttp://kaeliskiwis.blogspot.com/ - the giveaway starts Sept 3.Keep an eye out for that to win the beautiful bracelet pictured here:





You may click on any picture in this post to be redirected to Holly's shop, or visit her here:

Monday, August 22, 2011



I opened shop again last Wednesday.

I was a little hesitant to open up because  there are so many things I want to do that I wont have time for now that my shop is open again, but I really love my "job" and running my own business so I was itching to start again, too. 

At first it felt a little hard to balance work and family time, especially with a newborn who eats every 2-3 hours for 45 minutes at a time, and a two and a half year old who is not sure what to make of her little sister. I was also not sure what to expect in the way of sales. Etsy changed their default search to relevancy while my shop was "on vacation". I ended up with a sale within 10 minutes of opening up, and they have remained steady. There is still a ton of work to do to make my shop show up higher on relevancy searches, so I expect to be working long days for a while now.

I finally got ladies Vneck shirts to start stocking. I am not sure which designs will work best, but I am excited to experiment. I have a few other new products up my sleeve,  and pretty soon I need to restock long sleeved shirts for the colder months. I also have some new tshirt designs that will be popping up soon.

I have some fun posts planned for this week. I have seller to feature and also a craft  tutorial, so I will be back soon.





Friday, July 29, 2011

Welcome Penelope!

 Penelope Elizabeth Ringia Was born this past Monday, July 25th.

I have another beautiful amazing daughter, Autumn, who is about 2 1/2, and I am absolutely amazed by how different the birth of Penelope was.

Sunday evening, or in reality, very early Monday morning,  I woke up to go to the bathroom and my water broke.

I wasn't really sure what had happened, because I was under the impression that when your water breaks it is pretty obvious. It was almost more like I peed myself, and then continued to expel fluid for about an hour.

I had not had any noticeable contractions before my water broke in this pregnancy, and they did not start immediately after it broke, so I was not really sure what to do... so I called my mom, who just happened to be at the airport waiting to fly back to her home in Savannah.

My husband called the hospital, and they told me to come in within 6 hours or when I started having contractions.

I had an order that needed to be rushed, so I went ahead and printed that while I was waiting to start having contractions, and before I got it packaged I started having contractions. I quickly finished packaging the order and called my dad. I dropped the package off in the mailbox and my husband and I drove my daughter to my dad's house.

My mom decided to stay in Albuquerque a few more days to meet my new daughter and I was lucky enough to have my mom at the hospital with me. Only my husband and the hospital staff were in the room for delivery because that is what I was comfortable with, but it was really wonderful to have my mom there for so much of the process.

She was at the hospital for the entire labor and delivery process and kept us company for various parts of Penelope's birth. She was in the room when I called for the epidural and left when they administered the epidural. A few hours later, after a nap she came back and she was really impressed with the difference the epidural made :)

The delivery was easy and fast, and I had a successful VBAC.

I had my other daughter Autumn Via emergency C-Section and it was much more stressful. I never actually went into labor with Autumn, and I was really worried I wouldn't know when I went into labor with Penelope. When Autumn was two weeks past due I went to the hospital to be induced. I was 8cm dilated when I had the epidural and it was only starting to become painful at that time, but the contractions never felt anything like what they felt like with Penelope.  Autumn was not positioned correctly and after 17 hours of labor I was whisked away for an emergency cesarean.  The recovery for Autumn didn't really feel that hard, but in comparison I feel really great after this pregnancy. Recovery is MUCH easier after a vaginal birth.

I also am having much better luck breast feeding  this time around. I know it is much harder to breastfeed after a cesarean, but I am sure that the hours spent with lactation consultants when I had Autumn probably helped a lot this time around.

I was surprised  to have to stay in the hospital for 24 hours after Penelope was born, I guess I felt so great that I thought I should be able to go home right away.

I was released from the hospital in the afternoon on the 26th, and it was really wonderful to come home to my mom and my beautiful daughter Autumn. I have spent the past few days relaxing and recovering with my family and finally started production again for Caustic Threads. I have several orders that I will be slowly catching up on, and will reopen shop when I have all of my current orders (including my wholesale orders) complete.

I don't expect to be finished  and back in full swing especially quickly, as I have more important things to tend to.










(The beautiful blanket in many pictures was made by Angela, her etsy store is http://www.etsy.com/shop/allthingsgranny )

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's July Already?!?

Hello!

This year has flown by for me. It has been a hectic whirlwind, and....
I'm tired.


It is so amazing that little Penelope will be here soon, and I am clearly nesting. I made new curtains and some decorative pillows for Autumn and Penelope's room, and re-coverd the rocking chair that we got in a very impractical light color because I am to frugal to spend twice as much on the same thing in a dark practical color.
      I like how it turned out, I think it is cute. The pillows and curtains match, and the cushions are actually reversible. It was also a pretty easy thing to do that really made the chair look much better. The cream was a beautiful color, but not appropriate for an item used by a baby or a toddler. It is kind of like white and pastel baby clothes- which for some reason are available in abundance- but not good for more than a few wears because they get so stained.  Which makes me want to run off on a tangent about baby clothes, but I guess I have digressed enough. Back to nesting.... I also really want to replace autumns bed. She has been sleeping on a futon mattress, because although her crib turned into a toddler bed, she does not like sleeping in it because it is a "baby bed". 

 Since we have another baby coming, we will certainly be keeping the crib, but it is really crowded in there with a futon mattress on the floor, so I would like to get autumn a proper bed. Either a toddler bed, or a proper twin bed... or what would be really cool would be to build her a loft that can be transformed into bunk beds later. I have a cool design in mind, that includes turning the bottom portion into a playhouse. Adam is not a fan of this idea, since it is likely that he would be making it. I also really want to paint the walls in thier room. 

Oh... and the carpet... I want to steam clean the carpet- but not just in autumns room... in the whole house. 

I am also finding that when I am working on orders for Caustic Threads, my mind is really wandering. I have so many fun items I want to make for autumn and Penelope, that it is hard to stay on task. Despite this, it seems like I am doing a better job of juggling orders, helping my dad at the shop, and taking care of Autumn, I just wish I had a little more free time to spend with Adam and Autumn. 

Autumn has been pretty difficult lately. I  am not sure if it is because there is a new baby coming, or because she gets less attention from me now that I am a little overloaded. It is probably a combination of things. I know why kids this age are so damn melt-your-heart CUTE at this age though. 

Finally, speaking of being overloaded, Caustic Threads had a record month in June. Amazing. It was the best month ever, we even beat December of last year. It is exciting, and gratifying. I am not sure what kind of goal I should have for July though. Not only do I think expecting to beat June  is a little unrealistic as far as actual sales are concerned, but with a new baby I know that the amount of work I am able to do right after she penelope is born will be limited too. 

And to say Adieu, here is my newest design in Caustic Threads.

Have an excellent weekend! 

♥Erica

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Finding Happiness

Things are crazy here, as usual.





I started helping my dad at his shop recently, and it is getting hard to keep up with orders in Caustic Threads, but I have been managing. I like helping my dad,
and don't mind the work, but I was hoping he would try a little harder to hire someone. Caustic threads is a full time job, and even working about 10 hours a week is taking a toll on both my family life and my business. My younger brother started working for my dad a few weeks ago also, but I know he has other things he wants to be doing too.



I am absolutely thrilled with the unexpected success of Caustic Threads. It is amazing to me that a hobby that was started with relatively low start up cost has grown into a business that allows me to stay home with my daughter autumn (and soon a second daughter, Penelope) and make more than I was making at my last job... granted, I have made more take home income at other jobs, but they required long hours and a lot of travel, which is just not very compatible with a family. (although I know some very amazing families do have a parent that has to travel often). I feel extraordinarily lucky every day to be married to an amazing man that I fall more in love with every day, have a beutiful daughter and another on the way, and to have been able to build a business that allows me to work for myself doing something that I love. I thank Adam, my husband, regularly, for giving me everything I never knew I wanted.



If someone had asked me 10 years ago, when I was 18, what I thought I would be doing right now, I never would have expected to be married, with children, living in Albuquerque. In fact, I think a senior paper that I had to write in high school was about what I wanted and expected to be doing at this point in my life. "Where do you want to be in 10 (or 5, or 15) years?" seems like a common question for people to ask 16 to 18 year olds, and it was always an easy question for me to answer, because I thought I knew exactly what I wanted, and I was sure I would accomplish my goals. I would say, " I want to be a fashion designer, with my own label at some point. I would like to work for someone else to learn the ropes at first, and when I have some experience and capitol I will start my own business. I like the juniors market, it is fast paced, trend driven, and exciting- oh, and teenagers usually have part time jobs and no bills so they have more disposable income than other markets. I want to be single, with no children, living in LA or New York. Preferably New York. " That is really what I thought I wanted to do! I wonder if I had taken a look forward to see myself here now, if I would have considered myself a failure. I don't now, but I may have as a stubborn teenager- which is not to say I am not stubborn now- just that I know how unbelievably happy I am, and I wouldn't trade my life now for the unrealized dreams of a teenager. There are many parallels, and I think the progression of my life, and the steps that brought me here all make sense. All we really want in life is to be happy, and I am so lucky to have found happiness, in a life that I had never expected to be in.

Xoxo,

Erica

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Roller Derby Deals: Caustic Threads interview & giveaway!

Roller Derby Deals: Caustic Threads interview & giveaway!: "Erica Voges is best known to Duke City Derby skaters and fans as Doom Dee Doom, but she is also the talented artisan behind Caustic Threads..."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Manic Monday: Back To business.

As usual it is a busy Monday morning, Right now I only have time to pop in and write a blog entry because I have pots of shirts dying and the closer I keep an eye on items I dye the better they usually turn out.

I did finally reach my goal of 1000 sales last week, and  after a good week it looks like I am getting a little closer to my sales goals for the month as well.  The ebb and flow of sales is always surprising. Last week was one of my best weeks ever in caustic threads, and the week before was one of the slowest. There was a time where I worked on commission, so naturally sales was part of the job. Anytime we would get discouraged by a slow down they would tell us to remain consistent and not to let the slow day affect how we did things, and never to panic,  and eventually things would even out. It was hard advice to follow when you were watching your paycheck get flushed down the toilet, but it proved to always be true. It has been a long time since I thought about that advice, but it is a good way to remain calm when the anxiety of low sales hits you.

We had a great weekend here,  My mom and her husband were in town for the week and my brother and his wife drove up for the weekend too. It was fun and eventful to have so much family in town, and a little bit of a relief on Sunday afternoon when I got to get back to some of the work I needed to do.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

♥Erica

Tropical Paradise