Today's Etsy Seller feature is on Courtney from Palo Alto, California. Her Etsy shop name is TealStripes and she sells one-of-a-kind handmade books and pins!
Here are a few questions I asked her:
Where do your pins come from?
They were part of my Dad's stamp collection but these are the copies of stamps that he doesn't want anymore! What a great way to own a piece of history!
How did you first get started making pins and notebooks?
During my senior year in college, I took a bookbinding class and was immediately hooked. We mostly made artist books, but I wanted to also make blank books to sell. As for pins, I had the animal illustrations for the notebooks and wondered if I could paint them in color on canvas, and then turn it into a pin. The stamp pins use stamps from my Dad's collection, but of course I only use ones that he already has copies of.
Do you have a favorite item?
Currently my favorite item is the "It's Just the Weather sketchbook," because almost every page has a printed illustration of weather, such as a sun, clouds and rain. I used gouache to add color to some of the pages as well. I know the printed drawings would inspire any buyer!
If you also have a "real" job, what do you do?
I am not currently working, but I will be starting a teaching credential program this fall, so my "real" job will eventually be an art teacher. I want to teach painting.
Soon Wine Pin
Where do you find inspiration for your products?
I sketch my ideas ahead of time and then when I want to make a book or plan out some pins, I look through my sketches. The stamp pins were inspired by the fact that I've had this large collection of stamps since I was in 5th grade (when my Dad gave the collection to me), and I've always wanted to make art with them, and thought pins would be a pretty cool idea. The colors and designs for the stamp pins relate to the stamps themselves.
The Kitty Says Notebook
What do you love about your business?
I love that I can create something and spread it out into the world for others to enjoy! If my items bring a little bit of joy to someone's day, that makes me very happy.
Smell the Roses Pin
What makes you unique at Etsy?
That I take the time to plan out books, which includes drawing, scanning, editing, and printing illustrations, rather than just creating blank books with different colored covers. That I also create things that I myself would enjoy and use.
Chloe the Giraffe Pin
Do you have any tips to share for crafters just starting out?
Make sure you have a lot of items to sell on the get go. I first began with books only, but when I saw so many awesome products made by other Etsy sellers, I decided to let my shop evolve and include pins. That way I could expand my clientele and hopefully appeal to all sorts of people.
Another suggestion is to blog! You don't have to write everyday, but if you can share your world with other Etsy sellers, they might be more likely to share your shop with others. It also gets your shop out into the open.
One more thing: ask for critiques on the forums. Though you may not get a ton of helpful suggestions, it's always a good idea to allow someone else view your shop because there might be flaws that you cannot see.
Cat and Mouse Booklet
Courtney can be found at the below places:
Etsy shop : http://tealstripes.etsy.com
Artfire shope: http://tealstripes.artfire.com