Monday, September 21, 2009

Etsy Seller Feature Cards Between Friends

This weeks Etsy seller feature is on  Maricela Flores at Cards Between  Friends . Maricela lives in Fayetteville NC and is a stay at home mom raising her 3 kids who are 16, 14 & 5 - she used to be in the military!

Ok, so have you always loved stationary?
 Stationary wasn't my first love. I remember picking up a plastic canvas kit my sister left on her bed and I started following the pattern in the booklet. Ever since then I've fallen in love with any craft possible. Sewing, cross-stitch, tatting & card making with rubber stamps. For some reason I have no talent for scrap booking, but wish I knew how to crochet. But I do still have the magnet which was made out of the plastic canvas. 
What made you first decide to start making cards and selling them?
I first started making cards around 2001 when a friend invited me to go to a class her friend, who was a demonstrator at the time, was giving. It has always been just a hobby & creative outlet until recently in October 2008 when I set up shop in Etsy. I did this after encouragement of family members. I don
 ' t regret any second since joining. It ' s hard work & time consuming, but very rewarding doing this for myself.

Blast Off Any Occasion Card

I see you do a lot of collage type cards - what are your favorite cards to make?
My favorite are water coloring and also dimensional items, not necessarily just cards. Such as party favors for my kids
   birthday parties and classes.
The reason why I enjoy water coloring is because it
 ' s very relaxing and easy to get lost in my own little world...very therapeutic! When all the coloring is done, that ' s when the glitter is added with a glitter pen for sparkle. It just finishes off the whole piece.
I love that you send cards directly to the recipient that
 ' s a great service - do you write the message too?
I can and have written the buyer
 ' s message on the card before sealing it up. With everything else going on in our lives, it ' s nice to have someone else take care of that for you.
All the buyer has to do is leave me a message at the time of purchase. I
 ' m in constant contact with the buyer and sometimes I worry that I ask too many questions. But it ' s important for me to get the message and the card right.
 Do you have a favorite item in your Etsy shop?
For now, my favorite item in my Etsy shop is my Water Color Gnome. It
 ' s always been one of my favorite stamp sets, but shamelessly underused.
The image begs to be water colored, that
 ' s when the sweet gnomes start coming to life. And also the colors on the card along with the decorator paper makes for a lovely combo.
Do you do your craft full-time?
Making my custom orders, samples, updating my shop, sending out orders, taking, editing & posting photos and showing my shop to does require quite a bit of time. Many hours a day are spent doing this as many who do the same thing realize. A lot more than I’ve ever imagined! So i do consider it to be full time. I love it!
 Where do you find inspiration for your paper products? 
Inspiration comes from ALL OVER! Everywhere I go, everything see, just like many other artists. I love experimenting with different color combinations, techniques & layouts.
And if I mess up or it just doesn
 ' t look good, no one has to know!
90% of my inspiration comes from other card makers who graciously share their work on various websites. It
 ' s amazing what they 'r e capable of creating.
Bug Bag Toppers

What do you love about your business? 
I love coming in contact with many different people on Etsy. I can feel their excitement when I show them a card I came up for them for their special occasion. Custom orders keep me out of a rut and forces me to try new things. They tell me about the person, what they like, and a few more questions later, I come up with a card that I hope they like and approve. Most of my sales are through the Etsy website since that
 ' s where I advertise my shop the most.

What makes you unique at Etsy? 
My cads are 4 
x 3 3/4 "  rather than the average 4.25" x 5.5". I started making them this size about 2 years ago. For some reason, they were easier for me to work with. The smaller space helps cozy it up a little. That ' s when my design style started to emerge. 

Butterfly Note Cards

Do you have any crafting tips to share for anyone who likes to make their own cards?
The right type of inks and papers make a HUGE difference on how your cards turn out. Quality really does count! I started out with the cheap-o, flimsy papers, but moved on up to top quality items. The envelope also makes a tremendous difference. My cards come with a beautiful standard size Kraft envelope.

Halloween Treat Pouches
Do you have any small business tips to share?
Be proud of your work and don
 ' t underestimate yourself. You ' ve got to be constantly promoting yourself, or else you ' ll drown in the sea of sellers. Go through the forums for valuable information and many other resources Etsy has to offer. Lots of information out there from fellow Etsy sellers. Learn from their mistakes and share yours also!

Lunchbox Notes
Do you have any tips to share for anyone who is thinking about setting up an Etsy shop?
 ' s no such thing as a dumb question. Ask or post it and more than likely someone has an answer for you. I ' ve learned so much from others and gladly share my info that might help someone else sell. A good experience was getting my shop critiqued during one of the virtual labs. Just by watching others shops get critiqued is also helpful
 Pumpkin Faces Tags

Is there any other information you would like to share with my readers?
Buyers can definitely tell when your heart is put into your products. This is true for me since I'm a buyer, also. I think for a lot of us sellers, we work so hard at tying to sell our product, not just for the money...which definitely helps, but also for being acknowledged.
Sometimes it's just as gratifying to hear someone tell you how impressive your work is.
Rust Cocoa Bronco Card

Cards between Friends can be found at the below:
Facebook (CardsBetweenFriends)
SplitCoastStampers (Maricela)
Spanglish Team on Etsy
Sparkly and Bright Christmas Card

Maricela in her own words:
Lets start writing to friends & family, not just for birthdays & special occasions, but also in random, showing that we're always thinking about them whether the live near or far. Don't you just love it when you get a card in the mail?
A goal of mine is to get people to write more to each other. Emailing is so fast & convenient, which is perfect in this instant gratification time, but who doesn't love receiving a letter in the mail still? To know someone took the time to send you something is even more gratifying. And to make it even more special, a card that has been personalized and put their heart into making it. 
So let's start writing to friends & family more often. It's time we stop distancing ourselves and once again form that bond with our loved ones.

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