Shabby Miss Jenn

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Interview With a Friend ~ Hand-Me-Downz

The creativity this wonderful lady blows me away. She had rapidly become such an inspiration to me in the short time we have gotten to know each other better and I knew I wanted to send her these questions. I may even get brave enough to try something with paper mache and it will all be her fault! LOL

This is my friend Barb of HAND-ME-DOWNZ!

Here are her thoughts................

1. When did you first start creating and then selling your creations?
Creating has been a part of my life since I was a small child, from crayons
and clay, to fabric, paints and little bits and pieces made from found
objects. My mother and grandmothers were incredibly talented individuals who
painted, sewed beautifully, embroidered, crocheted, you name it. My sisters
and I were taught these skills starting at about age 5. I first started
selling some of my artwork in college, and slowly developed a business
through craft shows, consignments and selling on ebay. When my husband's job
moved us to the south, I "retired" from my career as a social worker, and
decided to stay home and try it as a full time endeavor.

2. Many romanticize the idea of running a craft business from home.
What are two things you know now about having a home-based craft
business, that you wish you knew when you started your own business?
I wish I would have had more confidence in my work and original ideas early
on. It is hard to put something you have created out for the public to view
and then wait to see if someone will like it and buy it. Throughout the
years, thankfully, original designs have been the most popular, however. I
also wish I had known more about all of the ways to market my work and
network with other artists. Now, with the internet and all of its options,
the sky is the limit!

3.What advice can you give potential craft business owners about
marketing their product?
Make a list of every possible marketing outlet, and try them all! There are
so many free and inexpensive ways of marketing your business these days!
Some possible marketing ideas include a free email newsletter, a lovely blog
like this one, a website of your own with a mailing list option, a web page
on a great catalogue site like , designing a pattern and
submitting it to a craft magazine, having the local newspaper do a feature
article about you, selling your work on an auctions site like ebay, and
possibly most important, finding and joining a network of artists. Many such
groups are available on ebay and other auction sites, as well as online
bulletin boards. There may be a group of local artists in your community
that have similar interests, and can provide information about craft shows,
advertising, etc. Most of these ideas are free or almost free, and not only
will market your business, but just might introduce you to some great new

4. What is your typical crafting day like?
I get bored easily, so I usually have ten or more projects in the works at
any given time. We get up very early here, and I send my dear husband and
the kids off around 6 a.m., and then sit for a moment with another cup of
coffee, making a list of what I would like to get done that day. Then it is
back and forth to the sewing machine, stitching up doll bodies, dipping them
in coffee, maybe baking them awhile or hanging them outside to dry. Then I
might sculpt a few heads for those dolls, paint some art cards, quilt my
latest art quilt, embroider a doll face, draw out a few ideas....there is
little apparent order to what is done, but much fun in the process!
Hopefully, by the time the family gets home, dinner is cooking instead of
doll bodies, and most of the paint/coffee/glue is mopped up from the table
and off the front of my clothes. After dinner, usually is more design time,
often with input from my children, who are all artists in their own right.
It is great to get another perspective on things!

5.What sparks your creativity?Who inspires you?
So many things! So many people! Nature in particular, the colors, scents,
flavors. Sometimes just walking outside for a moment sparks an idea, or a
song on the stereo might bring to mind some odd thought that leads to an
idea for a doll. I love old quilts, dolls, furniture, linens...all inspire
new ideas. My dear husband, sisters and children are my inspiration, along
with the memory of my mother and grandmothers. Their constant encouragement
and support keeps me going. They have great ideas too! Oh, and did I mention
my artist friends...some of the most talented, generous individuals you
would ever have the pleasure to meet. That networking thing mentioned will find some of the most amazing people (like for instance,
the owner of this blog, an EXTREMELY talented individual, and a lovely
friend as well!). My artist friends inspire, teach, encourage, understand
and motivate me to continue each day.

6. What do you LOVE to work on? What do you HATE?
I love working on a new idea, regardless of medium. Sometimes I wake up in
the middle of the night, with thirteen new ideas crowding my
that point, sleep is less important than getting those ideas down on paper,
and even starting to work on them. The thought of a new creation is so
exciting, so motivating. I also love to try new mediums, new techniques, new
types of artwork. I also LOVE the interaction with my wonderful customers!
Conversely, I hate making things over and over again that are exactly the
same. Don't much care for cleaning up my messes either, but it is that, or
be buried under piles of coffee stained fabric and polyester stuffing!


That was a wealth of information and I THANK YOU so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I learned so much more about you. Your kind words make me blush! heehee

Please make sure to check out Barb's website

and you can also find this talented lady on EBAY as well. Look for
ebay id: raskelley She will also have items listed under FOAF on Ebay!

Prim Blessings!

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