Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Little Handmades

And my first featured shop is... Happy Little Handmades!

I was drawn to this shop because of the color (perfect for spring!), creativity, and the lovely craftsmanship of the bags.  Happy Little Handmades is the brainchild of Julie Smith, a New Yorker originally from Pennsylvania.  Here's what she has to say:

CM: Tell us a bit about yourself...
JS: I grew up in a relatively large family in Pennsylvania. I think I was the only one with a serious right-sided brain. I stayed in PA until about six years ago when I decided to make that scary jump and move to NYC. I can't imagine living anywhere else. While I work in real estate finance I find I can't wait to run out of the office back to my "studio" to keep sewing or knitting. I am a nerd at heart, so I find tremendous enjoyment in researching, studying, and practicing sewing and knitting techniques.

Pencil Case - Spring Floral
CM: When did you start crafting, and what inspired you to start? What are your favorite materials?
JS: My first memory of making anything remotely useful was when I was 8. My grandmother taught me to crochet and I started making these crocheted strips which I then sewed together to make Barbie dresses. Even at that early of an age I knew I really I enjoyed seeing a finished product that I produced.

Currently I'm on a craft binge of knitting and quilt-weight fabrics. I love wool, especially merino for knitting. I love eye-popping prints in cotton. And while I drool over the uber-expensive materials like silk, lace, beaded yarns, I find that being pragmatic about their uses outweighs my need for instant gratification. I am also determined to make my fabric stash equal to my yarn stash, much to the dismay of the boyfriend.

Never Too Early for Summer - Market Tote

CM: What's your work space like? Music? Pets? Indoors? Outdoors?
JS:  My workspace is any space that I can fit a cutting board, sewing machine, fabric and yarn. This means I spill out from the bedroom to the living room to the kitchen. I rarely listen to music when I work, I'm not a good craft multi-tasker in that regard. I like to focus on the project with little distraction. My cat, Woolly Bear, will often give me moral support by sitting on all the tools or materials I need. Thanks, Woolly.

Knitter's Project Management Pouch

CM:  What do you find to be the best thing about selling on Etsy? The most challenging?
JS:  The best thing about being on Etsy is that you can instantly be global. It's also wonderful in that the crafting community is so huge, so diverse that you will undoubtedly find any help or inspiration that you may need.

The biggest challenge also has to the size and scale of a site like Etsy. There aren't just a few dozen crafters that make bags (or jewelry, or prints, or home decor, etc) so making yourself visible and known can be an uphill battle (at least in the beginning). Compounding to that problem is that there are resellers on the site that make true artisans and crafters difficult to find amidst the
thousands of results that are related to your craft.

Petite Box Pouch with Pull Tabs

CM:  What's your favorite item from your own shop?
JS:  It's a tie between my box pouch and my market bag. I've found infinite uses for the box pouch, in fact I have five alone for my tools. I have an oversized version of my market that I use as my daily bag and I can't tell you how great it's been to have my hands free while being able to carry more than I should in one bag! It's currently being utilized as my laptop carrier (and that thing weighs a ton - it's an old Mac) and can withstand the gravitational pull of heavy items. I should try carrying a watermelon home in it.

Petite Box Pouch with Pull Tabs

CM:  What's a favorite shop or item of yours on Etsy?
JS:  I have so many favorites it's ridiculous, but I always gravitate to vintage/retro themed stores.

A big thanks to Julie Smith!  Stay tuned for the next featured shop from Etsy...

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