Friday, November 14, 2008

We-Are-Fam-i-ly! Interview with Polished Two*

1. What is your name and what is your Etsy Store?

My name is Tracy Owens Chasteen and my Etsy store of jewelry and accessories is PolishedTwo.

2. Apart from creating things, what do you do?

Outside of my crafty endeavors, I have an office job working in business development and marketing. When I take time off from work, I love to travel, shop for vintage treasures, attend bead shows, and spend time relaxing with my husband in the Texas Hill Country.

3. What first made you want to become an artist?

I have been doing crafts for as long as I can remember. It may have started in art class in elementary school, but I also remember spending a lot of time at home building with Tinker Toys, making homemade play dough, and even painting T-shirts with puffy paint. I spent a lot of weekends with my mom at her office. She would be working on a deadline and I would find lots of crafty things to do with her office supplies. My mom can sew and crochet, so she would make a lot of doll clothes for me and my friends. I never had the patience to sew, but I started making doll clothes by repurposing my own clothes—cutting sleeves off sweatshirts to make doll dresses or cutting the tops off of socks to make tube tops. Then in high school and college I was obsessed with art rubber stamps. I had thousands of them! I made cards, stationery, and even designed my own line of stamps to sell. When I moved to Austin, I never really unpacked the rubber stamps, but the amazing jewelry I'd see in all of the great indie boutiques we had caught my eye. I was inspired to move on to my latest art…jewelry making.

4. Please describe your creative process how, when, materials,

I'm not very methodical in my creative process. I can be inspired by almost anything and now that I've been making jewelry in various forms for about 10 years, I have a lot of supplies and thousands of beads on hand so that I can create whenever the mood strikes. I buy most of my materials, especially beads, at bead shows that come to Austin and San Antonio. I also buy a few of my supplies from other Etsy sellers and love to browse vintage markets. My creating is generally done in the evenings and on weekends since I work during the day, but I also have to juggle my limited creative time with other Etsy-shop related activities like photographing products, promoting my shop, responding to custom requests, and packing orders.

5. What handmade possession do you most cherish?

I cherish all of the handmade things given to me—especially all of the goodies made by my mom and my sister. But one possession that sticks out in my memory is a doll that my mom made me when I was about five years old. She has blue embroidered eyes and blond hair made of yarn and put in braids. This doll had an entire wardrobe of handmade clothes. My mom made these dolls for a craft show and ended up with a lot of extras, so they became great birthday gifts for everyone I knew! When I recently visited my cousin, she still had her doll too and it really brought back great childhood memories.

6. What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?

The best advice I can give to artists who are new to Etsy is to take notice of shops that are top sellers and see what makes them successful. Many of them share their stories in the Etsy forums or their blogs—including their lessons learned along the way. These are sellers who've sold thousands of items and know what works, so take the advice from the people who know best! The basics include having great photos and product descriptions; offering different price points for the variety of shoppers that will visit your store; always providing great customer service; and listing new items regularly to keep your shop fresh. I started selling daily when I started listing new items daily--or relisting items if I was not able to add something new. Etsy has hundreds of thousands of sellers, so it also helps to differentiate your shop and create your own brand recognition.

7. What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features
would you like to see?
My favorite features include the Time Machine and the Storque, Etsy's blog. As a buyer, I love the Time Machine because I can see what is being listed and sold at any given time. If I see something I like going across my monitor, I can click on it and find out what else the seller has available for me. If I like a lot of items in their shop, I will add them to my favorites for future shopping. Pounce is another great feature to see what people are buying. As a seller, the Storque is great for catching up on Etsy news, statistics, crafty profiles, how-to articles, and tips from people who do this full time. A feature that I would like to see is more compatibility between Etsy and Blackberry-type phones. Sometimes I wish I could re-list an item from my phone so I could do it on the go!

8. How do you promote your work?
I promote my work by wearing my jewelry, giving out business cards, including business cards with purchases, and adding my product photos to social networking sites.

9. What craft venues have been successful in the past and you would like to share with your fellow Etsy Austin team members?

Before I opened an Etsy shop, my best craft venues were "trunk shows" that my sister and I would host during happy hour. We would lay out our products, provide a signature cocktail, and send an evite to everyone we know. They were quick (only a few hours), low cost, and a great way to get all of our friends together while also selling lots of jewelry. Another great venue to try if you have several other crafty friends is a holiday open house. Similar to the trunk show concept but with several different products, the key to getting our friends to come was to offer free snacks, a keg of beer, and a band playing. If you live in Austin, you probably know someone who's a musician and willing to be a part of your party.

Now that I'm on Etsy, I don't do many craft shows. I am at a great point where I have a balance between my Etsy orders, several wholesale buyers who sell my designs in their retail shops, and my office job. Any time I have left is spent with family and friends. I love to shop at craft venues though—we have a lot of great bazaars in Austin and they are a really cool way to meet fellow Etsy sellers in person. My local favorite is the Stitch show.


  1. Thanks Tracy for a great, detailed interview! This was fun and I really appreciate your time for this!!

    If you would like to be featured as an interviewee, please contact Tina at

    Craft On!!

  2. fun interview! Thanks Tracy & Tina!

  3. great interview! thanks for sharing :)