Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Feature - eebits

Names: Will and Elizabeth O’Connor
Shop Name:
ebits eco-friendly handmade jewelry

Brief Product Description:
eco-friendly jewelry and more

What is unique about your product? We use eco-friendly materials, packaging, and keep a green shop. Our products are very affordable for everyday wear, and nothing is off limits. Right now, we’re making jewelry with recycled guitar picks, and we’ve been known to make jewelry from leftover Lego blocks, recycled bottle glass, and anything else that we can think of.

How did you get started? Elizabeth was in a car accident in July 2009, which resulted in losing her job. Since she was unable to work and stuck at home, she began creating jewelry to keep busy and feel productive. Friends and strangers commented on how we should sell our jewelry, so that’s what we’ve been doing. Since our main objective is not to make money, but to have fun and to have others enjoy our products, we keep our prices as affordable as possible.

Where do you get your inspiration? From our kids, from nature, from other crafters, and mostly out of thin air.

What excites you most about your work/shop? It’s great to be able to make jewelry in our house while the kids are playing, sleeping, or making a mess.

Describe your workspace/workroom. We do not have a designated workspace, which makes life interesting. Usually, there are various trays of beads and findings on out-of-reach counter tops. We use ice-cube trays, cleaned egg cartons, or any other containers we can find around the house to work with. We also use all recycled packing materials.

Which do you prefer: online sales/marketing or face-to-face sales/marketing? Why? Face-to-face sales are preferable. Certainly it’s less work to bring your products and allow people to see them in person than to try and portray their value in photographs and online descriptions. But since we have two small children and “day jobs,” it’s not always practical to make it to live shows. We are somewhat limited to online sales.

Where would you like to see yourselves in 5 years?
Aside from healing from the accident, I think we would like things to stay pretty much the same. Obviously, our kids will be older, but perhaps we will have another child by then, and perhaps not. We’d like to keep the jewelry business because it is fun and we hope that people enjoy our products. We consider it “art therapy.” We’ve also thought about hosting Jewelry Parties, where our friends can select the beads and materials they like, and we will construct their jewelry for them.

What do you feel is the most important skill you use in your business every day?
Sense of humor! Between the children and recovering from injuries, we are so thankful for all that we have. When things don’t go as planned, all we can do is be grateful that we have each other. When we make mistakes, we try to laugh and learn, and we hope that we’re teaching our children to do the same.

What do you like about EtsyAustin?
If making jewelry is our Art Therapy, then EtsyAustin is our Support Group. As a newer member of the team (we joined last Fall), we didn’t know what to expect. But we have received invaluable advice and support from the team. Even folks who have never met us are willing to provide their support. This may include loaning us a table for a show, or suggesting helpful hints for our business, and everything in between. Despite the variety of people on our team, we are all committed to each other's success. We expected just a small amount of competition between team members, but it’s just not there. It’s the opposite. We all support and encourage each other. It’s an amazing environment that we’re lucky to be a part of.

What do you think makes EtsyAustin Street Team unique?
The EtsyAustin Street Team is as Weird as Austin. The products and artisans that make up the team are so varied—from baby products to screen-printed items, to needlecrafts and jewelry. There are a lot of us who make jewelry, but we were surprised how unique each jeweler is from the others. The team has very experienced artists who create extremely valuable art pieces, and there are folks like us, who make everyday fun stuff. And Team EtsyAustin members make everything in between.

Describe something about yourself that may be a surprise to people on the team.
Will is from California, and Elizabeth is from Michigan. We met in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2000. We have two young boys, Max (5) and Sean Henry (18 months). We live in Pflugerville (between a Rock and a Weird place).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Derby Days Trunk Show & Spring Fashion Event

Soigné Boutique will be hosting is FREE spring fashion show and event this coming Thursday, April 22, 2010. The show will feature a Kentucky Derby theme and complimentary Mint JulepsBuffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon prepared by Master Mixologist Garrett Mikell.

Misha Maynerick Blaise, a new member of Team EtsyAustin, will have a trunk show as part of the event.

Thursday, April 22, 6 - 8pm, Fashion Show at 6:30

4800 Burnet Road, Suite 420

Soigné Boutique offers Austin women a nice selection of trendy yet affordable clothes, jewelry and accessories.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lone Star Ladies Present Shop Austin

This event is not to be missed! Meet the Vendors and check out the excellent selection of EtsyAustin Team members participating this Saturday.

Be one of the first 30 shoppers and get a Goodie Bag filled with awesome items like jewelry, accessories, mini wallets, magnets, t-shirts, tote bags, coupons to dozens of local business, plus so much more!

Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door for $10. Cash only at the door, please. $5 of each ticket sale goes to the scholarship, FRONTIER.

Parking available in nearby garages and free on the street.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Feature - Assorted Musings by Maggie

Name: Maggie Murphy
Shop Name: Assorted Musings by Maggie
Brief Product Description: Crocheted items: hats, scarves, shawls, and jewelry!

What is unique about your product?
All my designs are original; some are even co-designed by my customers!

How did you get started?
My grandmother and aunt taught me to knit and crochet as a young girl, but I really got into it a few years ago as an adult. Pretty soon all my friends and family owned handmade items by me, but I just couldn't stop crafting! When I found Etsy, I knew that I had to share my goods with the world :-).

Where do you get your inspiration? Anywhere and everywhere...If I see something I like I will study it, determine how I want to make it, then off I go! Most of the time I'm looking at fashion magazines, or just out on the streets of Austin when I find my inspiration.

What excites you most about your work/shop?
I make things that I love. I usually start with a prototype that I will keep and wear myself to test out, which means I get to show off what I've made and enjoy it before making more for everyone else. This also means that all of my items are preschool tested and teacher approved :-).

Describe your workspace/workroom.
Also anywhere and everywhere. Mostly at home, but also I will take my projects with me wherever I go, some have even made it to Australia and back with me! I love taking my work with me, because I get a ton of feedback on what people like and don't like, so I know that my customers will love what they get from me.

Which do you prefer: online sales/marketing or face-to-face sales/marketing? Why? Face-to-face for sure! Then people get to try things on, feel how soft they are, play with the yarn, etc. I'm also very hands on when I'm working a trade show, which means I'm usually making something right then and there. I can usually finish at least one new item while I'm there and put it up for sale immediately, I've even made custom orders while people wait! It's so fun to see people trying things on too, I get my own little fashion show!

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Well, pretty soon I will have my degree in Elementary Education, so I see myself working in an ISD which means I'll have all summer long to craft and do shows. I also plan on diversifying the types of things I make. I recently started making more jewelry, and I'm having a ton of fun with it! Who knows what I'll add to my store next, I'm always open to suggestions...

What do you feel is the most important skill you use in your business every day? Flexibility. Not only with the things I make, but with my store and shows. If a design isn't working out, you have to know when to put the needles down and move on. And for shows, there are new and exciting ones coming to Austin all the time, and there are a number of local markets popping up too! It can be overwhelming trying to do too much, but I'm learning what works for me. I try just to get involved when I can, and have fun whenever I do a show, which isn't hard because all the Etsy Austin ladies are always so much fun and so inspiring!!

What do you like about EtsyAustin? I like that it is a group of talented people coming together, working together, and sharing interests. It never feels like a competition, and there is so much support in all areas, which really makes people feel comfortable. I think our customers can feel the sense of community when they come to our events.

What do you think makes EtsyAustin Street Team unique?
I think we're lucky because we live in such an artistic community. We have the opportunity to become a part of so many events, markets, trade shows, fashion shows, and local boutiques who support us. I also think we're unique in that we have such a diverse community among our shops. I am always seeing such new and creative things!

Describe something about yourself that may be a surprise to people on the team.
Hmmm...I don't think I have any surprises, I'm pretty much an open book! But I will say that one of my other hobbies is cycling. I'd love to join a cycling team one day, and when I don't have to drive everyday for school, I plan on doing away with my car for good!

Maggie can also be found at: