Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Featured Seller - The Dog House

Here we go!

The very first featured seller interview for McEtsy!

So we welcome Jane from The Dog House, she was sent our first featured seller questions and here are her responses!

Also we have some pics of Jane and her studio/work space! Helpfully taken by her partner Martin! lol!

-Ok tell us a little about you and what you do?
My name is Jane & I'm 27 years old. I live in the beautiful Midlothian countryside with my partner Martin, cat Angie & retired greyhounds Max & Molly.

Until fairly recently I worked in the medical profession, before leaving to pursue a simpler life of screen printing & dog walking! I make & sell unique hand printed items in my Etsy shop, The Dog House, & am in the process of setting up my own dog walking service, Let The Dogs Out.-How did you get started in your craft?I have always loved making things, & will try my hand at anything from knitting to baking to card making to pottery painting…! I’m one of those people who just didn’t grow out of experimenting with glue & glitter & all manner of other (mostly messy) crafting materials as I got older!

So, when I came across a DIY screen printing tutorial on the internet, it didn’t take long for me to get my hands on some fabric inks, ‘borrow’ some of my boyfriend’s less-loved items of clothing, & get drawn into the exciting world of screen printing.Naturally, the first prints I created were of things around me in my day to day life which were eye-catching, photogenic & a little bit comical: my greyhounds! Observing that my boyfriend was actually rather chuffed with his newly printed wardrobe (& not thinking the results were too bad myself either!), I proceeded to decorate all kinds of items with images of the dogs I live with & love. Running out of things to print on & gathering new ideas for prints like a snowball, I decided to unleash my creativity on the world at large & The Dog House was born!

-What inspires you?
My inspiration comes predominantly from greyhounds, in particular by my own 2 needle-noses, Max & Molly. I think their sleek lines & graceful (& at times not so graceful!) poses make striking prints. After capturing the dogs on camera, I convert the original photographs to monochrome images which I then use to make my prints. I like experimenting with bold colour combinations & captioning in my work.Sadly, every year many greyhounds are abandoned or destroyed. Bred in large numbers for the racing industry, after short or unsuccessful careers they are surplus to the requirements of their trainers. Yet these gentle & sweet-natured dogs make wonderful companion animals & I couldn’t imagine life without my two!

-Talk us through a typical day in your your life?
Usually the dogs will wake us up before the alarm clock goes off! After letting them outside & feeding them, we all bundle into the car & drive into Edinburgh to drop Martin off at work.

Then I meet up with some of the other volunteers from our local greyhound rehoming charity, Gracehounds, & together we walk both our own dogs & those being fostered by the charity. Walking the dogs can take most of the morning, but it's great being out in the open air like that every day!
Once my own dog walking service gets off the ground, I'll be signing over even more of my time to be spent this way! In the afternoon, once the dogs are all tired out, I tend to focus more on The Dog House. Depending on how well stocked my shop is & how many custom orders I have, this time will be split between printing items with screens I have already made, & creating new screens. Making each individual screen can be pretty time consuming & requires some intricate work. However, once a screen is made I can then reuse it over & over again to make prints, so it is worth taking time over making the original. Creating new designs, especially custom ones, is definitely my favourite part of the process!

After taking Max & Molly for another walk & picking up my partner from work, the evening is the time when I usually take photograph my work & do any listing / shop maintenance. I'm very lucky to have a partner who is fantastic with the camera (he sells some of his prints on Etsy (, so he is a great help in getting my pictures right.

When I'm not engrossed in any of the above, you'll find me running, playing fiddle, tinkling on the piano, gardening or baking! Oh, & relaxing on the sofa if I get a spare second & the dogs haven't got there first!

-What would be your top 5 tips for a new seller on etsy?

1. Be original - find your own style rather than emmulating what others have done before you

2. Make sure your photos do your work justice - sooo important

3. Join at least one team - I'm a member of 2 fantastic teams (McEtsy & Handmade4Hounds ( & love the sense of community this gives

4. Blog - but not just about your shop! Try sharing some of your life & letting (potential) customers see your human side too. (My blog is

5. Don't forget most of your customers will find you from outside Etsy - this has big implications for where you focus any promotional efforts

-Do you sell anywhere else other than Etsy?

Etsy is the only online venue I sell from, but I have recently taken part in my first ever craft fair & hope to do more of these in the future.

-Your having a dinner party and you can invite 5 people dead or alive who would you invite and why?

OK, I'm struggling with this question...!

1. Vincent Van Gough - so I could ask him why...

2. Bob Dylan - to provide the music

3. David Attenborough - for the conversation (That man could talk about nature all day & I'd listen!)

4. Caesar Millan - to make sure the dogs were on their best behaviour!

5. My boyfriend - so he could cook!

-Whats your fav food?
It's got to be chocolate - we can't keep any in the house or I'll end up eating it!

-Tea or Coffee?
Tea. A good cup of tea helps solve so many problems!

-Anything else you would like to add!?

5% of the profits from every sale at The Dog House is donated to my local greyhound rehoming charity, Gracehounds (Scottish Registered Charity No. SC038872). Founded in 2007 & run entirely by volunteers, Gracehounds is dedicated to finding permanent homes & a better life for greyhounds & lurchers. You can learn more about the charity I support by visiting their website:

Thanks so much to Jane for sharing a little bit of her life with us!

Why not pop along to her shop and have a look!

If you would like to be next to be featured drop us a line at


Bertie said...

Feel like I live a similar life, but swap the word "dog" for cats (Jimbo, Mork, Pootle, Twinkle), dog (Charlie), rabbit (Macadam)or guinea pigs (Darth Guinea Vader, Fireball)at any given juncture during the interview! Phew! Xmas cards take a while to write.
P.S. Thanks for making one of my purses a feature, I'm feeling very proud!!!!

Evie said...

I enjoyed the interview so much - interesting and very professional.

The studio space is soooo tidy - I'd be embarrassed to let anyone see my mess hehe!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Bertie - you have a little menagerie going on there! We used to have a second cat, Tink, but she was killed on the road =( I'm currently trying to get my partner to come round to the idea of chickens... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Evie - I have to confess I MAY have tidied it a LITTLE before I let Martin take the photo! ;-)

ali bali jewellery said...

Really enjoyed the interview! *shuffles off to tidy own disaster area of a work space*

margaret hamilton said...

So much energy! But then I am a wee bitty older than you. Lovely to hear from someone who does so much for these poor dogs, has been a constant problem for many years. All my dogs have been rescues but haven't had a greyhound yet. Best of luck with Let the dogs out.