Thursday, 25 June 2009

Featured Seller Girl Industries

Hi everyone!

I must first of all say sorry as it was my intention to post this yesterday but got utterly side tracked and didnt get my PC all day!

So here we go get your self a cup of tea or a glass of wine and have a read of Katy's featured seller interview!

-Tell us a bit about you?

My name is Katy, and I have a passion for using reclaimed and found items in my crafting. My number one craft is knitting, I love to hand sew, and I've recently been getting into paper crafts - particularly ones which reuse offcuts of paper from other projects, old wallpaper and security envelopes.

I've been working in retail in one way or another since I was a Saturday girl with Sainsbury's at the age of 17. I progressed to store manager at the age of 22, after a stint working in New York with small business start ups in the tech field. I worked for a venture capitalist who is a part owner of one of the world's biggest fashion houses/retailers, so I've had some great opportunities to learn about sales, and running my own business.

My day job now is in healthcare, so my crafting business took off as an outlet for my entrepreneurial energy. I find the repetitive nature of some of my favourite crafts relaxing after a day at work - making stitches on my needles, creasing envelopes, punching embellishments and sewing seams by hand make me smile. The idea of creating something tangible is the perfect antidote to working with draft documents, theoretical concepts and legislation all day.

-How did you get started in your craft?

My nana taught me to knit when I was four, and I was making Sindy clothes by the time I started school! In art classes at school the teachers despaired of trying to make me good at drawing, so I was allowed to make things out of old cardboard boxes, cotton reels and egg boxes, and the 'making new stuff out of old stuff' went on from there.
I can fondly remember the My Little Pony caravan I made one summer at primary school.

-Talk us through a typical day in your your life?

I have a day job, so I leave the house at 9ish and walk the 3 miles to work, if it's not hammering it down. I'm usually home again for 6.30/7o'clock, if I'm not working in Edinburgh or away with work for the night somewhere else in Scotland. I've been to everywhere from Stromness to Peebles with work, and my fiance's family have been known to joke about how a foreigner has seen more of Scotland than they have!

Once I get home, if it's a sunny day I tear around the flat trying to make the most of the light to take photos. Then it's on to the computer to answer convos, emails, edit photos and tend my listings. I'll spend a bit of time on Twitter or updating my blog, take care of Glasgow Craft Mafia market business for an hour or so, then it's onto the couch to cut envelopes, do a bit of knitting, or hand sewing.

I like to watch Channel 4 comedies, listen to radio 4 dramas, and I listen to 6 music when I remember. I used to do a bit of student radio DJing, as well as theodd party or nightclub, and used to be a music journalist, too, so I like to keepmy hand in!

On the weekends I tend to do much the same, except instead of work, I spend time in the day with friends and family, or take part in craft markets, or work on my MSc dissertation.

-Your pics are fab what would your top 5 tips on taking good photots for products be?

1:take advantage of the light when it's a nice day! I live in a ground floor tenement, with a communal back court. I can't really take photos outdoors because it's just not pretty out there, so I have a spot on my living room windowsill that works a treat.

2: Don't take too much notice of other people's advice. What works for them may not work for you.

3: Be creative! You'd get shot down in flames on auction sites for wonky shots, but on Etsy, Folksy, or your own website, you can be as artsy and off the wall as you like.

4: Find a style that works for you, and a way of showing off your products the best you can.

5: Be critical - look at photos of other people's work and try to understand what makes them attractive or unattractive to you. I worked out that my eclectic products needed a fixed style to make my etsy shop look well put together, so I try to take them in the same spot on a similar background. Leave them alone, then come back to them with fresh eyes.

The joy of digital cameras is that you can redo your photos at the drop of a hat, and changing them every now and again is easy.

And an extra one - if you suck, get someone else to do it!
The Glasgow Craft Mafia arranged a photoshoot of our products for publication in The List, and it made my products look amazing - so much better than I could ever have done.

-Tell us a bit about how you run your shop? Listing, relisting, what works for you and what doesnt.

I find that I get spikes in my views when I list new products, and relist when they expire. I don't have a relisting strategy because I didn't feel comfortable building repeat listing fees into my pricing structure. I have an advertising budget and have used that for advertising via CraftCult, which I found to be pretty successful. My blog, twitter, and membership of Glasgow Craft Mafia have been key drivers of traffic to my shop. Writing tutorials, interacting with other bloggers and sites and handing out my business card at craft markets have worked really well, too.
I've made new friends all over the world via my membership of the Etsy team HoardersUnite, and now I'm a part of the revamped McEtsy team, I'm hoping we can work together to raise our profile on Etsy. I've also been lucky enough to be featured in at least two fellow McEtsians' treasuries, for which I'm very grateful!

-Tell us about the craft mafia? What is it!?

It's a collaborative of crafty types working together to raise the profile of craft. The Craft Mafia was started by super crafty types Vickie Howell, Jenny Hart and so on, over in Ausin, TX, and now has chapters all over the US and UK. Glasgow has the first Scottish craft mafia, but we hope that other cities will follow suit soon! The only stipulation for joining is that you have to have a full or part time crafty business, with an internet presence, and live in Glasgow and be prepared to join in. We organise social events, markets, and run a lively forum which is a mine of useful business and craft information. We have representatives from a huge range of crafty enterprises from art, to ceramics, to vintage clothing, to printers, book binders, felt taxidermists, and the likes of me who do a little bit of everything. I've never been one of the in crowd, and I was put off for a long while because I thought that it would be cliquey. I was pleased to be proved wrong on that count, and everyone I have met has been supportive, friendly and open to collaboration, too. It's been a great step for me business wise and socially! You can find out more about us here:

-Coke or Pepsi?

Caffeine free diet coke. I'd love to knit a red and white scarf with Paris Hilton's quote 'only fat people drink diet coke' - I might have a degree in French literature but I like me some lowbrow!

-Whats your fav place in Scotland and why?

I have fond memories from my student days in the old town of Edinburgh, and I'll always have a soft spot for the Meadows, jogging around the foot of Arthur's Seat, and my old flat overlooking the Pleasance theatre. In fact, when I graduated and worked with tech start ups and a fashion house in New York, I eventually came back because I missed Edinburgh weather! However, my all-time favourite place in Scotland is New Lanark, and not just due to my obsession with industrial history. It's where my fiance and I had our first date, and where we're getting married later this year.

-Whats the one thing if life you could not live without?

Imagination, in myself, and others. Life would be soooo dull.

-Anything else you would like to add!?

I'm so pleased to be a part of the revamped McEtsy, and hope that we can organise a meet up or tutorial as one of our next steps!
Thanks so much! You can visit Katy's shop by clicking here


Anonymous said...

A really interesting interview. Nice to get to know you Katy! ;-)

Glasgow Craft Mafia sounds great - do you know if there are any plans to create an Edinburgh one?


Annette F. Tait said...

nice to get to know Katy!
maybe we'll meet one day?

and interesting questions too!

littlebird said...

great interview
thanks for sharing Katy : )

Girl_Industries said...

Thanks everyone for your kind comments. It was fun to answer such a great set of questions!

Jane, I'm not sure what is happening with the idea of an Edinburgh craft mafia but I know that setting one up has been discussed by crafters on the Edinburgh scene in the not too distant past.

Evie said...

Enjoyed the interview, Katy! A Craft Mafia in Edinburgh would be great! Can we do anything about it???

LornaSmithStudio said...

Lovely to learn a bit about you Katy and I look forward to working with you to bring the best out of the us Scottish crafty folk.

Laura B said...

Great interview, and lovely to get to know you a bit better!

Lor said...

What a lovely interview. An Edinburgh craft mafia sounds like a great idea!