We are headed to Albuquerque, NM this week..
Name: Erica Voges
Occupation: Owner and Designer for Caustic Threads
Etsy Shop: CausticThreads
Tell us a little about yourself.
According to my friends and Husband, I may just be superwoman. I feel too modest to agree with them, but I do juggle quite an eclectic variety of activities, and I have not understood the meaning of the word “bored” since high school.
I work from home with my beautiful girls. Autumn is almost four and argues so much I have started saving for her to go to Harvard Law, I don’t think that $5.00 will get her very far. Penelope is a 14 month old Cherub with striking blue eyes and pale blonde hair.
I also play roller derby. I skate on a home team and on my leagues travel team. Between practice and cross training at the gym with my trainer I put in 6 days and about 10 hours a week. I met my husband playing roller derby, I was a skater, he was a referee.
I have a degree in fashion design, and always pictured a more glamorous life. Somehow, although my life diverged so drastically from the childhood dream, it is absolutely perfect. I could not be happier.
When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
I have been creating as long as I can remember. I used to drape fabric on myself when I was a young child and throw fashion shows for my family. I love painting , drawing, designing, and sewing. I started an etsy shop called Acrylic and Steel with my husband . I came up with my name for my current shop, CausticThreads, in September of 2009, but did not start listing items until April 15th of 2010.
How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
I had an idea for a new store. While I was trying to come up with a name I was hiking in an old fort in the Portland Oregon area. I’m not sure exactly where it was, possibly a beautiful place erroneously called Cape Disappointment. The corroding metal doors were orange with rust and had this beautiful urban decay thing going on that was very inspiring. I spent some time brainstorming variations that included something about corroding and something about clothing, and knew it would be Caustic Threads as soon as it hit the paper. It gets across a vague idea of what I sell and is also a play on words, and I am a sucker for a pun.
Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?
Yes, this business that revolves around my etsy store is my full time job, and I have one very awesome employee that helps me with paperwork, packaging orders, and miscellaneous other tasks, like taking my kids to the park and modeling for my photos.
How would you describe your creative process?
I do a lot of brainstorming. I draw things I like, and then print them on shirts. I get a lot of requests and if they fit within the general scheme of my store sometimes I do those designs too. I am not very good at… not working…. So if I am watching a movie with my husband or waiting at a Dr’s appointment I am probably drawing.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I make things I think are awesome. If I want something and I can’t find it, I make it. I also love just walking slowly through craft stores to get ideas.
Do you also sell your work at craft shows?
Not often, I do sell at roller derby bouts though.
• How long does it take you to prepare for a show? Do you have any special methods of getting ready?
Preparing when I do sell items in person is usually chaotic. I always try to not wait until the last minute to finish things, but I tend to work until the very last second, even when I have more than enough.
What is your most cherished handmade item?
I have purchased tons of handmade items, but the ones I cherish most are the ones my husband made. On my second date with my husband he gave me a roller skate bearing necklace with an amber center, similar to the ones we sell in my store but harder to make. I knew then I would marry him, but it took me a while to convince HIM. We also bought our wedding rings from BendTheFish on etsy, and those are definitely high on my list of favorite handmade items.
Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
I love biking, playing roller derby, playing with my kids, hiking, skating, making out with my husband, going to the zoo and botanical gardens, and cooking.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be and why?
It is really hard to imagine not being an artist, but there was a time when I considered being a math teacher. I love math, especially geometry.
Five years from now you will be…
There was a time when I would try to forecast my life. While I think that planning is very important, I know better than to say I will be doing anything specific. I can only hope that I am as happy in 5 years as I am now.
Describe yourself in five words:
crazy, diligent, shy, enthusiastic, TIRED
Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your <insert whatever type of music player you use here>, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
In no real order:
Stray Cats- Stray Cat Strut
Cake- Rock’n’Roll Lifestyle
Ani Difranco- Untouchable Face
Glen Miller Band- In The Mood
Jurassic 5- Quality Control
Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?
If you want to do something (assuming it is legal, etc) just do it. If you do not do something because you are afraid or insecure the only person keeping you from doing it is yourself. This was a hard lesson to learn because I am naturally insecure, and an invaluable perspective that running my own business has given me.