Today we are in Indiana with Bethany, one of my readers who wanted to share her shop:
Occupation: Administrative Assistant
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi there. I’m Bethany, and I live in Indiana with my boyfriend Ryan, and my two rats named Chii and Arya. I like all kinds of arts and crafts, like sculpting, sewing, wood burning, drawing, and painting.
When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
I’ve been creating since I was able to put my thoughts onto paper. I’ve won some art contests throughout elementary and middle school, and I’ve been sculpting with Sculpey clay since I was little. I still have some of the little animals and things I made from clay. I first started on Etsy in March of 2008. That was when I got my first bank card, so that I could set up a Paypal account and my shop payments. I really miss “Alchemy” on Etsy, because I made some really nice, custom stuffed animals for people because of it. I also miss “Etc.” in the forums because I “met” a lot of cool artists there, some of which I still talk to today.
How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
I came up with my business name one day out of nowhere. I used to do markdowns at a retail store, and most of the time I would just be scanning this long line of merchandise and my mind would wander. “Eclectic Eel” doesn’t really have a special meaning, but I do have a sort of eclectic group of things that I sell in my shop, and well, I did have a pet peacock eel once, if that means anything.
Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?
No. I don’t list things very often, and I’m just now putting more effort into my other shop, Cicada Clothing. But I do like to have the extra money now and then. I don’t think Etsy could become my full-time job, but I think it might be nice. It would be easier to do when I don’t have credit card payments, car payments, etc. It would be cool to create art for a living, but I would always hope I never run out of inspiration or motivation to create, besides just making money.
How would you describe your creative process?
Well, I start by procrastinating, until I actually get an idea of what I want to make. Then, usually it’s something I want to sew, and I cut out some shapes I think will work together. Most of the time I will draw out my own pattern for the shapes I need. I’ve made my own little round head shape for dolls that I think works really well, and I have a cube pattern that I’ve made for blocky characters. Then I just sew it all together, stuff it, and add the finishing touches like eyes, hair, and clothes.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
This is a common one, but I get a lot of inspiration from nature. And other than that, it’s things I love, like a game, a show, or a tasty dessert.
Do you also sell your work at craft shows? Yes.
• What shows have you taken part of, and do you have a favorite?
I have done a few craft shows in my city, and I always love the Christmas shows. Though we did have one around Halloween that was fun. The only one left that I’m doing this year is a Christmas one on December 15th. It’s in Evansville, IN at the Wired Coffee Shop.
• How long does it take you to prepare for a show? Do you have any special methods of getting ready?
It takes me at least two weeks to make some new things to add to my stock. Usually, I only make things on the weekends though, but if I’m in a rush to make things for a craft show, I’ll spend several nights a week creating things. To get ready for a craft show the following day, I take my table into the living room, and place all my stuff on it to make sure it all fits and looks nice. Then I worry all morning about forgetting things.
• Describe an experience from a show (good or bad) and why that pushes you to continue with your work.
I just love interacting with the other artists at shows. Of course, the main reason I go is make money, but craft shows are a lot of fun too. You get to browse everyone else’s work, talk about their processes, and reminisce about past craft shows.
I don’t know why really, but I think I will always keep my “Chickenpants in Space” doll that I got from “Absolutely Small”. I don’t think they have an Etsy shop anymore, but they do have a website. Mr. Chickenpants is on display right now at my sewing desk.
Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
Besides crafting, in my free time I like to read books or graphic novels, and play video games or PC games. Sometimes I go outside too, haha. Okay, so I almost forgot about outdoor activities since it’s currently cold, but I like to go kayaking, play badminton, and visit caves.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be and why?
I would probably still be working in an office, but I think I’d feel like I didn't have a creative outlet. I think there would be an empty part of me that needed to express itself through art.
Five years from now you will be…
I think I’ll still be in a similar situation, but with a new job, and I will definitely have a house with a art/crafting room. Oh, and maybe a corgi. J
Describe yourself in five words:
Procrastinator, creative, unusual, thinker, hungry
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?
1.) Avenged Sevenfold- Clairvoyant Disese (it’s also my ringtone)
2.) Circa Survive- I Felt Free
3.) Motion City Soundtrack- The Future Freaks me Out
4.) We are Scientists- Rules Don’t Stop
5.) The Shins- Australia
Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?
Just start creating! Sit down with a pencil and paper, and start sketching out ideas. If you want to open an Etsy shop, first of all just do it. There are no obligations for just creating a seller account. Take good photos, in natural light, and do fix your pictures like cropping them or resizing them if you need to. For a craft show, make sure you bring a lot of things. It’s best to have things that range from cheap to a bit more pricey, and have a variety if you can, to appeal to a lot of people.