This week I had a last minute cancellation, so I thought to myself.."Why let another weekend be ruined and left postless? How about I share some behind the scenes with the Hive for you guys."
So here it is..my behind the scenes!
Occupation: Slave to corporate America/ Soap Maker
Etsy Shop: The Hive Botanicals
Tell us a little about yourself.
I think most of you all know me pretty well by now. I'm a baker, crafter, soap maker , glass blower/flameworker (though I haven't been in my shop in AGES) furry critter lover, gardener..the list just keeps on going. It boils down to I love being busy and doing lots of different things.
I grew up in central NY, left for 10 years following high school and during that time lived in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Austin, DC, Boston (where I met my now husband) and Northampton MA. Then I found myself back in my hometown, something I never thought would happen and I'm still not entirely sure how it did.
My husband, aka "the mister", and I are renovating our 1870's Victorian and share it with our two furry four legged buddies, Ella - our one and a half year old miniature dachshund and Polly - our six year old red-tick coon hound.
When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
I've always been a creator. When I was little you could find me, quiet, in a corner drawing and coloring. I would treat all my coloring books with such pride and I was known for my abilities to color "within the lines" when other kids were just grabbing colors and scribbling all over the page. I guess I've always been very particular and precise when it comes to all my projects.
I've been on Etsy previously when I had my prior business, Bill Pickles Dog Co. It was an all natural dog cookie company and I also made all the collars, leashes and dog beds. I loved that little business but sadly it closed its doors in January 2010.
With my new business, I opened the doors October 2012.
How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
I was actually brainstorming business names for my glass business (which has started yet!) and the mister said.."Why not "The Hive"?" It just stuck with me. Most people think it's because I use beeswax in my lip balms. Some people think I have bee products in the soaps (I don't- they are totally vegan) Other people think I have a beehive. It's for none of the above reasons.
It was just a name I really liked. I look at it more like I wear soooo many hats in this business. I make the soaps and lip balms, I crochet the wash cloths. I design the labels, logos, website. I come up with all the new product lines and research. I market the goods, sell at shows. It's just never ending. So I'm "busy as a bee" in my hive.
Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?
No, I don't think Etsy will ever be able to support me in this business but I definitely would like it to become one of my main sources of income. I'd like to branch out and get my goods into some shops and I also have a few other things in the works. I'll let you all in on it soon. Fingers and toes crossed these few leads take off for me!
How would you describe your creative process?
I need to be in the mood to work, once I get going though its hard to stop me. My brain is constantly thinking of new ideas, new scents and combinations and new product lines that I may start developing.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I think everyone says nature. But I don't know how you can say nature doesn't inspire you in some way, shape or form. I also get a lot of inspiration from baking. I think that is why I always say "flavors" instead of "scents" for my soaps. I love creating smells and coming up with new creations.
Do you also sell your work at craft shows?
Yup, I currently sell every Saturday at our local farmer's market in Hamilton, NY. We also plan on selling at the Craft Days that are held here each year in Oneida, NY and are looking into doing the Sharon Springs, Harvest Festival that is put on by the Beekman Boys. That should be exciting.
How long does it take you to prepare for a show? Do you have any special methods of getting ready?
I now have stocked inventory so it really doesn't take me any time to prepare for shows because I just bring what I have. When I ran the dog cookie business, it was sheer baking madness the few days leading up to shows!
Describe an experience from a show (good or bad) and why that pushes you to continue with your work.
I think what pushes me the most is how excited customers get when they pick up a bar of soap or my lip balms, take in a deep sniff and their faces light up and they say "Oh my god! That's amazing!!" That never gets old for me. There have been times past and present when people are so rude and you really want to just say "Seriously?!" But you don't you keep that smile on your face and let it brush past. I think you develop a thick skin when doing shows and dealing with the public. I tend to be someone that takes everything personally. Negative comments really hurt me a lot, but I'm trying to be better and not let it show. At least not right then. I wait until I get home before I vent and shake my head. You have to just keep the positives in the forefront when you get those rude, meanies in your presence. That is my word of advice when it comes to working at shows!
What is your most cherished handmade item?
After my gramma passed away my parents were going through her things and my mom came across a bunch of granny squares. There weren't enough completed ones to make a blanket so my mom gave them to my aunt to make into a project. At first I was a little hurt that she didn't give them to me to do something with them but then I realized why. That Christmas, my mom, my sister and myself all got pillows that my aunt made. My Aunt passed away last year, so now that pillow means even more to me, a little piece of my gramma and a little piece of my aunt in one little wonky pillow.
Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
I love to take the girls for walks in the woods, going antiquing with the mister, baking, hanging out in the garden, watching documentaries and Korean films (I'm obsessed with gory Korean films right now for some reason!) and the newest..fishing! I had never been fishing before, apart from one time when I was little and I freaked out because my dad wanted me to touch a worm. The mister has started going fishing and he bought me my own pole and everything. It was pretty exciting, and no worms! So I think that will be fun to hang out in the rivers and creeks this summer. We watch River Monsters on Itunes, so I always imagine that I'm going to catch this crazy big fish that no one has ever seen before. "Fish on! Fish on!"
Was there ever any other job you dreamed of having growing up?
I would have loved to become a vet or an architect. But I know I don't have the stomach to be able to be a vet. I don't think I'd ever be able to perform a surgery and I would cry and show all my emotions with everyones animals. As far as the architect. I think that is one of my biggest mistakes/misses. When I put myself back through school a few years back I was on the verge of going then changed my mind and went for business/marketing. While my degree has definitely helped me in my personal businesses...I sometimes wonder where I may be right now if I picked to become an architect instead.
Five years from now you will be…
My goal for the next five years is to have our house completely restored, be well on my way (if not completely) debt free and hopefully working for myself full time.
Describe yourself in five words:
sarcastic, recluse, observant, creative, ambitious
Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on Spotify, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
Mumford and Sons, Avett Brothers, The Promise Ring, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Mineral
Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?
Go for it. I am constantly telling everyone that has a business idea to just try it. What's the worst that can happen? You fail. But at least you tried and gave your dreams and ideas life. I always think that it is so much worse to just dwell and think on the "what-ifs" in life. I say go full force and give your ideas a shot.
Put time and effort into the presentation and design of whatever you are doing as well. I think people really appreciate the packaging and design aspect of the products you create. When I am buying a new product, one of the first things that draw me in is the packaging and design. Offer someone a quality product and they will bound to be back for more.