Friday, November 21, 2008

Etsy Artisan Interview: ToteNTots

I've always called this etsyblogger TNT. There's a lot of fun and useful products in her shop. They are very attractive and well put together. And you can always count on another mother knowing what's needed around the house. Don't forget to check out her website! It was surprised to me - it's not listed on her etsy homepage, and I've never been there before!

  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?
The name of my etsy shop is ToteNTots

  • What types of products do you sell?
At ToteNTots, you will find bags, blankets, appliquéd onsies and burp cloths, baby soft sole shoes and iron on patches. There are baby gift sets in which you can select your needed size and the appliqué. We offer free monogram service on select merchandise and even free shipping on a few items.

  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
Today's favorite item is the Bunny Baby Gift Set. This ready to ship item features fabric from Amy Butler’s Happy Dots collection. An adorable floppy eared bunny is appliquéd to a soft pink Gerber Brand Onsie and an absorbent flannel burp cloth. Baby booties or slippers are included in this ready to ship 6-9 month package. (You can order a different size).

  • How did you find out about Etsy? Were you a buyer before a seller?
I found out about etsy from another seller that I knew only via a Mom’s Board. I was looking for a place to sell handmade bags and quilted baby blankets and in my research found etsy to be at the top of the list. I signed on as a buyer first, under a different name, in order to learn the ropes and make sure this was an appropriate venue for me.

  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?
I am currently involved with the Etsybloggers Team and the EtsyMom Team. The EtsyBloggers are an incredible group of people that are fun, inspiring and always helpful. They epitomize the true meaning of a team. I enjoy the blog carnivals as a means of learning more about my teammates and it is a great way to network and share ideas.

I am also on the EtsyMom Super Giveaway Committee. During the entire month of November, two daily giveaways have been given out and this has taken a lot of my time. It has been well worth it just for the learning experience alone.

  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?
Working with my hands has always been a way for me to relax. I have worked with paints, fabric, wood burning/etching, and even wood work. I love to sew but one of my favorite things is wood working. My Dad taught me how to build things and use tools like a SkillSaw and Router. There is something about stepping over that invisible line that says that only men can do these things. My Dad and I remodeled my first house and it is a great source of pride. Perhaps one day, I will get what I need to do this type of work again.

  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
I began selling my bags in the Houston area. Hurricane Ike decimated parts of the area which has slowed our sales there, but we are optimistic that selling will begin once more in the coming year.

ToteNTots is on shophandmade, a new online venue that is still in beta. It is exciting to see more online ventures that cater to handcrafted goods and I plan on adding my wares to a couple of sites within the year.

  • Everyone knows images are important when selling on the internet. What's your procedure for taking photos of your products? Do you have any tips on taking better photographs?
I researched how to create your own lightbox. This simple technique has made a world of difference. Perhaps the most important thing for me has been to understand how my camera (Olympus) software works in order to adjust the tone and color balance.

  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
Flickr is where I have stored some photos but I am embarrassed to admit that I do not utilize this source as often as most people. I simply forget about it since I store my photos in my computer or flash drive. This is one area I am hoping to improve.

  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?
I actually have three tips.
A).Utilize your email signature effectively. Put your shop address in your signature so that anyone that receives your email will see what you do.
B). Keep professional business cards with you and carry your merchandise. I have had people stop me and ask where I purchased my diaper bag. I pull out a business card and answer their questions.

C).Get a car decal. I purchased a car decal from Leen the Graphics Queen, an etsy seller. I have had people stop me in the parking lot and even received an email telling me they saw my car.

These are free or inexpensive ways to market your business.

  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
I am a SAHM. I was a special education teacher in Houston. I worked with adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral disorders and when I got pregnant my husband and I thought it best to ‘retire’. My husband is hoping that I will be able to work on selling full time once the kids go to school in five years.

  • Where can people find out more about you - do you have a blog, website, instant messaging account?
My Website
My blog

Here's the storybeader's favorite piece - isn't it just adorable?


Rose Works Jewelry said...

This is a great feature!

BeadedTail said...

Fantastic feature Story! I enjoyed learning more about "TNT"!

uniquecommodities said...

Wonderful interview! VERY professional

A Keeper's Jackpot said...

Wow! Nice write up!

TNT2008 said...

Terrific article! Thanks so much for the feature, Deb, you did a great job.

TiLT said...

great interview...I didn't realize she had a website either *off to check it out*

Tulip's Talking said...

Great interview! We wuvs Dynamite...TnT that is.

Splendid Little Stars said...

How fun to see this interview with Erika!

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