Friday, August 21, 2009

Internet Artisan Interview - Nfall2rt Design Studio

I first met Nancy from Nfall2rt Design Studio on Entrecard... I think! I was so attracted by her use of color that she became a favorite in no time and I get the chance to drop in on her... often! ... and see what she’s up to. That’s the great thing about EC, and I think she agrees with me, by the sound of this interview. Read on!....
  • What's the name of your business/shop?
I sell both on etsy as Nfall2rt Design Studio and on Art Fire as The Paper House.
  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
Art Fire-->
  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
In The Paper House I sell paper goods, specifically mini (3" square) note card sets complete with handmade envelopes and my quilled paper jewelry designs.

Nfall2rt Design Studio houses my knitwear- totes, clutches, coin purses, and scarves. I have some original art pieces and my jewelry designs in this shop as well.
  • Show us a piece you recently finished

The Paper House is my most active shop right now, as I'm attempting to up the stock since it is a new shop. My most recently finished piece can be found here:

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
I typically don't sketch my work unless I'm working out a new knit pattern. For now knitting is on a hold, although soon I'll begin designing new scarves and bags for the fall and winter season. Right now I'm concentrating on new card and envelope sets. Typically I scan the aisles of my favorite paper supply shops until I find an inspiring and fresh print, and then I begin to pair it with other prints and solids to create a set. I always try to surprise the eye with interesting color pairings.

  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
I mainly use Project Wonderful to advertise my online shops, but have also placed ads on facebook, and design blogs. I also post my business cards around town and acquire as many links as possible on other blogs and social networking sites through friends, fellow bloggers, and the like. In addition, I use Entrecard to advertise my blog, which has really helped to establish a solid group of ever growing followers.

My avatars are all different. I do like the idea of consistency, but since I create so many different types of art, and have two shops selling totally different products, I do use different product shots across the board. I feel that my work is related enough through bright color and design that people can come recognize my style.

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget?
I suppose I would have to say that I most love entrecard. It has been consistently the single most driver of traffic to my blog since I joined, as I'm sure most others would agree. I know that bounce rate for entrecard visitors is a bit high, but, people are still reading. I get new commenters chiming in from time to time, especially when my posts are more engaging. I have found many amazing blogs as well as wonderful blog pals through entrecard as well. It's definitely a worthwhile venture for anyone who hasn't already joined.
  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
I sell on etsy and ArtFire. I really do love etsy for it's overall appearance. I think buyers can become hypnotized just looking at the main page. But to get that look, etsy has had to claim more control than ArtFire does. For example, you can only make the front page of etsy if you put a lot of work into being a presence on the site and continually nab your own treasuries, and then even still, if you are in one, the chances of it making the front page are all up to etsy admin. On Art Fire, everyone gets more equal views. Both of these styles have their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
I've ventured into flickr, Indie Public, registered with different blog catalogues, but that's about it. I work full time during the school year, so I find that I don't have the time to maintain everything. I have made several sales through connections on flickr, and really value that site the most. I know that facebook and twitter are two sites that most people seem to find great success networking on. I'm holding out for now, but do have future plans of joining if I feel that I have any of that coveted “extra” time this fall. [she’s got a facebook fan page now!]
  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?

I think the number one thing is photography. Not all of us would call that a strength, I certainly didn't at first. I think you can promote all you want, but if your pictures don't have that enticing quality then you're not going to get the clicks. It's taken me a long time to be mostly happy with the quality of the photography in my shop. I've written a blog post here detailing some of the tips and tricks I've learned along the way. There's plenty of help out there, but just stick with it and don't get frustrated. Improvement comes slowly and gradually, you've got to be patient.

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
Well, I suppose the theory is 2-3 times the price of your materials, but I don't find that to always ring true for my work. With my knit products, I often spend many more hours laboring over them than that price would call for. With my paper products, the material costs way undercut the amount of time I spend creating them. So it's not quite a perfect system. I think it's important to take that rule as a guideline, research other similar handmade products so you can be competitive, take into account what people will pay for your product, and make sure you are comfortable with the final price. If you feel cheated or like you're working for pennies, that's probably a sign that you should raise the prices some.
  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
My studio is tucked in the corner of our living room. It works for me, I have all the space I need and, more importantly adequate storage.

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
One year from now I hope to have done my first (and maybe more) craft show, streamlined both shops to the exact aesthetic that I want, have found some brick and mortar representation, and at least doubled my contacts. I'm coming up on my first year actually in September, and feel that I have a decent online presence. I just need to branch out and become a presence in the art scene in my town too. I'm a bit shy, so some of these are a bit tough for me to do, but I know I can overcome my fears and go for my dreams!

  • OK, it’s the storybeader’s turn to pick a favorite! This little guy in Nancy’s sketchbook series really jumped out at me, and warmed my heart. I love watercolors, and this is just so cute. She is truly a talented lady, with a fun side to boot. Off to work!!


joeyandaleethea said...

Story! :D What a fantastic interview! So in depth, I loved learning all about this artist. Those cards are so cute! And yep so full of color! Good luck to Nancy on doing her first craft show in a year - how exciting!

Lenox Knits said...

What a fabulous feature on one of my blogging buddies. Nancy is so multi-talented and this interview covered all of her many creative pursuits so well.

Theresa said...

Excellent interview with Nancy. I feel like I know her even better now.

BeadedTail said...

Those cards are really cute! Great interview and I always enjoy hearing about other's creative processes!

Rose Works Jewelry said...

She has some really great looking stuff!

Nancy said...

Thanks for the opportunity:) What a lovely spread!

Splendid Little Stars said...

She makes quite beautiful items! I really enjoyed this interview!

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