Friday, February 5, 2010

Internet Artisan Interview - Simply Inviting Cards

Jen, owner and operator of Simply Inviting Cards, works with all sorts of papers to create her products. I really like her combination of practicality and beauty! It was loads of fun, looking through her Etsy shop. She has one section devoted to Valentine's Day. Be warned, her shop will be closed Feb 10th - 22nd, so if you see something that strikes your fancy, you have the weekend to go claim it before the big day comes and goes! In addition to Etsy, Jen has both a blog and a web site, which is a good lesson to all of us selling online. Use the links and tell us what you think!

  • What's the name of your business/shop?

  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
My web site is at and
my blog is
Like my creations, both are an evolving work in progress!

  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
The majority of the items I sell are greeting cards, mini cards, photo albums, journals, handmade paper and tags. I occasionally have decorative items, kits, and mini envelopes.

  • Show us a piece you recently finished
A recently finished item that I have actually sold, but you're free to look :)

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
Right now, I am working on some custom word shape photo albums for a few different customers. I rarely work from sketches as my creative process is often organic. I find sketches rather constrictive. I'll start with a general idea for a composition and color palette and then just let the creativity happen.

  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
I really don't actively advertise my blog through graphical tools or paid advertising. in fact, I haven't even taken the time to create buttons yet. I believe that if your blog has quality content, is attractive, you promote items of interest to your personal network, then the word of mouth promotion will take on a life of its own. I just be sure to include it with my e-mail signature, business cards, Etsy profile, my Etsy Alchemy page, and my Etsy Message to Buyer. If I post something of interest, I'll promote it to my teams, in the Etsy forums, and on my social networks.

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
I really like the follower widget from Blogged. Since I use third party software on my self-hosted blog, I had to go out on my own to find a user-friendly way for prospective followers to sign up with my site. I hope to find something that will allow Google users to sign up soon!

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
Etsy is my vendor of choice. I have used one other service provider, but they couldn't compare with what Etsy could offer me.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!

My Facebook Fan Page and Twitter are actually my two favorites. My blog is a very close 3rd. I like Facebook because I can maintain an event calendar and photo galleries devoted to different collections, item types, and my craft shows. Plus, I can share information with my fans that they can access at their leisure. I like Twitter because I feel it is a great way to get to know other people and engage in real-time conversations. I like my blog because of how much I can personalize it on a whim.

  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?

It is just as important to promote outside of Etsy and the internet as it is to promote on Etsy and the internet. Craft shows and selling through local boutiques have been wonderful for getting my work in front of people who aren't in social networks or don't know about Etsy.

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
Sort of. I definitely factor in: Cost of materials + (time invested/creation, photography, listing x what I pay myself hourly) + packaging. This gives me a "ballpark" figure to start from. I also consider things like uniqueness and my overall opinion of the finished product. I always shoot for selling an item at a price I can feel good about. That way, when I do sell it, I can feel good about the sale.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
LOL. No you don't. Trust me!

Actually, my workspace is in a (very, very ugly and awkward) transitional phase right now . I'm moving my tech and shipping gadgets out of my studio and into it's own space while reorganizing my studio, thus holding out to see what storage goodies I *MIGHT* get for Christmas. :)

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the work?
I'll actually start offering block printing, hand paintings, mixed media, and collage work on my cards next year along with introducing art pendants and ACEOs. I have plans to sell paintings in the future, but that is on the backburner until 2011 for now.

  • It's the storybeader's turn to pick a favorite!
I love Jen's paper... another thing I'd like to leave to do. Here's my favorite shade, of course, blue - sky, sea, and turquoise! The color is natural, "the result of the batch of scraps from which they are produced." And they are aired dry. NEAT!


Splendid Little Stars said...

Thanks for sharing this! I can relate to her work space not being the most beautious. However, I work all over my house, so spaces that were once lovely become very messy (like a kitchen counter top at this moment). That being said, her supplies look very organized, and that in itself is a thing of beauty!
off to check out her shop!

Dual said...

Your blog is verry nice !

UberArt and Emerson Bindery said...

She has beautiful things in her store! Thanks for introducing her!

Linda Pruitt said...

Great interview! I like the tip that she gave. I'm starting to do more promotion outside of the internet, too!

Patti said...

Her work is lovely...thanks for bringing her to our attention!

BeadedTail said...

She has lovely items! Thanks for introducing her to us!

Jen S. said...

Thank you so much for sharing my shop with your readers! It's always fun for me to see what other bloggers in the creative community have to say and share. It is truly an honor to have a place in your blog. :) Cheers, Jen <3

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