Friday, February 26, 2010

Internet Artisan Interview - turn peace around

As I was doing my entrecard dropping about a month ago, I read a post that really caught my attention on The Meandering Musings of a Consummate Shopper . The musing introduced me to Nicole and Connie's Etsy shop, full of items inspired by the website, TurnPeaceAround.org . This mother/daughter team instantly moved me, and I knew I would enjoy their artwork and writing. Tell us what YOU think about their shops and blog.

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


Turn Peace Around - Spreading the message one handcrafted item at a time



[this is mom's creative photography and supplies shop on Etsy]


  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
Because I was inspired by TurnPeaceAround.org, I decided I didn't want to compete with them, so I keep updates about this project and Etsy shop in my other business blog - http://www.breathofthedragon.com as well as Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/breathofthedragon

  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
I currently have created hand-painted tote bags, hemp jewelry, and cell phone charms with this flipped peace sign on them. Because this is a joint project with my mom, I'm hoping to list some of her works in the shop in the near future (she does photography and other crafts). We hope to come up with as many different (and hopefully useful) items to put this symbol on as we can handle, so ideas are always welcomed

  • Show us a piece you recently finished
As far as a new piece, the newest are the key chains and cell charms that combine my wood burning with this message.

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
Because I started out doing wood burning, I am hoping to make some small wooden charms that have the flipped peace sign and the words Turn Peace Around burned on them for use on necklaces, cell phone charms or key chains. My mom wants to take a photograph of a peace sign in nature (whether sticks, rocks, etc) and put it on a variety of things, like coasters, magnets and bookmarks.

  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
The Turn Peace Around etsy shop is not affiliated with, but rather inspired by, TurnPeaceAround.org, so I couldn't really take their logo. Instead, I found a peace sign I particularly liked and simply turned it around. For now, I am just using this simple flipped peace sign as my 'face' on the web for the shop. If this takes off like I hope it does, I'd love to come up with a better logo to use for a brand on business cards and the Etsy shop.

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
For now, I have a website which is actually a free account on Blogger that I combined with a URL I've owned for 7 years. I think my favorite widget on Blogger is the ability to add boxes for text and/or html. Because of these boxes, I've been able to make my blog look less like a blog and more like a website, with an introduction section at the top of each page, and a set of navigation buttons on the side.

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
For Turn Peace Around, I have shop set up on Etsy, and I'm working on marketing in a variety of places online, including Link Referral. I'd like to expand, if time and money allow, in the coming year. This idea is important to me, and I want to do the best I can to spread the message. I have only heard about Artfire, Zazzle, and FuzzB, but not yet looked into any of them. If I can get my stand alone site the way I want it and actually launch it this year, it'd be cool to sell my Turn Peace Around items from there as well.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why?
I used to be on MySpace, but didn't see it as a very useful advertising tool, so I left that in the late summer of last year. I have not tried Twitter yet, but I haven't completely ruled it out as a possibility.
I currently use Facebook and love it. Updates about my Turn Peace Around shop are posted to my main Facebook page because the couple that created the .org site already have a fan page, and again, I didn't want to compete. I love Facebook because I don't have to have a separate account that requires me to log in, just to post updates. It's like an opt-in list, but without the emails. People that are honestly interested will see my updates on their Facebook homepage, so I don't feel like I'm spamming them. Plus, it is so easy to connect with other crafters and small businesses on there.

  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
Networking! That's been my favorite thing lately - connecting with other crafters through Etsy teams as well as adding other Pages as a Favorite to my own Page on Facebook. Join groups on Facebook, Yahoo Groups, etc. filled with people that have similar interests, or who are your key market. And be friendly! Talk to the people, don't just join and lurk, and do it with a smile on your face. Make them feel welcomed and appreciated, without spamming them about your business, and they will want to come back to you.
  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
I'm pretty simple in that I only charge cost of supplies plus a set labor rate. The rate changes, however, depending on the object being created and the going market for those items. For instance, I won't charge $10/hr to make a bracelet if I cannot then sell that bracelet for the $12 price.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
Most of my hemp jewelry is created wherever I am sitting - the living room, at the computer, wherever I feel like. Painting the bags takes place in the same space where I burn wood for my other shop. [photos attached] Here you can see the adjustable angle drafting table that I work on, as well as the small student desk where I store most of my supplies and completed projects.

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
It would be amazing if Turn Peace Around handmade items become hot sellers, and I am terribly busy making more products every day. I'm also hoping that my pyrography business does the same, and I will be making a solid income from both ventures combined that I can leave my "day" job (stocking freight at a grocery store overnight). Getting to that point is the blurry part of the plan... :)

  • OK, it's the storybeader's turn to pick a favorite!
I really like the cotton tote bags. Perfect to bring to the store for a quick shopping spree. The colors are great on this one, with such an interesting message, it will surely catch a lot of attention. Can't think of a better way to get your name out there!

5 comments:

Beth said...

Cool stuff!

TiLT said...

love it!

memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

Great concept and fun items!

sandy said...

Your peace symbol's take me back to the sixty's! Hear me singing...."Give peace a chance".

Very nice
Sandy
Hope you'll swing by to get in on my contest

Linda Hammelman said...

Great interview! And I can certainly relate to the peace symbol being of a certain age! Very talented artisan!

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