The Handmade Feature today is an interview with the owner of the adorable Etsy shop Too Cute Kawaii :
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a 26 year old stay at home mother to two wonderful children. My son is 6 years old and my daughter is 1 1/2. I was born in the state of Tennessee but moved to Florida at the young age of 8. Even though I reside in Florida, i’ve always considered Tennessee to be my home. It was a big change for me, the scenery, the weather and the loss of friends and family I left behind. I still visit Tennessee and my family as much as I can but I would love to one day move back.
How did you get started in your handmade business?
Being a stay at home mom is both rewarding and hard. We rely on my other half to pay all the bills, buy groceries, pay insurance, etc. He works very hard and I opened my business to help support our family. I never thought that my art would be so loved by many around the world.
What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?
I suppose you could say i’ve always been artistic or crafty. I have had an interest in crafts since I was little. My aunt taught me to do a lot of different crafts ranging from latch hook, cross-stitch to bead work and jewelry design. Since I started doing them when I was little I have enjoyed crafts ever since. It doesn’t stop there though. I always loved to decorate.. even the smallest things such as letters and envelopes written to family and pen pals. Drawing would have to be my worst craft. I do draw but simply to sketch out a design or idea i’m working on.
Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
This being my business and being a stay at home mom with two little children, I don’t have much ‘spare’ time apart from working, haha. Sometimes I take a break and have my boyfriend watch the kids. I escape to a public parking lot or local coffee house to have piece and quiet. During these times I usually am able to come up with new and exciting ideas for my business.
How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?
I have only been selling online since July of 2010. Since then my shop has grown and with hope, will continue to grow. I am so honored to know that my work is treasured by children and moms all around the world! It really inspires me when I tend to have those “I don’t know” moments.
How many different places do you sell from?
Currently my only active venue is Too Cute Kawaii on Etsy. In the future, I do plan on opening more stores across the internet.
Do you collect anything?
Yes. I am a true fan of Kawaii. I love to collect different characters from Japan. My collection is very small because I recently had to depart from my collection. It still hurts! However, I’m looking for a new and exciting chance to collect from fellow artists! Since I have been making and selling handmade I understand the true value and hard work put into it. I am now replacing my commercial manufactured collection with bright, cute and inspiring work from Artists around the world.
How did you come up with your shop name?
Many of the items I had made always got the reaction “That is too cute”. At first I didn’t pay much attention to it being a shop name but I thought to myself “It fits very well”. I am pleased to say, that my customers feel the same! I am so honored by this. So, now we are introducing “TooCuteKawaii” to the world!
If you had the opportunity to learn one more craft you don’t already do, what would it be?
I would love to learn to sew. I love the idea of turning yards of fabric into a beautiful outfit. I really have respect for this type of craft and admire all the hard work they do designing and sewing! I’ve seen some beautiful curtains, dresses, car seat covers, baby items and the like. It is just amazing what the mind can create!
What would your dream job be?
To own my very own store. I’ve always had a business mind and would love to have a Brick and Mortar shop. I constantly vision a beautiful store of white and pink with bright colorful products filling the gondola shelves and clothing racks. In reality, I am living the dream of making children smile when they see an adorable piece made just for them!
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
Mind reading, haha. I’m so nosey! I often look at people and wonder just what they are thinking. Although it would seem to be a wonderful power, it may just be a great way to seep into depression. Often people think about their struggles, their worries.. and to carry this burden of knowing would be a struggle all on it’s own. I couldn’t imagine taking the hurt, fears and shame of the people I interact with. It would drive me to insanity and having the term “Curiosity killed the cat” turn into reality.
What is your earliest memory of creating something you were proud of?
When I was just a little girl I made my mother a honey pot in school. It is the worst looking honey pot you have ever seen but at the time I was very proud of it. I still am to this day.. I just cringe a little haha. I often find myself looking back on previous work I have done when I first started and seeing how I have evolved from trial and error. An art takes practice. You always find yourself improving over time and coming up with more unique, fun and entertaining ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of before.