Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Geschmeide Unter Teck

The wonderful Etsy shop in the spotlight today is Geschmeide Unter Teck; a Germany-based shop that sells awesome themed resin rings and earrings. I particularly love the knitting themed one!
I hope you enjoy the interview:)
How did you get started in your handmade business?
I love unusual rings and I wanted to make a resin ring for myself as a summer project. I read all about the craft process, and then made my first experiments with resin. A friend gave me the idea to start selling my jewelry to others.
What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?
I’ve always liked to draw, and at college I took art as a main subject. Now my full-time job is communication designer. This is all going in the same artistic direction.
Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Handicraft or making jewelry is my pastime. But I also love dancing and skiing.
How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?
I founded my jewelry company in late 2010. In 2011 I opened my shop at DaWanda and 2013 at Etsy.
How did you come up with your shop name?
I named my design firm “Design unter Teck” (“Design below Teck”), because I live in Kirchheim unter Teck. Teck is a lovely castle at the edge of the “Swabian Alb”, which I see in front of my window. “Geschmeide unter Teck” (“Jewels below Teck”) was a logical continuation for me. Also my group of friends call themselves “Friends below Teck” 🙂
Do you have another job? What is it?
My day job is graphic design.
What is your favourite part of your handmade business?
I like to design new jewelry. I’m constantly thinking about new ideas.
What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?
My breathing mask, my drill and my hands.
What would your dream job be?
I already have my dream job(s).
I hope you are enjoying this interview series, and please keep an eye out for more coming soon!
Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Joël Penkman

Since I very much enjoy reading interviews with artists and craftspeople, I’ve decided that after a 4 year hiatus (where did that time go??), I’m going to start posting some Q & As with Etsy sellers again. If you’d like to see the previous interviews on this blog, please click here.
First up is Joël Penkman; a talented painter of a wide range of objects, but mainly food and nostalgic confectionery.
(I had to put her Blackpool rock painting at the top of the post since I live in the home of this famous sweet …and well-known tooth breaker!)
I hope you enjoy the interview.


How did you get started in your handmade business?
I kind of stumbled into it; it was always something I wanted to do but didn’t think was possible. I was working as a freelance designer and I painted a little in my spare time. It began when I entered one of my paintings into a local art competition. It was well received and from there a local gallery owner asked me if I’d like to have an exhibition in her gallery. I spent a few months off freelancing to get some paintings together.
Afterwards, I put the paintings online and sent them to the Design*Sponge blog. Thanks to the internet, people from all over the world could see my work and I began to get a lot of enquiries for giclee prints of the paintings. From there things have slowly built up. Now I no longer do any freelance design work; instead, I paint and sell originals, prints and take on a number of commercial commissions. I feel very, very lucky to be able to do this.


What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?

I’ve always been happiest when I was making something. I studied graphic design at the School of Fine Arts in Christchurch, New Zealand, because I enjoyed it and I thought I could make a living this way. In reality it wasn’t always as rewarding as I’d hoped it would be, so I tried to find another way to use the skills I had.


Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I love baking, gardening, collecting and cooking hedgerow food, renovating old furniture, and hanging out with my best buddy (and husband) James.


How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?

Since 2011, I began selling online in July that year.


How many different places do you sell from?

I like to deal with customers directly when I sell original paintings as they are a big investment for them. People can get in touch with me directly from my website joelpenkman.com

I sell giclée prints and small originals on Etsy.

There are also a few galleries in the UK that sell prints and occasionally originals.


In ten years, where would you like to be?

Probably doing what I’m doing now but much better. I’d like to be happy! I don’t have a big plan as I think it’s better to make the most of what life offers you. But a larger house would be good as my work is slowly taking over every room.

Do you have any pets?

A little tabby called Molly whom I love so much! She really only loves my husband James, but I keep trying.


What is your favourite part of your handmade business?

Not having to get up and travel to work each day and being my own boss. I love it so much.


If you had the opportunity to learn one more craft you don’t already do, what would it be?

I would learn to make ceramics / pottery.


If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
Tricky. Maybe to not need sleep so I could have an extra 8 hours every day to do things.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Joel Penkman for answering my questions.
Stay tuned for more interviews soon 🙂
Etsy · Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Pillow Pallooza

The Handmade Feature today is an interview with the owner of Pillow Pallooza on Etsy, a seller of fun and colourful handmade pillows.

How did you get started in your handmade business ?

I’ve always enjoyed decorating and making things for my home and I find that making pillows is one of the easiest and inexpensive ways to transform and update almost any room in the house. When I was first introduced to Eco felt, which is an environmentally friendly felt made of, if you can believe it….. fibers made from recycled plastic bottles ! I was immediately inspired by this humble fabric but I knew the possibilities where endless and I loved how soft it felt. The first pillow I made using Eco felt fabric was for my boys bedrooms. It was an appliqued pillow based on a vintage poster of an actual police practice target: (www.etsy.com/listing/35964302/target-practice-20-x-20-inch-pillow-in) I wanted to experiment further and design fun and unique pillows. Ultimately this inspired and led me to open my online pillow shop on Etsy.

What first made you want to become an artist/crafts person ?

I never had a choice, it was in me right from the beginning. My father (who sadly passed away) was a very talented self taught artist who had a significant influence on me and in many occasions we used to draw and paint together but we were also each others worst critiques. Even before I began to offer my craft for sale I had been producing arts and craft for myself and my family. I find inspiration from within and the art just naturally makes it’s way out.

Apart fom crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Having three teenage boys, (20, 18, and 16) at home keeps me quite busy. I like a clean environment and it’s how I stay focused, so keeping my home in tip top shape is quite time consuming. I also love to cook and bake so I spend a lot of time preparing healthy home made meals. I especially love to cook eastern mediterranean foods, it’s what i grew up with and I do it best to the beat of very loud Israeli, armenian or greek music!

How many different places do you sell from?

Etsy is the only place I sell from, at least for the time being . I have 2 other shops on etsy: thequeenofquitealot.etsy.com and bohemianwhimsey.etsy.com

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

Well, this doesn’t qualify as “handmade” but rather “footmade”. I cherish my kids first shoes! They are tiny and simply adorable and when you look closely you can see their little foot marks printed inside….. now that is priceless !!!

In ten years, where would you like to be?

First, I plan on being in a drier, warmer climate than here in Oregon. Southern California would be just fine. I also expect my children to be settled around me in close proximity.

If you had to recommend one movie, which perhaps isn’t so well known, which one would it be?

I have so many favorites its hard for me to pick just one. I love to watch foreign movies and especially old movies from the 30’s and early 40’s. There is one particular movie that I’ve watched maybe a dozen times called Johnny Stecchino, directed and played by Italian actor Roberto Benigni. Now if you like watching Woody Allen movies then you’re going to like Benigni’s movies.

What is your favorite part of your handmade business?

Honestly, I love every part of it but my absolute favorite would be the finishing touches and when I finally insert the pillow form and it takes shape.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

That’s easy but I would want to have 2 super powers. The ability to speak any language at any given time and to time travel so I can travel back to when my kids where babies and I can kiss them a million gazzilion times with no resistance on their part.

What is your earliest memory of creating something you were proud of?

When I was in 6th grade I carved out a tea set out of plain class room chalk. It was the cutest thing but unfortunately my art teacher thought so too and she kept it.

Any other handmade shops you’d like to recommend?

Etsy · Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: RACHELelise

The Handmade Feature today is an interview with the owner of RACHELelise on Etsy, a seller of beautiful bags and satchels that are right up my street!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Rachel, a recent college graduate and newlywed. I work at home on my bag business full-time and enjoy cooking, traveling, and lounging around when I’m not busy sewing up a storm.

How did you get started in your handmade business?

I’ve been sewing since I was in grade school, and when I got to college, I started selling handmade tote bags at a local coffee shop to earn a little extra cash. I got a really good response from the community, and someone told me about Etsy; I started selling on Etsy during college, and by the time I graduated, it was a full-time job!

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?

I really love creating and knew that I would always find satisfaction in working for myself and being allowed to be creative on my own terms.

Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I spend a lot of time curled up on the couch with my husband and our cat. Relaxing after a long day of sewing is the best! I also enjoy reading, cooking, and eating cheeseburgers.

How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?

I’ve been doing crafts since I was allowed to use safety scissors. I come from a long line of artsy/craftsy folks, and I carry on the tradition proudly. I started sewing, specifically, 12 years ago, and I’ve been selling online for 3 years.

How many different places do you sell from?

Etsy is the most consistent market for me year around. In the spring and fall, I take part in a lot of trade/craft shows in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area. You can get information on those shows at my website: http://www.rachelelise.com. I also sell wholesale to boutiques, mostly in the U.S., but sometimes internationally.

Have any pets?

I have a cat named Dagny that likes to sleep in the window of my studio while I sew.

How did you come up with your shop name?

Pretty simple- It’s my first and middle name. I always liked the way they sounded together. The name confuses some people, though… they always ask if it’s my maiden name, or if I’m “Rachel” or “Elise”… I’m both! 🙂 Every once in a blue moon, I run into another Rachel Elise, and we get really excited haha.

What would your dream job be?

I have my dream job! Yay!

What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?

My Bernina sewing machine, for one. My mom got it for me when I turned 13… I’m 22 now, and it’s still a trooper! Second would be my super-fantastic spring-loaded fabric scissors. I cut a lot of canvas and vinyl, and they are a life saver! The third is a custom table that my friends Shelley and Vaughan built for me. It’s great for cutting out bags, designing bags, and has built-in storage for bags that are in the shop, waiting to be sold!

Any other handmade shops you’d like to recommend?

HomeAgain2 – They don’t a have a lot in their Etsy right now, but these are the folks that made the awesome worktable for my studio. They make amazing furniture and are great people on top of that!

IndieThrift – Melissa is super nice and makes adorable accessories!

ZenAndCoffee – Wren makes beautiful and unique gloves. She made a pair for me to wear at my wedding, and I got so many compliments!

Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Celentano Woodworks

The Handmade Feature today is an interview with the owner of Celentano Woodworks on Etsy, a seller of creative guitars and other amazing handmade instruments. I fell in love with the apple guitar as soon as I saw it – isn’t it fantastic?!

How did you get started in your handmade business?
I’ve been making and experimenting with instruments since i was 15. It became more of a business when the economy crashed and was out of work from my construction job. Thats when I had nothing to loose and decided to do what I enjoy most and actually make a living doing it.

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?
Art was always a big part of my life ever since I was young. My family was definitely the type to always have art supplies for me to play with. As I grew up, I learned more about woodworking and construction from my father.

Apart fom crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Can’t say I have much spare time 🙂 HA. But in all reality, catching a couple minutes of a movie before passing out on the couch means the world when it happens. As well as eating dinner.

How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?
I’ve been building and repairing instrument for 15 years. I started selling online in 2009.


How many different places do you sell from?
At the moment, I do all my business through Etsy (CelentanoWoodworks.Etsy.com)

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Probably the first guitar i ever made. It was an electric guitar that looked like a lizard. It had glass eyes and the cable came out of the mouth as the tongue.

What is your favorite part of your handmade business?
The best part is playing it for the first time and hearing the fruits of my labor.


What are your hopes and aspirations for your store and where do you see yourself going from here?
Hopefully I can continue having the time of my life being able to make cool stuff for people to rock and roll with 🙂 As time goes on, I am receiving request for bigger and wilder pieces like full size guitars and cellos. My aspirations are definitely to grow and to push the limits.

What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?
6″ starrett ruler, table saw, and music in the shop.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
I would love the ability to stop time. It would be awesome if I could get 48 hours of work done in one day.

And that’s the end of this week’s feature!

Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Miss November Studio


The Handmade Feature today is an interview with the owner of Miss November Studio on Etsy, a seller of amazingly original sterling silver and copper jewellery:

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Sandra, I’m 30 and I live in beautiful San Diego with my husband, our dog Ruby and our guinea pigs Madame Horseradish and Special Brownie.

How did you get started in your handmade business?

I previously had a jewelry line called Brassafrass where I made necklaces out of brass stampings. I sold them in my (now closed) vintage clothing store to make some dough while we were scraping by. Eventually I found that boring. When my store closed I took a silver-smithing class and before I lost my new skills I invested in a load of tools and supplies and started creating on my own. I was really fortunate to have a patient instructor who allowed me to work ahead of the class.

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?

Ever since I was a kid I have been making things. My mom was my Girl Scout leader and a seamstress so naturally we always had tons of overflowing craft bins and fabric. My grandma taught me to sew when I was 12 and I made clothes for my Barbie dolls. That was the same year my mom bought me a beading kit for Christmas. I guess she figured I would stay out of trouble if I had a creative outlet. BOY WAS SHE WRONG!


Apart fom crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time…what’s that again? In my spare time I stare at my computer screen checking up on my shop. Otherwise I’m in my studio or working my regular 40 hour day job…in retail…*shudder*. (Actually, I like my job.)

How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?

I’ve been creating things since I was little starting probably in Girl Scouts. I was never a stellar student, but I was a sponge when it came to doing arts and crafts. I finally started selling online just last January after building up a tiny inventory of handmade sterling and copper jewlery.

How many different places do you sell from?

Just one right now, but I have an Artfire shop in the works.
www.etsy.com/shop/MissNovemberStudio

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

I would have to say my bedframe. My husband and I have been together since we were 16 and he made our bed in high school wood shop. We waited 8 years to finally sleep in it on our wedding day!


Do you collect anything?

I collect mid-century furniture and art, vintage hats and I have a fun mini succulent garden planted in various vintage pots I’ve thrifted. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a hoarder…

What is your favorite part of your handmade business?

I love that I’m actually making something people respond to. The most difficult thing is staying ahead of the curve, especially on Etsy where there seems to be a LOT of the same in the sterling silver category. I have to find a way to make my stuff stand out from the crowd.

What would your dream job be?

I would love to live on a ranch with llamas and my long haired babies running around me while I garden. Obviously I would be making fabulous jewelry in my home studio. My husband would drive us around the country in our ’54 Chevy truck towing a little airstream teardrop trailer snatching up antiques to sell online using the wifi at Starbucks. My dream job is very specific.

Any other handmade shops you’d like to recommend?

I love:
www.etsy.com/shop/MonkeysAlwaysLook
www.etsy.com/shop/psychoticreaction
www.etsy.com/shop/Leatherwerks
www.etsy.com/shop/contrivedtocharm
www.etsy.com/shop/lynnsrags

I hope you enjoyed the feature this week!