~ JULY 2008 Brat Feature ~
We are proud to Feature: GoodScents and SilverTreeJewelry
Every few weeks we feature one of our members. She is one of the many Etsy Artist that can support and fill two shops with the things she creates… so both are promoted here.
http://goodscents.etsy.com/ SKIN CARE, HOME FRAGRANCE
1-Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, and personal stuff).
My name is Cari and I'm a single parent of two teenagers (yes, I'm actually still sane). I live in the Fort Worth, TX area.
2-What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
You're gonna laugh. I was about 5 and I took some notebook paper and stapled them together into some hats. They really only 'fit' my tiny head. But I was convinced that they were wonderful (light blue lines and all) and I went down the street, house to house, trying to sell them for a nickel. I think I sold 3 of them. Money was tight at our house, and I remember thinking that I could make enough money to pay for some groceries! Obviously, I didn't.
3-What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
I am a shopper. But I'm not much of a buyer. The reason is that I don't see things that really make me happy. I'm not into spending simply to do so. I want to enjoy what I buy. I owned a retail gift store for more than 5 years. When I'd go to market to find things for the store, I'd have an idea what I wanted to buy. And rarely could I find it. If I did, the price was outrageous (in my opinion). Bath & Body (along with candles and other home fragrance) was a particular problem for me. I couldn't find a line that was well made, with a wide variety of scents, at a reasonable price point and not overdone (or selling out to the mass merchants in town). So, in true entrepreneurial fashion, I did it for myself. I created candles first, then bottled my oils, and then branched into the soap, lotion, lip balm, etc. I now make more than 500 products and new products are always in the works. My cold process soaps (Artisan Soap) should debut in Fall 2008. My products are crafted from top quality ingredients. They have glorious fragrance. And they are reasonably priced.4-What are your favorite materials?
Quality oils (such as coconut, shea, sweet almond, castor etc--no animal oils used in my products), fabulous fragrance (I buy from almost 9 different suppliers, currently, to get the wide range of scents to offer.
5-What have been the most valuable lessons learned from other artists on Etsy?
To be patient. And I will admit that patience is not my best attribute. I know how good my products are and I want people to try them. I have to tell myself 'all in good time'. I know that many sellers have been at Etsy much longer than I have, but I also know my products, quality ingredients and attention to detail cannot be topped. I soon hope to convince more to make my shop their favorite place for pampering or cleansing products.
6-Why should people buy handmade?
Large companies are shareholder owned, by and large. Those corporate entities have a promise to keep to their investors. And that promise is profits. To get 'there', they will cut whatever corners they can, sometimes to the point of substituting (in my opinion) inferior ingredients. Of course, they also can enjoy economies of purchase that small companies, like mine, can't match. But we aren't paying multi millions for corporate executive payroll, either. One of my larger, and very well known, competitors uses ingredients that I would never consider: synthetic vitamin E, sunflower oil (which goes rancid fast), etc. Not that these are horrible, absolutely not, but I put higher grade and quality ingredients into every product. I don't substitute cheap oil for a more expensive. I make the best product that I can.7-What features/services would you most like to see on Etsy?
I'd like a more discriminatory search function, to fine tune a search. Say you wanted soap. Ok, then you wanted glycerin soap that is blue. You can't do that right now. It would be cool to have that ability.
8-Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I write novels for fun. One's ready for the publisher. Anyone know a good agent? I also make stained glass and jewelry. My jewelry is sold here at Etsy under the shop name http://www.silvertree.etsy.com/ . I will admit that most of my jewelry is sold off Etsy, which is why my shop is a bit bare right now. I also do custom orders.
9-Read any good books lately?
I'm a science fiction/traditional fiction type of person. I know, that is a dichotomy, but that is who I am. I just re-read Pride and Prejudice for the upmteenth time. I love that book.
10-In ten years I'd like to be…
Living in my cute bungalow house (as off grid as I can manage it...) with huge shade trees and on a large lot, Where I can have a vegetable garden and a flower garden. Where the neighbor and I cannot shake hands and still remain WITHIN our houses. I want to be able to bike to the grocery store, church and post office. And go daily to my little soap store on the main square. I guess I want to live in Mayberry! There I want to sell my products not only to locals but to a wider audience on Etsy. And live entirely off the ability of my mind and my hands.
11-How did you pick your business name and your etsy avatar?
That is my business name and has been for more than 8 years. Back before I named the biz, I would bring out a new product and one of my store customers would go ‘wow that is a good scent!' Uh huh....and so we go... I designed my banner and Etsy avatar myself. I also do all of the design work on my labels.12-What is a Brat and how does that help you craft?
My dad was in the Air Force and we moved around a lot. I don't think I'd be as creative if I hadn't grown up in that time and in that way. This was before more than 4 channels on the TV and nothing computerized. We made our own fun. And, as we were never rolling in money, we did it with an eye to frugality. I taught myself the joy of being creative. And it all comes from living in 8 different places before I turned 12...