1. How did you decide to focus on making and selling button frames in your Etsy shop?
I saw a button frame in an antique shop and I thought, "I can do that." I went home and found an old picture frame and started gluing buttons on it. I still have my first "creation," and when I look at it, I realize how far I have come. Once I made enough to give away frames as gifts to friends and family, I decided that I should try selling them. I initially did a few craft shows. Boy, is that hard work! Everyone at the craft events was talking about Etsy. I looked into it and figured I would give it a try! My product seems to find the right customer base on Etsy.
2. What do you especially like about working with buttons--and how do you choose the buttons to work with in your creations?
When I worked as a buyer, I did a lot of design work, and this was a great way to challenge my creative side. One of the things I did as a buyer was buy "Novelty Underwear." All those boxer shorts with hearts on them for Valentines Day? I kind of took that idea and transferred it into button frames. It's fun to think of ideas. Holidays were easy! But then, I thought "Minions." What about "Wine," "Weddings," and "Watermelons"? I love that my customers send me a request for something special, and I'm able to make it happen.
3. In searching for buttons online and offline, how do you distinguish antique buttons from more contemporary ones?
When I started binging on buttons, I bought a lot of buttons on eBay--by the POUND! I got all kinds of old, vintage buttons. Since then, I've gotten very discriminating in only picking buttons that I know will complement what I already have. I've had to add new, current buttons into my assortment. It's tough to find nice, vintage rhinestone buttons or vintage button in bright, vibrant colors.
4. You have some great reviews on Etsy! What has been your experience in selling on the Etsy platform?
I've always said that Etsy is really a fabulous community. I find almost everyone I've dealt with has been a pleasure. I use my many years in retail to set my standards for my shop. "The customer is always right," and I want to make sure its a pleasant experience. I know I love it when I get a package from Etsy and its nicely wrapped and presented. I've had a lot of the sellers I buy from become regular customers. It's a nice world.
5. What is your advice to others who want to start selling arts and crafts projects online?
I think if you want to start selling online, you need to do your research. What is out there? What is the pricing? Does it compare with what you do? I know my first frames were not as nice as they are now. I did not start selling on Etsy until I had it perfected. So, make sure you are putting your best foot forward. You won't get repeat customers if things are not well put together and presented nicely. Think about how you like to receive things. Be patient. It took me awhile to sell my first frame, but now my sales are pretty steady: steady enough for me to say I am an "artist," even if the medium is glue and buttons!