This week I have the pleasure of interviewing Amy of Avlors Imprints. You may remember that just last week she posted an interview of me on her blog! I've also had the pleasure of getting to know her a bit more through Twitter. Here's a little background so YOU get to know her a bit better. Her favorite color is orange because it is vibrant, warm and reminds her of fall, her favorite season. Her favorite weekend would start out with sourdough pancakes that her husband makes (He's the pancake and cookie master in their house). After such a wonderful breakfast she would hangout with family and friends. Her weeks are fast-paced, so the weekends are when she gets to slow down. And this is what Amy's dream vacation would be: "A walking tour in Japan from Kyoto to Tokyo, then to spend time in the north on Hokkaido. Hubby and I plan to go to Japan after we pay off our house. Hoping for about 6-8 years. Sounds like a long time - but we started planning last year and poof there's a year gone already!"
Now to the "serious" stuff.
What started you in your art/craft?
Doodling and drawing are things I've always loved to do. So relaxing! Even in college as a math major - I took all the art courses I could for the blessed winding down time. Later I learned on my own (practicing every tutorial I could find on the internet) how to digitize my work and to convert it to line and vector drawings.
I also love to peruse a through office supplies and stationery. (This must come from my mom - because we both get a little giddy about them.)
What are your favorite materials/tools?
Quality paper, a sharp X-acto knife, and my computer! Lately I've been having a blast learning to work with upcycled materials.
Who's your biggest inspiration?
Georgia O'Keefe and my mother-in-law, Shirley, are my two biggest inspirations. Both were warm, loving, strong, brave women doing what they loved and not afraid of what others thought of them.
Shirley loved art and you can see it in every piece she made - from chalk drawings to quilts. She taught me about the value of a lovingly made work and how to honor those who made the work.
Georgia O'Keefe did her work boldly, didn't let anything stand in her way, and adapted to where she was.
How long have you been creating and selling it on Etsy?
Avlor's Imprints has been open since December 2008. I started with PDF embroidery patterns, graphics, otedama sets (Japanese juggling sets, that I now sell in my other store), and art photographic prints of orchids.
After trying my hand at my own stationery - it quickly became one of my favorite items to create. I've been working on narrowing what I have for sale and am finding that my stationery, customized upcycled sew-in labels and customized promotional cards are the best sellers. Custom and business orders are just as fun as designs I do on my own. I love helping another business shine!
Where do you hope your art will take you in the next year?
Go ahead and laugh - but right where I'm at! I would love to continue to stay at home even when both of my kids are in school. I love having my two shops and the mental stimulation and interactions they bring. I'm looking at needing to go back to work in about a year so we can catch up on the things we need to do around the house, put more into retirement savings, etc. I started this just for fun. But I really truly just want to continue be a stay at home business lady!
Is there anything you want people to get/take away from your work?
My hope is that people will feel the enjoyment in using my products that I had making them. Quite a bit of time and love is put into each set. If people love the products, I know I did well. ;)
What advice would you give to new Etsy artist just starting out?
Do what you love and know your customer! You'll hear know your customer over and again - but it's vital!
Be helpful and don't just focus on yourself when looking at places to promote. If you ask for an interview - be ready to post one on your site in return. Give more than you get. Get involved in Etsy teams. Don't just join, but do something to help out!
Limit what you try to do in a week - you'll accomplish more in the long run. Pick just a few things to do each day, so you don't burn out.
Make sure to check out her other shop, Ojami and find her on facebook!