Did you ever meet someone from the online art world who you just instantly felt to be a kindred spirit with? Someone you have an instant freindship with? Someone you feel as comfortable talking to, as if you had known each other for years? That is how I feel about my online art friend Pat, aka Whyte on Etsy. Her shop is filled with scrapbooking and journaling embellishments, vintage themed collage, altered art and mixed media treasures. I especially love her pieces made with a vintage feel, time worn and "comfortable". Pat loves animals, as I do, anything vintage, as I do, she is an eternal optimist, as I am, and she always has a good word for everyone, rarely judging, always finding the good in everything she sees. Please take a few moments to read about her, and then afterwards visit her amazing Etsy shop. You will not be sorry, and you may just find a kindred spirit as I have!
Hi Pat, Thanks for letting us all get to know you a little bit more, and especially for sharing some of my favorite things in your shop! When did you first decide to give selling at Etsy a try, and what were your biggest lessons learned/hurdles faced?
Thanks, Carol, an interview by a spectacular friend and artisan, what a pleasure and opportunity!
I actually learned about etsy on ebay. After success selling overflow items in my home and running into others’ artwork on there, I added some things I created for Christmas 2007 and waited for the $$ to start flowing in. Ha! I was giving my creations away in auctions, so went to the forums and learned ebay was not the best place to make a profit on artwork, but sellers were buzzing about etsy. I registered on etsy, but didn’t set up shop right away; it was almost 6 months before I listed my first treasure. The biggest hurdle for me is time because I work 2 part-time jobs. The biggest lesson learned is etsy is a “biggest” handmade site out there, so there is no just opening shop and waiting for the money to roll in. There is a lot more marketing, a.k.a time, involved than I imagined….but have to say, it’s a blast for me. That cliché “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is how I feel about my art passion and my etsy shop. There are frustrating days, for sure, but in general I’ve never had so much fun trying to make a profit.
What has been your most popular selling item you keep on hand, and what is your favorite item to create for your shop?
My most popular items are handmade supplies that I believe I’m selling to other etsians, not exactly the direction I was planning to take my shop, but working. My favorite item to create for my shop? Believe it or not, I don’t think I’ve discovered that yet because it will be a combination of something I love to make that sells very well. That hasn’t happened yet. Either I love to create it and the right buyer hasn’t found it yet. Or what sells quickly does not particularly satisfy my muse.
What has proven to be the biggest surprise for you since opening your shop?
That is easy to answer because it truly has been a most wonderful, pleasant surprise. The people I’ve met in the forums on etsy have not only become great cyber friends, but have tempted and encouraged me to try new directions in my artwork and crafts. The source of information available through the artisans on etsy is overwhelming. One can read first hand reviews of art products, share different techniques and skills, and there are almost an infinite supply of doors leading to new experiences and worlds. And I was just looking to sell some of my treasures for ego and profit. That’s truly become secondary now. I had no idea.
What do you use as inspiration when you feel a creative slump coming on?
Difficult area for me because I’m always looking for something unique and different from what everyone else is doing. And that is my Achilles heel. It’s really not the production that keeps me from filling my shop, it’s the idea, the thought, the process. I love looking at others’ art for inspiration, but find it a fine line between inspiration and merely reproducing an idea with my own technique. The thrill for me is the lightbulb idea. But I also fall harder when I put that lightbulb idea in my shop and no one else is “lit up”! LOL! It’d be much easier if I just followed the successful paths of others.
What are your favorite pasttimes when not creating/listing/promoting your shop?
I have so little free time right now, I’m out of balance and owe more time to the other people in my life who are important to me; my significant other, adult children and friends have been very tolerant, but I’m pushing limits. Reading, I love propagating new plants from cuttings, and piddling in the yard. Because of the recession and trying not to spend tight money right now, I’m becoming obsessed with repurposing and upcycling so I’m researching ways other people do the same.
Pat, thank you for giving us some insight into your art world, and your personal life as well. It is already a pleasure to know you, and finding out this much more has been insightful and fun!