Our newest interviewee is the talented Kira Nichols, who goes by the name of noooitaremybirthday here on Craftster. She is a Tutorial Contributor for Craftster and she was also a Master Craftster for our Elmer's campaign. At this time, she's had almost 2000 sales in her etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/kiranichols and designs a line of stamps for Stampotique http://www.stampotique.com/stamp/kira-nichols.html
Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm 27 year-old Seattle native who now lives in Alabama with my husband of 7 years. We love animals and have 4 budgies, 1 sun conure, an old dog named Tink, and 19 friendly chickens.
What is your favorite craft to do?
Each craft is fun in its own way, and I love them all (mostly!), but my favorite standby that I always come back to is papercrafting in all its various forms. Paper, paints, glue, embellishments... Drooling, excuse me.
Oodles of Colorful Inchies & Rinchies
Do you have any formal arts training?
Not really! The last art class I took was in the 8th grade. When I want to learn a new skill or sharpen an old one, I just rely on books, YouTube, and practice.
Where does your crafty inspiration come from?
I've thought about this one a lot, because my husband is always asking how I come up with stuff. I've come to this conclusion; My parents let me watch a lot of Animal Planet and Ren & Stimpy as a kid. Having all the diversity of the animal kingdom ingrained in my noggin probably had a lot to do with how I think now. I'm still totally fascinated by animation. I probably watch way too many cartoons for my age. I think it's the shapes and colors and different styles that keep me into it.
Needle Felted Sun Conure
I know you're on the Alpha Stamps design team, any others?
Just working with Alpha Stamps right now, and it's a blast. Great group of ladies! I'm happy to be a part of the DT. It keeps me busy enough!
How does one get on a design team? Is it something you try out for?
Usually, companies with design teams hold open calls every 1-2 years. To apply, you answer a questionnaire and submit photos of sample artwork. You send them examples of what you can do, then you cross your fingers and hope they like what they see!
Has any of your work been featured in a magazine or publication?
My witch bookmarks were featured in People Magazine last Christmas, which was crazy and so fun.
Ruby Slippers/Wicked Witch Bookmark
How did you get involved in designing stamps for Stampotique?
A sweet fan of Stampotique who also happened to be one of my blog readers sent me a random e-mail one day. She had seen my illustrations and made the mental connection for me, telling me how cool it would be to have my drawings as rubber stamps for Stampotique. I though, wow, that WOULD be pretty cool. So I e-mailed the owner, Carol, sent her some sample artwork and boom. The rest is history.
Colorful Greeting Cards
When did you open your etsy shop?
I opened it at the very beginning of 2010.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about opening an etsy shop?
Know what you are going to sell, and have some quality stock for your shop before you start spreading the word. If you're sending folks to your shop, and there's nothing to see or buy, they may not come back. Also, don't be discouraged if you don't make a lot of sales right away. It took me a couple of years before I actually started making money and a big stroke of luck finding out what people want to buy. Keep experimenting. Oh, and it also helps if you blog regularly or have an active Facebook Fanpage the more people who see your work, the more potential customers you'll have.
How often do you blog? How has it helped your business?
I currently try to blog at least a couple times per month. I actually started my blog well before I opened up a shop. At the beginning, I was blogging a different project almost every single day, so that really helped to build my readership. Once I opened my shop, I already had a good number of people paying attention to my crafting, so I'm sure it helped with sales.
Can you offer any advice on pricing?
This depends on why you're doing what you're doing. If you want to make some profit, the formula I try to stick with for most items is cost of materials, plus at least $10/hr for labor time. That can make things seem expensive, but you've gotta value your time properly. Folks are paying for heart and soul, not robots and machines.
What business advice should every Craftster know?
Keep it fun! Crafting is first and foremost something that brings us happiness and (hopefully) relaxation. I was initially really (REALLY) hesitant to start an Etsy shop, because I was afraid that my love of making stuff would become a chore, and crafting would be ruined forever. That didn't happen, because I just won't let it come to that! Just remember that your crafty business is what you make it. It's yours, and you can change it however you like: Dial back, ramp it up, add some sequins or pinecones, whatever. You're in control.
Finally, what would you like stamped on your tombstone?
That's a really tough question. So many thoughts. Probably, a good one would be: "We didn't know what to do with all the junk this woman left behind, but she was alright."