I have been trying to get more clues into what gives artists inspiration. What inspires you and what would make you open an Etsy shop? There are so many people that want to open a shop. They are creating along and someone says you should sell that! So I asked Leslie of StymiepieStudios a few questions a week or two ago. Here are her answers:
I find inspiration for my art in a random conversation, my mood. a song lyric, my childhood, my hopes and dreams. It can be something as simple as a color that gets my mind going toward a design..and then , somehow , what I see in my mind appears on the paper.
I started on Etsy without knowing I had opened a shop! LOL! My niece knew that I wanted to sell my handpainted kids items on my own for a long time. I was working in a retail store and constantly being told “You should have your own store”.But I was overwhelmed by the unexpected death of my husband and both of my sons leaving for college and it was all I could manage to go to work every day, and run my mural business, painting on nights and weekends. So she opened a shop for me with a few items and then “gave ” it to me as a surprise(.It’s so ironic now..back then, I could barely use the computer..now I live on it, running my businesses…).Then we worked on it together for days. which became Stymiepie Studios..and when I had my first sale..that was it..it was all I wanted to do. That was in 2009, and I opened my second shop, Rock and Roll Hart in 2011, to do the art I had been carrying around in my head and heart all of my life. I had met many of the musical artists that I caricature and it was fun to do my version of the people that I knew back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a 60’s hippie just starting out.
I think the most important advice to someone starting out would be love what you do, cause you’ll work harder at this than any other job you’ve ever had. I work 7 days a week, and rarely take a sick day (my boss is a slave driver!) ..because I’m the one that commits to the customer, and it’s my work and reputation on the line. If I promise to get something done, it’s up to me to do it. I left my 9 to 5 in 2010 and make a full time living from my two shops.I value each customer..many come back over and over and I’m proud of that.
I sell on Artfire and to many online and brick and mortar shops. It’s exciting to see my work all over the country and it helps to have income from different sources. Right now, one of the people that found me here on Etsy, is helping me develop a greeting card line and T shirt line of my Rock and Roll Hart art, that we will be selling nationally..that might not have happened so easily, had i not been on Etsy.
I don’t do craft shows anymore..I don’t have the time. I used to love them, but as my business has grown, the Holidays are my busiest time and I spend most days painting to fill orders. Craft shows are a great way to expand your customer base and get the word out about your product to people that might not see you online. Consignment isn’t a good fit for me as my items are usually personalized and most consigment shops want items to sell at time of purchase.
These past 4 years have been extraordinary, filled with validation of my work and opportunities that I never imagined. Some of the best parts are the friendships and support I have found on Etsy, through the talented artisans I have met..an incredible group of people that aren’t afraid to risk taking a chance to create every day and make a living at it.
When you stop by Leslie’s shop or any of her links please say that you found them at Chocolatedogstudio! I trying to have an artist feature every Friday in an effort to give back to the artist community that has helped me so much.