It's time for our next EtsyPaper Team featured member post! I am pleased to to feature Amy Vander Vorste of Avlor's Imprints. She is a valued member and also maintains our team Twitter account. Read her feature and visit her shop and blog (links can be found below). Enjoy!
Tell us a little about yourself:
(Waving to everybody) Hi! I'm Amy Vander Vorste and I'm a stay at home mom. My darling hubby and I have 2 wonderful kidlets under the age of 10, a runt fuzzball cat named Tuna and the rollie pollie Hammy the Hamster. Besides playing with paper, I enjoy fiber arts (knitting, spinning, card weaving, naalbinding, etc), learning about Japan, studying the Viking age, and tinkering on the computer. My shops take up most of my "hobby" time (and then some), but I try to do something non shop related every week.
Tell us about your shop:
* When did you open it?
Avlor's Imprints opened December of 2007, after nudging by a couple of my friends. It's been a fun journey so far turning it from just a little hobby to a business.
* What items/type of items do you sell?
At first I was all over the map with the items I put in my shop. But I've focused in on stationery (printed and print-your-own), labels and tags, and promotional items. Designing, adding a touch of whimsy and seeing the finished printed products is always a thrill.
Print-your-own stationery is what I started with because I like the convenience of just printing some when I need it. So my slogan for printable stationery was born - "Save money by having cards and stationery on hand! Save trees by only printing what you need! Include a personal note in your orders for an excellent presentation! Great for promos!"
I don't just print my own designs. Helping other sellers by making promo cards or graphics with their product photos is fun too!
My hubby even designed one of the sets - Spaceman M.E.L. (I keep trying to convince him to do more sets, but he's trying to get back to writing on his book.)
Getting to know you - 5 Questions
1. Is there something that you've never tried with paper that you'd like to try?
Making my own paper. Someday soon I will slate the time to just try it with the kiddos. It sounds wonderfully fun and messy! Experimentation and exploration are incredibly important to being artistic. I like to encourage people to try new things and to not worry about being good at it right away. Try something new when ever you can. I've tried metal smithing, roasting my own coffee, spinning my own yarn, historical re-enactment, learning Japanese, designing my own stationery, photography, and many other things. Some things I am good at, some I'm terrible at (like smithing) - but I love trying them all.
2. What is your first crafting memory?
My grandparents lived with us when I was a kid. My grandmother taught me to crochet ... several times, because I kept forgetting it. But her patient persistence gave me a love of making things and a pride in accomplishments that has stayed with me to this day. She also gave me some of her good old German tenacity in the process. I hope to pass these on to my own children too. My son is asking to learn to crochet so he can make a stuffed tiger. I'm slowly teaching him, and it's cool to see the other side of learning the first craft I learned.
3. When did you join the EtsyPaper Team and what are your favorite things about being a team member?
This last spring is when I joined the team. It's the first team I applied to join and I chose it because there's a good community here. People here are very friendly and make you feel welcome right away. If you need help, advice or encouragement - you can count on the EtsyPaper team. I also like how we're professional but laid back at the same time. We promote each other - like we do with the business card exchange. I feel its important to be active and of help in any group we join. This limits the number of teams we can join, but it's more rewarding. I've joined only one other team (EtsyTwitter) and that's enough for me.
4. How has being part of the Etsy community changed your craft?
Being in the Etsy community has challenged me to:
* be more professional -> I "brand" now because if Etsy. I'm proud of the products I make and I want people to know it.
* plan ahead and schedule more efficiently -> So I can do more. Not everything, just more.
* try new things and ways of doing things -> I've tried several methods of cutting my stationery by hand and I know what works best now.
* add special touches -> Each product has a little something that makes it special. I also enjoy sending my products as a gift to my buyers.
5. Do you have more than one etsy shop?
Yes, I do. This summer I started a second shop because I wanted to narrow the focus of the items I sold in Avlor's Imprints. Having the variety of two shops is great. But two is my limit!
* Name of shop(s) & link:
Ojami - http://ojami.etsy.com/
* Types of items you sell there.
Otedama (Japanese juggling and jacks) game sets and Bento accessories (lunch Bags and Bento lunch box bands).
I started making Otedama sets after making sets for my son's class at Christmas one year. I was hooked on the little game. (True confessions - I'm not coordinated enough to be good at the game. But I keep trying because it's fun!)
Then the Bento related items came from a need in my own family. The school lunches here leave much to be desired. After reading Japanese lunch blogs and forums at justbento.com and lunchinabox.net, I got in gear to make healthy reasonably sized lunches for my kiddos and myself. (I posted about this on my blog, so I won't go into detail here. http://avlorsimprints.blogspot.com/2009/08/back-to-school-packing-healthy-lunches.html) I couldn't locally find resusable lunch bags that would accommodate the Japanese style bento boxes we use or the bands that hold them closed, so I made my own. I hope it will help others wanting to be health and eco conscious.
Find her here:
SHOP: Avlor's Imprints
BLOG: Avlor's Imprints
NING: Amy Vander Vorste