Sunday, August 14, 2011

Creative Zone

This month our featured member is Mary with CreativeZone...

Tell us a little about yourself 
I’m married to a fabulous husband who tolerates my paper hoarding (as long as it doesn’t get in his way) and I live in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  I’m self-employed as a graphic designer and I work full-time from home, which works out perfectly because when my day job is slow it allows me the time to be crafty.

I also teach paper crafts at my local scrapbooking store. I started on their design team and that progressed into teaching at the store. I’ve been teaching for about 4 years now and I really love it, it has really opened up things for me creatively.  My latest classes have mostly involved Copic Markers and the Silhouette Die-cutting Machine, but in the past I’ve taught rubber-stamping, scrapbooking and cardmaking.

When did you open your shop on Etsy?
Technically, I opened the shop back in November 2007 but then as a newbie I got discouraged due to lack of sales etc. and life got really busy so I went M.I.A. from Etsy. I’ve been back with a vengeance now since early spring.

Tell us about your shop: 
I sell cards, scrapbooking mini-albums and notebooks/journals (which are my latest obsession).

Name top (3-5) items (for crafting purposes) that you cannot live without
1.    ATG Tape Gun – because once the paper is stuck – it’s STUCK for good.
2.    ScorePal – I’m pretty obsessive about this one because I’m a stickler for perfect scores and straight-lines
3.    Tonic Guillotine paper cutter – perfect straight cuts every time.  I have both the 12-   inch and the smaller 8-inch version. 

What is it about paper that draws you to create with it?

For me, it’s the possibilities. You can transform that 1 single piece of paper into a multitude of beautiful things.  THEN, afterwards, it can be recycled and reborn again and again.  

Are you a clean or messy crafter?
I’m an incredibly messy crafter – the more space I have the more mess I make and the more I’ll spread out. I never start off planning on making a mess but somehow “this” gets pulled out and then I want to try “that” out and then I think what about “the other one” - the next thing you know it looks like a paper bomb went off!  I try to clean up at the end of every project to make way for the next idea AND to keep my hubby from complaining.  (In my next house, I hope to have a door to my studio).

What was your biggest mistake you made when starting out on Etsy? How did you fix it?

When I first started selling on Etsy, I made a sale the first week and I was totally pumped and excited. Then everything stopped, and I got incredibly discouraged and I just let everything expire. I thought long and hard about the whole experience and then I realized why I was successful that very first week - I sold because my listing was near the top.  It’s like that saying about a tree falling in the forest, if no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? The key to Etsy is to create a quality product that is unique, to promote on Etsy and off of Etsy, get involved with teams to stay motivated, list daily to be seen. At least then, you have a fighting chance because people will know your shop exists.

What is your favorite item to make, the one that makes you smile just thinking about working on it?
My favorite things to create by far are custom scrapbook mini albums. You get handed a bunch of photos, you have a theme and then you just go to it. 

I especially love it when the client just says “do what YOU want”. To give the books that personal touch, I always incorporate blank pullouts and flaps so that the client or recipient can journal their thoughts and feelings in afterwards about the photo. Here is an example of a custom book I made for in honour of a little boy’s first birthday: 

We know that Mary would love some comments. Check out Mary's Creativezone shop, too! If you are looking for other Etsy Paper Team members, all you have to do is go to Etsy and type in the key words Etsy Paper, or Etsy Paper Team.
You can find Mary at: