Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Mary Andrews and I live in Richmond, VA. I’m a silly girl and a crafting machine!
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
My first artistic memories stem from sitting at my grandmother’s dining room table and drawing with her for hours. I told her at the ripe old age of three years old that I was going to be either an Artist or a Singer! The first thing I remember making were daisy chains and I made them because I thought they made me beautiful and I could also go around saying “look what I made!” Apart from that, I first made anything I could, it was my favorite thing to do and my favorite subject in school…my mother says when I was younger and the teacher would take our class to the library that I would be the only one that would head straight for the “how to” section of books rather than the popular non fiction!
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
I get inspired by everything vintage: concepts, suitcases, clothing, shoes, patterns, photos, buttons and on and on vintage! I’m also inspired by feminine themes, Parisian ideas/visuals, Indie concepts, Persian and Bohemian Style, Retro Style, and Unique people… and we can’t forget music!
What are your favorite materials?
Sewing thread, good paper, vintage: papers, fabrics, metals, jewelry, good/unique yarn, silver plated forks and spoons, brass and copper metals, tulle, vintage buttons!
Any tips for selling handmade stuff?
If you really want to sell, treat crafting and managing your site like a real business. Dedicate as much time as you can to your shop and your crafts. I’m always searching for new materials and ideas, and I’m always making something new! Try to post new items in your shop regularly, every couple weeks. Believe in yourself and what you make. Make business cards. Get your friends and family involved. Promote yourself relentlessly!! Comment regularly in the forums and read the blog…stay in tune with what tools Etsy is providing and how to use them to your selling advantage! I personally take great care in packaging items in a unique way, offer free shipping, and sending emails to my customers to thank them for helping to supporting Contrary and for how much I appreciate the sale! I think all of these things help to gain repeat customers which is the ultimate goal!
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I’m a fifth year senior (full time student) at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts and will graduate with a degree in Crafts this coming May. I also work 5 days a week as the Maitre’D at Can Can Brasserie, a local French Brasserie in Richmond. I play guitar and write songs. Oh…and spending hours on ETSY!!! I’m a busy girl and crafting is a major outlet!
How can Etsy be improved? Any feature requests?
I love being a part of Etsy and everything it has to offer! The feature request I would make would be to allow sellers the ability to place their items into different categories within their own shops. Other than that…I am amazed and thoroughly satisfied with this site!
What is your favorite color?
I have a personal weakness for darker muted shades of olive green, muted whites, and vintage/tea stain yellow colors. I am drawn to rich earthy tones like greens, oranges, and deep reds.