The Etsy Blog

Featured Seller: YourSecretAdmiral handmade and vintage goods


Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).

My real name is Julie S. Schneider. But, if you’ve gotten an anonymous love letter/order from me it may have been signed “Your Secret Admiral.” (Now the secret is out!) I earned my BFA in Crafts/Material Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University in fair Richmond, VA. I currently reside in Brooklyn, NY, which I am still discovering and love dearly.

I will be teaching bookmaking, feltmaking, and knitting workshops at the Etsy Labs in Brooklyn beginning in March. Be sure to check those out here:


What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?

Before I could write, but after I could talk and wield a crayon, I would make up stories and dictate them to my dad. He would write down all the right words on all the right pages and I would illustrate them in that peculiar style that three-year-olds have, with limbs sprouting from craniums. The first of these was a book entitled Fat Men Come to Eaglebrook, which was about aliens coming to town and eating everyone’s the food. Oh no! This is my favorite sentence from the book: “And Julie said, ‘You’re not supposed to eat that; it’s a window. But he did anyways.’ ”


What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?

Walking, writing, learning new facts, learning and teaching new skills, trips to museums and libraries, trips around the block and around the world, people-watching, eavesdropping, forgotten/irrelevant histories, tall tales, language, punctuation, mammals, monotremes, the banal, the bizarre.


What are your favorite materials?

Paper of any kind, discarded library books, notes and grocery lists I find on the sidewalk, thread, recycled fabric, children’s books from 1940-1970 (especially illustrated dictionaries, encyclopedias, and science books), paper cutters, scissors, board shears… And, I rarely leave home without a glue stick, fountain pen, and my bone folder. (It’s true.)


What is your favorite cephalopod?

Giant squid. Duh.


What are your most and least two favorite films?

Well, the two movies I actually own are Harold and Maude and Wayne’s World, so those must be my favorites.


What are you reading right now?

As usual, my room is a sea of books. My current reading list includes: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Hatch Show Print: A History of a Great American Poster Shop, The Brooklyn Follies, The Crying of Lot 49, and George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends.


Any tips on selling handmade stuff?

Make quality work you truly care about and believe in. I think it shines through in the final product. Try to make things every day, even if you’re hung-over or stuck. Just keep going, creating, thinking of ideas. Update your Etsy shop consistently. And, if you are a maker of handmade items and you don’t have an Etsy shop, then sign up!


Apart from creating things, what do you do?

I like to write letters, receive letters, ride my bike, go for long wandering walks, explore New York, haunt the local libraries, listen to NPR, scheme, scavenge, travel, plan adventures around the globe I can’t afford, read books, play word games, think of puns and anagrams, look at art, go on picnics, ride trains, concoct delicious feasts, have impromptu dance parties, stare into space, and make messes.


How can Etsy be improved? Any feature requests?

Hmm. I’m drawing a blank. What about Etsy gift certificates?

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