I have been lucky enough to meet many wonderful artists while selling on Etsy, but one person who I instantly connected with is Grace Wieber. Her personality is infectious, her humor is adorable and above all, her willingness to support and promote other artists’ work on Twitter and her blog is truly inspiring. Grace and her husband Will, the duo behind WieberArt, answered some questions for the continuing swoon-worthy series, Etsy Love Stories.
Tell us about yourselves!
Will is a generous, patient man and in my honest opinion, an inspiring artist. I believe our sons, Gregory and Vincent, attest to this fact. They too have pursued careers in the arts. Will studied painting at the School of Visual Arts, and I taught Italian for five years while dancing with Andre Evglesky Ballet. Unfortunately, I had a terrible ski accident (a no-no for a dancer) and left teaching to regroup and raise our family. I continued to choreograph instead of perform and it was during this time that I decided to study fashion design. In the 1930s and 40s, my father and his brother owned Bellanca Embroidery, where they made embellished evening gowns and handbags for the high-end fashion houses and department stores. These influences weighed heavily upon me. We moved to the West Village in the 1980s, and I took the plunge, designing men’s parachute nylon-ripstop jumpsuits and pants for boutiques on Fire Island. Will has exhibited at the Annual Art Festivals at the Pines, Huntington, Montauk and in showrooms and galleries from Chelsea to Soho.
How did you hear about Etsy?
Our son Gregory knew about Etsy; several of his girlfriends were participating. He had told me a few years ago to join but our heads were not in the right place. We were still raising our children and getting them through college and out the door.
How long have you been in business as a team?
It was a dream of mine from the very beginning of our relationship to be in business together. It took maturing on both of our parts to finally realize this vision. In 1996 while still living in New York we decided to open a decorative finish business. When our familial obligations were winding down, Billy took me to Florida where we continued the business and on April 19, 2009 we went live on Etsy.
What’s the best part about working together?
Work is play and play is work. We’re still like kids, we just like being together. Even if we are separated by a studio wall, it’s just great. I have also opened a shop called CrazieGracie. It’s a form of therapy for me until I dig deep again for those new ideas.
Anything difficult about working as a team?
Difficulties have been ironed out over our 30-year relationship. As it is for most people, everyone wants to be the boss. Well, we all know that to work as a team, there can only be one captain. Sometimes, I get to be the leader. Most times, I am fine with him heading up the team. I have his respect. He knows that he can trust my instincts and when I get out there, I let him reel me in.
How do you keep your business and personal life separate?
When you are self-employed, it all runs together. We try to be flexible and structure time for our personal
lives. We make sure to get out and take walks, play tennis, and stay fit and healthy. It’s during these outings that we reminisce, vent and revitalize.
What are your Valentine’s Day plans?
This may sound cliché, however, every day is Valentine’s Day around here.
What are your future Etsy goals?
We are enjoying our experience with Etsy and look forward to building relationships and having continued success. We wish we had heeded our boys’ advice to get online sooner. Leaping from the stone age into the cyber age, Etsy has proven to be a viable avenue for all sorts of opportunities.
Thanks to Will and Gracie for sharing their story.
You can see some of their creations below.