Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
My name is Michelle and I’m the creator/designer/head-honcho of Eggman Studios. I’ve been sculpting with polymer clay for well over 10 years now and started selling my beads and jewelry online 4 years ago. The challenge of replicating something that’s life-sized in miniature form as a focal bead or pendant drives me to perfect my techniques and ideas. I discovered Etsy late last year and opened my shop in late January, 2006. The rest, they say, is history.
I live in a small town across the water from Seattle and also work as an Art Instructor and Art Director for a ceramic studio. My education is in the Fine Arts and I have my BFA in graphic design. Still hunting for that ever-elusive full-time design gig however…
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
I was always a very creative child, but I remember quite vividly entering every coloring contest I could get my hands on. I won nearly every one and to this day, my mom still has a couple of the drawings, as hideous as they may be.
Sports and outdoor activities have never been my thing, however I’ve always been competitive as hell in the arts (not necessarily with other artists but with myself).
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
Hmmm… I guess the question should be, what doesn’t inspire me? I get my kicks from fabric (though I can’t sew), color, patterns, pop culture, the 50s and 60s, mail art, food… My busy mind never sleeps.
What are your favorite materials?
Clay, obviously, but also paper, photographs, found objects, ribbon, canvas, and paint.
What is your favorite color?
Orange–I love orange. I wish I could marry it.
Any tips on selling handmade stuff?
Branding is so important. I work hard not only on my sculptural creations but also the image that goes with them. My logo, packaging, photography–they all play a crucial roll for my business, so I’ve put a ton of work and energy into them as well. I also believe it’s extremely important to go the extra mile with your customers. Send them a little handwritten note or small token with their purchase and I promise you’ll bring a smile to their face.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
You mean, there’s actually stuff to do besides creating things? Huh. I guess you learn something new every day.
How can Etsy be improved? Any feature requests?
I love Etsy. I can’t imagine life without it. And actually, everything I would have suggested as an improvement is being implemented in Version 2. Oh man, I can’t wait!