Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, my name is Geraldine Handa. I’m a mom and have been married to my loving husband for 15 years. I work a part time job. I was born in the Philippines and came here to the United States twenty years ago on a petition by my Mom and Dad. I am now a US citizen, and am living in San Clemente, CA with my husband, two children, and two pet parakeets. I work on my Etsy projects during my lunch hour and at night when my kids are asleep. This is the one of the ways I can relax and provide myself with good stress relief!
During my days off, when my kids are at school, I can work at home on customer orders and check my Etsy shop. All my items are hand made by me from my own designs. I have copyrights on all my patterns.
On the weekends, my husband, kids, and myself, like to stay home and relax from the previous week. Sometimes our weekends are taken up by Cub Scout outings, or Indian Princess father and daughter outings. We enjoy also watching movies and visit the two Grandmas as often as possible. I learned to play the piano when I was a girl in the Philippines and like to play when I get a chance to relax.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
When I’m at home I keep myself busy with cleaning, gardening, or going to the store. One of my hobbies is photography. We purchased some studio lights and created a photography studio in our living room. I always photograph my new creations and post them to my Etsy shop.
What first made you want to become an artist?
Well, I have never been an artist, but I have always been a creative person. When I was in the third grade, I lived with my sister. When she went to college, she hired a nanny, who taught me how to crochet. When I got married, I made all the wedding favors for the reception guests. Later on I learned how to knit in a class taken at my local yarn shop. From that point on, I learned a lot of ideas and techniques to create my many designs. A couple of years ago, I came across Etsy. After a couple of months, I opened my own shop and tried to sell my apple jacket design. I was surprised at the response! Eventually I created my most successful design, the Monster Shark Cozy for water bottles and Monster Shark Sleeve for coffee cups.
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
Every morning before I’m ready to go to work (regular work) I turn on my computer and check my email and see if I have incoming orders. I work from my regular job from 7:00 till 2:30 and pick up my kids from school. After homework and dinner, I begin working on my orders and begin experimenting with new designs. I have a lot of ideas in my mind and make many prototypes. Some I sell on Etsy, others I give away as gifts! I spend a lot of time at the local yarn shops and Michaels, looking for the right yarn to make my projects.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My most cherished project is my Monster Shark. A couple of years ago, my husband and I had to make a large paper-mâché shark head for the Cub Scouts. It was about 45” tall with just the head. We painted it blue and it turned out great! After a couple of days later, I was taking pictures of the shark and my daughter wanted to get a picture of herself in the shark’s head. It was big enough to go over my daughter, and her face was right in the shark’s mouth. I looked at the picture and was thinking, “The monster shark is eating my daughter!” That’s when the idea to make the Monster Shark Sleeves first popped into my head. Now I have the Monster Shark water bottle holder and Monster Shark baby bottle holder.
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
My favorite TV shows are The Office, Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, and Bizarre Foods. Some of my favorite musical groups are Journey, The Eagles, Sara Evans (going to her concert in December!) and the Bangles. Other than Etsy, the other websites I visit are Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Be nice to your customers. Make sure you respond to their question as soon as possible and always email them your confirmation when their order has been shipped. Be patient! Every time I have sold any items, I will always include my business card.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I love the front page, the treasury, and favorite hearts. And I like the Etsy News and the twitters too. I love to see it when people “heart” my shop!
How do you promote your work?
I have a blog on blogspot where I post new items and special orders. I tell my co-workers and friends about my Etsy site and give them my business cards. I also leave business cards on the Starbuck’s bulletin board when I get a chance to go in for coffee.
I like to go to crafting shows with my friend Marney, where we share booth space as vendors. I bring lots of business cards to promote my Etsy shop. I even had a few people come up to me to say that they had visited my Etsy site and it was nice to see the person behind the shop!
In ten years I’d like to be…
In ten years I want to do as much knitting as I can. I would love to teach my daughter how to knit and instill the love of knitting that I have. Life is too short.