Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Amanda Boyd and I live under the trees and clouds of Seattle with my husband Caleb and our two daughters, Sage (thirteen) and Clover (two). Sage and I migrated from Vancouver BC about four years ago to be with Caleb, and Clover joined us shortly after. Shared interests are rare in our family of four, but we all agree on girl power, punk rock, science fiction and fantasy.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
When I am not working on one of my two Etsy shops — sandmaiden and sandmaidensleepwear — my two girls can be found soaking up the margins of my day planner. I also have many projects I’m working on around my house like, you know, doing the dishes. After I drop Clover off at daycare and before I go to my workshop, I go for a nice long walk or do yoga. To gain inspiration, I visit a shopping district and mainly check out other women, which my husband has gotten used to.
What first made you want to become an artist?
I think of myself as more of a scientist than an artist. My life is a series of failed experiments, spotted with a few wonderful successes. One of my first and more memorable failed fashion experiments is a pair of sandals made with cardboard soles in 7th grade. Even as early as 2nd grade, I was sneaking off to school in high heels and gypsy scarves tied around my body as clothing.
Luckily, the garment industry welcomed me without too much formal education. I do have to say it was an advantage that my mother went back to work when I was eleven, abandoning her well-stocked sewing room. Working in fashion, I picked up and polished off scraps of information everywhere I went. Until my pursuits in fashion, creativity would leak out and disrupt any sensible pursuits I developed such as good jobs, good relationships and good traffic records. An outlet was a matter of necessity.
Please describe your creative process.
Quite a bit of time is spent with a sketchbook in my bedroom that overlooks the park; this is where all the dreaming and planning happens (in my pajamas, of course). In between sewing orders I sneak in sample production. Normally I manipulate a paper pattern that I’ve already made, but sometimes I will make a new one and then cut and sew a sample, try it on, and voila! Failure. But oh, what’s this? Tuck here and cut there — genius!
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
While looking at my daily Etsy Finds email, I recently purchased wonderful soap and lotion dispensers made from mason jars by whippoorwheel. I also love my leather sandals from HeidiLouiseBootmaker, along with the pearl necklace my husband gave me as a Christmas gift from savagesalvage.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Use the finest quality materials you can get your hands on — this is the only way to compete with the manufactured marketplace. Also, if you have a good idea, don’t get married to it. You will get lots of feedback and direction from the community once you get rolling. If selling is your goal, it pays to be flexible. You won’t be able to accommodate every request, but you’ll be surprised how much the Etsy community will be a huge source of inspiration and encouragement.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I just love how you can link back to the messages and convos from orders now, and vice versa. It seems like the minute I wish for something on Etsy, I log in and there it is. One thing I hope to see in the future is an options matrix at checkout so buyers can easily choose color, flavor and shape instead of having to type it in the notes to seller field.
How do you promote your work?
Mainly I promote the shops internally on Etsy and through search engine optimization. If I get more than one request for, say, “trap door footie pajamas for men,” I start looking into whether it would be feasible, and then I will take that direction but put my own spin on it. Once I list the item, I tag it like crazy because I already know that people are searching for it.
In ten years, where would you like to be?
In ten years I see myself living in a Tudor home and having time and space to write in my attic study. To finance my lofty endeavors, I plan to design for private label manufacturers who have the ability to produce locally in their area.