Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello! My name is Sarah Jane, but you can call me Sarah. Sarah Jane is my childhood name, a time and place I am very fond of. I spent most of my childhood years just outside of Boston and Washington, DC although I could have been anywhere with how vivid my imagination was. I am the oldest of 5 kids, and most of my memories revolve around simple childhood play. I now have two lively toddlers and the most adorable husband in the world, and we currently reside in Utah.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
What don’t we do! Being a young mom, most of my day is filled with work and play. The only free time I have to myself is spent creating and working on my business, so really, the rest of the day is full! If you were to come over right now, you would find us doing laundry, playing barn animals, singing Jack Johnson, jumping on couch pillows and making breakfast…all at the same time!
What first made you want to become an artist?
I have always been an artist. I think every child is an artist…I just never grew out of it. Some of my earliest memories are following behind my mother at the department store, playing with the little plasticky-thingies that fall down from the hangers. I would make little people out of them, and my mother could shop for hours because I was so content! I was constantly making something out of nothing, and by third grade, I was a self proclaimed artist. I dreamed someday of owning my own “art shop” and selling my creations. It amazes me that I am following the dreams of my 8 year old self!
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
I draw because I have to. If I go long enough (about a week) without creating or drawing, I am like a bottle ready to explode. I can’t sleep, and I can’t manage to do anything else before I document my ideas and thoughts on paper. Being a young mom, I have very limited time. So, all of my drawing is done at naptime (if my kids nap!) and after bed time (they have an early bed time!!). I try and create in the middle of the day, since at night I am so tired. But there is also the business side of things which has stricter deadlines, and I often find my time filled with filling orders, emails, shipping and packing, and working on my wholesale orders as well. I have managed to segregate my days where I only ship on Tuesdays and Fridays, so that the other days I can tend to the needs of my business, and hopefully find a day or two for creating new art.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have a rag doll made by my grandmother. She gave it to my when I was 10 or so along with a bunch of fabric scraps from her mother that she put together in a sewing bag and encouraged me to learn how to make my own doll clothes. My grandmother is very creative, and I have often been inspired by her love of using her hands to make whatever is on her mind.
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
Well, my list is always changing, but here is what comes to mind right now:
Book of Mormon/Bible. (book)
Harry Potter (book)
Toot and Puddle series (book)
Mostly Martha (foreign film)
Bloesom kids (blog)
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Be proactive! ETSY can be your best marketing tool if you use it right! In the beginning, I relisted my items constantly, so they were always getting seen in their category. Sure, it cost an extra .20 cents, but it was worth it in the beginning. Get your name out there. Email people, Blog. Let people know where to find you.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I would have to say one of my favorite features is the favorites list. I have found so many cool sellers by hopping through peoples favorites. Other features I would like to see….I would like to see a way to organize my “conversations” better.
How do you promote your work?
My number one is to make the customers I DO have, want to come back. I take great care in putting together my orders, making sure they are pretty, and responding promptly to customer’s requests. I want to make sure that my customers know how much I appreciate them! I also have been featured on quite a few blogs, and that has been an incredible advertising tool. The blogging world is so friendly, and I have found a lot of success by putting my self out there in the blogging world.
In ten years I’d like to be…
snuggling children still and drawing more.