Shop Etsy

Featured Seller: SecretSafeBooks

Dec 10, 2010

by SecretSafeBooks

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Born in South Korea, I was left on a doorstep in Seoul when I was a few weeks old with my name, Soon Ae, pinned to me. At the tender age of six months, I was adopted by my American parents who named me Kara. I was and still am über shy, and the way I connected with people throughout much of high school was to draw life-like pencil portraits of my fellow students. I carried my drawing pencils around in a weird faux-croc, box-like purse which contrasted sharply with my Catholic school uniform.

I wound up attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I got my BFA in painting and drawing, and now I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I was never comfortable with my art, which was figurative and based upon memories of people in my life. Recently it dawned upon me why I’ve always enjoyed drawing in a sketchbook so much. A sketchbook can be closed, which is much less terrifying to me. One night I was aimlessly wandering the corners of the Internet when I ran across some images of hollow books. It just clicked with me. A book. A safe. A secret spot. So I researched methods to do it myself, starting out with an X-Acto blade. Later, Santa brought me a scroll saw. Eventually I started making cutouts in books for flasks, which tickles my funny-bone.
FS_SecretSafeBooks_1.jpgI must say it is pretty darn satisfying to make real money after years of the tortured-soul-starving artist gigs. I finally feel comfortable in my current occupation as a hollow-bookmaker. I recently quit my day job as a security guard at the Museum of Contemporary Art here in the lovely city of Chicago. Standing somewhat idle in those sleek galleries of conceptual art exhibits, in the moments between my “please don’t touch” statements, I came up with the concept for my shop, born out of a desire to get my hands on something. Today I live with my husband, John, along with fond memories of my dear cat Angelo, who passed away five years ago.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

I love to travel. I reluctantly shrugged off my workaholic tendencies and put my Etsy shop on vacation last February so that I could escape the Chicago cold and spend a little time on the beach. When my husband and I aren’t traveling, we have dinner at home, watch the original Star Trek reruns, spend a little time on each of our computers, and then watch a movie. On weekends we sometimes go out to breakfast at our FS_SecretSafeBooks_3.jpgfavorite local diner and maybe have dinner at a Thai restaurant in New Chinatown that we love.

What first made you want to become an artist?

My Norwegian grandmother practices the art of Rosemaling, a Norwegian style of decorative painting that never quite rubbed off on me. Most of the other people in my family claim they have no artistic talent by saying, “I can’t even draw a straight line.” Well, I can’t really draw a straight line without a ruler, and they let me into art school — go figure.

When I was in preschool, my best friend’s mother was an artist who worked at home. She had a big drafting table where I once saw her drawing a huge ship when I came over to play. At that early age, I realized that being an artist was something you could do for a living. Sometimes if we bothered her while she was working, she would stop and do a couple quick line drawings of flowers for us to color. I remember doing all kinds of craft projects at their house. From then on, I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to make stuff at home for my job, just like my friend’s mom. But I also wanted an indoor swimming pool, which I learned cost a lot of money, so for a little while (until I was 9 or so), I resolved to become a lawyer.

Please describe your creative process.

I usually start by judging a book by its cover. Then everything just falls into place and I put my nose to the grindstone and craft, craft, craft. My customers also inspire me by letting me in on some of their secrets. I’ve been asked to create a hidden spot for countless objects: flasks, handguns, iPhones, flash drives, engagement rings, condoms, lingerie, a diary, and a spy glass for a little girl who was crazy for Nancy Drew.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

Sometimes when I dream that I’m in some kind of troubling situation, a winged horse comes down from the sky. I hop on and we fly away together. Then when I was at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival this year, I saw a winged horse sculpture that looked just like the one in my dreams and just had to have it.

FS_SecretSafeBooks_2.jpgWhat advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?

Be sure to put the most relevant keywords about your products in the first sentence of your Shop Announcement, because this is what turns up in Google search results. As a newbie, I had “Welcome to my shop” as my first sentence, until a seasoned seller in the Critiques section of the Forums pointed out that nobody is going to search Google for “Welcome to my shop.” I was nowhere to be found on Google until I wrote “Hollow Book” at the beginning of my announcement. Also, make sure to flesh out your profile. People want to get to know you because, after all, they are coming to Etsy to buy from an independent artisan.

See and be seen in the Etsy Forums. I can’t tell you how many times a customer has told me, “I found you in the Forums.” It is also a great place to get valuable input by asking for a critique of your shop. Also, do a daily study of the Etsy homepage treasury products and you’ll start to get a feel for what makes a great photograph. Take advantage of all five photo slots, and use Picasa or some other photo-editing program so you can crop, pump the contrast, sharpen, and tweak your photos to perfection.

Additionally, I suggest staying hydrated at all times.

What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?

I love the Etsy Forums. As I mentioned above, the advice from my fellow sellers has been extremely valuable to my business. But even more than that is the camaraderie which is so comforting, especially now that I’m self-employed. A new feature I would like to see is an enhanced profile page where sellers have the option to add photos of ourselves and our work spaces.

How do you promote your work?

Over the past several months, I’ve purchased side-bar ads on two fantastic blogs, Offbeat Bride and Chelsea Talks Smack, as well as ads on Craftopolis and CraftCult. And of course, I also tweet.

In ten years, where would you like to be?

Bora Bora!

Featured Seller Archive

Hollow Book Safe - H.P. Lovecraft: Great Tales of Horror - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - H.P. Lovecraft: Great Tales of Horror - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$59.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - The Hobbit 75th Anniversary Edition - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - The Hobbit 75th Anniversary Edition - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$68.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - The Fault in Our Stars - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - The Fault in Our Stars - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - The Godfather - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - The Godfather - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$69.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Black Hawk Down - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Black Hawk Down - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$49.99 USD
Hollow Book Gun Safe - The Constitution of the USA - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Gun Safe - The Constitution of the USA - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$89.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - The Great Gatsby - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - The Great Gatsby - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$67.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask (Gideon Bible)
Hollow Book Safe & Flask (Gideon Bible)
SecretSafeBooks
$59.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales Leatherbound - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales Leatherbound - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$72.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$69.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$62.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$69.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, Special 20th Anniversary Gryffindor Edition - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, Special 20th Anniversary Gryffindor Edition - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$66.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$69.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$62.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe Ring Bearer - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince "Unbreakable Vow" - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe Ring Bearer - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince "Unbreakable Vow" - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$69.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - The Da Vinci Code - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - The Da Vinci Code - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$56.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - The Prince and the Pauper - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - The Prince and the Pauper - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Vintage 1977 The Hardy Boys: The Flickering Torch Mystery - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Vintage 1977 The Hardy Boys: The Flickering Torch Mystery - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$39.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Get Capone - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Get Capone - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$62.99 USD
Hollow Book Gun Safe - Vintage 1978 American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Gun Safe - Vintage 1978 American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$79.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$67.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - George W. Bush Decision Points - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - George W. Bush Decision Points - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$56.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Texas Vol. 2 - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Texas Vol. 2 - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$57.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Wuthering Heights - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Wuthering Heights - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$69.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Anne of Green Gables - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Anne of Green Gables - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$62.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$64.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Robin Hood - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Robin Hood - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$56.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe Ring Bearer - The Princess Bride - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe Ring Bearer - The Princess Bride - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$69.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - The World is Flat - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - The World is Flat - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$49.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - The Black Tower - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - The Black Tower - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$49.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe with Heart - Fortune-Telling Book of Love - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe with Heart - Fortune-Telling Book of Love - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$44.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Mötley Crüe - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Mötley Crüe - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe with Flask - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe with Flask - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Vintage 1961 The Hardy Boys: The Secret of the Old Mill - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Vintage 1961 The Hardy Boys: The Secret of the Old Mill - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$39.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Jack the Ripper - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Jack the Ripper - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe with Heart - Love Stories - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe with Heart - Love Stories - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$62.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Pudd'nhead Wilson - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Pudd'nhead Wilson - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe with Flask - The Girl Who Played with Fire - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe with Flask - The Girl Who Played with Fire - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Pride and Prejudice - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Pride and Prejudice - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$69.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe with Heart - True Love - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe with Heart - True Love - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$59.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - J.R.R. Tolkien's The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - J.R.R. Tolkien's The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$56.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - The Art of War - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - The Art of War - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
Hollow Book Safe (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - To the Ends of the Earth - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - To the Ends of the Earth - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$54.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe (Vintage 1943 Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám)
Hollow Book Safe (Vintage 1943 Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám)
SecretSafeBooks
$54.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe with Heart - The Christmas Stories - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe with Heart - The Christmas Stories - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe with Heart - A Christmas Carol - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe with Heart - A Christmas Carol - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Christmas Stories - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Christmas Stories - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$44.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Sarah Palin Going Rogue - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Sarah Palin Going Rogue - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe with Heart - Vintage The Life and Times of Chaucer - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe with Heart - Vintage The Life and Times of Chaucer - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$49.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Vintage 1968 A Farewell to Arms - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Vintage 1968 A Farewell to Arms - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$59.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe with Flask - The Nightmare Years - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe with Flask - The Nightmare Years - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$59.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - The Works of Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - The Works of Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Aku-Aku - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Aku-Aku - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$52.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Dark Star Safari - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Dark Star Safari - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$57.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$59.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Vintage 1963 The Hardy Boys: The Viking Symbol Mystery - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Vintage 1963 The Hardy Boys: The Viking Symbol Mystery - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$39.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - The Grand Slam - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe & Flask - The Grand Slam - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$59.99 USD
Hollow Book Safe - Mansfield Park - Secret Book Safe
Hollow Book Safe - Mansfield Park - Secret Book Safe
SecretSafeBooks
$64.99 USD

302 comments

  • Colettesboutique

    Colettesboutique said 7 years ago

    What a beautifully written story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Congratulations on the feature.

  • aBreathofFrenchair

    aBreathofFrenchair said 7 years ago

    Chicago....brrrrr! I love your shop and congrats!

  • JiruMess

    JiruMess said 7 years ago

    Wonderful product! Thank you for inspiring

  • doveandflower

    doveandflower said 7 years ago

    Kara, your story reads like a fable or a fairytale, so beautifully and sweetly written. Thanks so much for sharing, and for the tips. I'm heading straight for the Critique forum. Your things would be perfect for the Man Treasury posttoo. What guy wouldn't want a wonderful secret hidey book?! :-)

  • CarlasFunkyArt

    CarlasFunkyArt said 7 years ago

    What a neat idea, and I love your life story.

  • TwinkleStarCrafts

    TwinkleStarCrafts said 7 years ago

    Lovely personal story. Congrat on FS!

  • joyoustreasures

    joyoustreasures said 7 years ago

    You're work is beautiful! I love your story, thanks so much for sharing it!

  • Minxshop

    Minxshop said 7 years ago

    Go hydration! You are awesome, and so are your books! Congrats on the feature. :)

  • Marvidrio

    Marvidrio said 7 years ago

    Wonderfully written. The hollow books are really fascinating. Thanks for sharing.:)I wish you much continued success!

  • genisepark

    genisepark said 7 years ago

    Those books are wonderful.

  • bylynnkrestel

    bylynnkrestel said 7 years ago

    wishing you lots of success over the next few days!!

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 7 years ago

    Hey homie from Chicago. Wonderful feature. I bought one of her secret books for my husband, and he LOOOVES it. Chicago is home of the book, that's for sure.

  • dailyportrait

    dailyportrait said 7 years ago

    Love reading about the background of sellers and see a face behind the product. Very nice to learn a little more about you Kara, as you have such a lovely shop!

  • OutsidePeg

    OutsidePeg said 7 years ago

    What a great story!

  • Asianexpressions

    Asianexpressions said 7 years ago

    Wonderful interview. Congrats!

  • babyjives

    babyjives said 7 years ago

    Years ago my husband made a book safe when.we were in art school - so he could hide the.remote control! Great tips for sellers, thanks for sharing and much continued success to you!

  • rebeccasanchez

    rebeccasanchez said 7 years ago

    Beautiful work!

  • tastesorangey

    tastesorangey said 7 years ago

    Bora Bora with an indoor swimming pool. That sounds like the best case scenario! You can do it.

  • LaughRabbitJr

    LaughRabbitJr said 7 years ago

    Congratulations on your success! I will change my shop announcement at once - thanks. The willingness of the etsy community to share and help each other is great. Good luck making it to Bora Bora!

  • GildedCageDesign

    GildedCageDesign said 7 years ago

    Cool idea!! Nice article!

  • diirvine

    diirvine said 7 years ago

    Great Story and Great Store. Thank you for sharing.

  • penyadesignshop2

    penyadesignshop2 said 7 years ago

    great article :)

  • LaughRabbitDesigns

    LaughRabbitDesigns said 7 years ago

    Very nice. Love the hollow books idea.... glad to see another artist out there making it in the world - Continued success!

  • JewelrybyDorothy

    JewelrybyDorothy said 7 years ago

    I love your work and enjoyed reading your personal story. Congratulations!

  • whilebabynaps

    whilebabynaps said 7 years ago

    Craaaaaaaazzzzzzy! Love this. I will several book lovers and this will make a great gift! Happy holidays!!

  • lynntodddesigns

    lynntodddesigns said 7 years ago

    Great feature!

  • KMalinka

    KMalinka said 7 years ago

    Interesting story. Wonderful work!

  • LuLusApple

    LuLusApple said 7 years ago

    I love this! How nice to hear such a wonderful success story :) oh and btw I bought 2 of these last night hehe can't wait to get them! Congrats on your feature :)

  • LoveBeachDays

    LoveBeachDays said 7 years ago

    What an inspiring story ... awesome job congrats!

  • craftypagan

    craftypagan said 7 years ago

    Awesome to see Secret Safe Books as a featured Seller-been a longtime fan for a while!

  • vickiorion

    vickiorion said 7 years ago

    This is one of the most touching stories I've read here. You have a wonderful product line that is unique and so artful.

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections said 7 years ago

    Impressive- these are the most gorgeous bookcases I've ever seen. Congrats on being featured!

  • verdigreen

    verdigreen said 7 years ago

    You are charming and witty and your store is ohsoclever. I love love love this spotlight!

  • rozzie

    rozzie said 7 years ago

    Lovely books and interview. Glad to learn more about you! Congrats on being featured!

  • treasurebooth

    treasurebooth said 7 years ago

    I truly enjoyed reading this. You made me giggle more times than I can count and I completely relate about being a shy girl in school :) Seems very few people could work a museum job like the one you did--especially being quiet and attentive for long periods of time. It's great that that time allowed you to think things out. Introspection (introversion) is overlooked and undervalued, but can really help with creative productivity! Cheers to your success.

  • rusticrevivals

    rusticrevivals said 7 years ago

    Very inspiring story - these types of re-purposed books have long been a favorite concept of mine, but you do such an amazingly original job of it! (Just don't use my old classics, please!)

  • rusticrevivals

    rusticrevivals said 7 years ago

    Also, your advice was excellent for newbies, so I've taken the liberty of cutting and pasting it into our UPECO team discussions! Thanks!

  • SuePsales

    SuePsales said 7 years ago

    Great story, congrats and continued success.

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 7 years ago

    Lovely shop, congrats on featured seller too, enjoyed reading your story too, wish you continued success in the future too.

  • wotlarx

    wotlarx said 7 years ago

    I loved your story, Kara! Thanks so much for sharing. Congrats on the feature and on your beautiful product.

  • SimplyByBex

    SimplyByBex said 7 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story! Congrats on your success. You deserve it!

  • Hoshika

    Hoshika said 7 years ago

    Hollow Book is very nice idea! I, myself, would like get out from "years of the tortured-soul-starving artist gigs" as well!! thank you for sharing, Kara.

  • TheBloomingThread

    TheBloomingThread said 7 years ago

    Loved your interview. Truly a great success story! oh- and im changing my first sentence from "welcome to my shop..." guilty. thanks~

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy said 7 years ago

    beautiful life, kara, and gorgeous items. :)

  • NaviWing

    NaviWing said 7 years ago

    Beautifully written and so inspiring... Thank you for sharing this with us. :D I've taken a lot of your advice to heart and am about to make some major improvements today.

  • DiamondRhino

    DiamondRhino said 7 years ago

    What a great story and congratulations on your success, and being spotlighted as a Featured Seller! Your work is absolutely AMAZING and unique! Keep up the great work and I look forward to making my first purchase from your shop :)

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 7 years ago

    rad

  • DayDreamerVintage

    DayDreamerVintage said 7 years ago

    Nice interview, Lovely books. I love your shop!

  • JezzamynMingi

    JezzamynMingi said 7 years ago

    I love this hollow books. Such a genius idea! Thank you for pointing out the welcome to my shop tip... That is indeed useful. Oh, and getting hydrated as well. ;) Congrats on going full time!

  • JohnBirdsong

    JohnBirdsong said 7 years ago

    Pretty Awesome!

  • littleyellowyarrow

    littleyellowyarrow said 7 years ago

    Such precious boxes, and endearing story. Big congratulations on your success. I love Chicago, except this time of year - brrrrrrrrr.

  • heartsandbows494

    heartsandbows494 said 7 years ago

    Congratulations and what an inspiring story! You're such an inspiration and I wish you the best in everything you do. :)

  • moonsongranch

    moonsongranch said 7 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your personal story. Your path to Etsy is inspiring! Love your books. I wish you continued success!!

  • Serrelynda

    Serrelynda said 7 years ago

    Your story is amazing. I have been a long time fan of your books.

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 7 years ago

    Obviously, I am a fan of any type of book art and I absolutely LOVE your art! Thank you so much for sharing your story. :)

  • purkinjefibers

    purkinjefibers said 7 years ago

    wow, what a great personal story! thanks for sharing.

  • needleyou

    needleyou said 7 years ago

    Happy for this Etsian and love her advice and story. I'm a fellow SAIC alumna as well & know all to well how hard it is to live the starving artist life as well. Continued 'Bona Fortuna' to her & a her great secret books.

  • HouseOfMoss

    HouseOfMoss said 7 years ago

    Your book safes are beautiful!

  • chinamommy

    chinamommy said 7 years ago

    Awww, I love your story. and, as a side note, I also adopted a little girl that was left on a doorstep (but in China), she is the LOVE of my life!!!

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 7 years ago

    Nice! I like how you inlay either a picture or pattern - very cute!

  • UneBelleVie

    UneBelleVie said 7 years ago

    What a wonderful article! and congratulations on being a featured seller! Your story is so inspiring and I am in love with your hollow books. Best wishes to you and your family :)

  • ellemardesigns

    ellemardesigns said 7 years ago

    Very interesting, I love the idea of the hollow books to hide treasures and secrets. Thanks for your helpful advice, too.

  • ElephantTrunkCrochet

    ElephantTrunkCrochet said 7 years ago

    Great concept! Thank you for sharing!

  • evelaine

    evelaine said 7 years ago

    This would make a sweet gift idea, especially after you've uncovered the surprise inside.(Hint). I wish you continued success.

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom said 7 years ago

    Great interview. Very clever product.

  • evelaine

    evelaine said 7 years ago

    This would make a sweet gift idea, especially after you've uncovered the surprise inside.(Hint). I wish you continued success.

  • dirtdancestonewerks

    dirtdancestonewerks said 7 years ago

    Love your writing, and your hollow books... Beautifully creative!

  • CelebrateToday

    CelebrateToday said 7 years ago

    What a wonderful feature!

  • AmelieTalks

    AmelieTalks said 7 years ago

    Very useful advice to newbie! Thanks for your sharing!

  • Laila4you

    Laila4you said 7 years ago

    Great article. I love the books-boxes, it is really something spectacular and trully amazing! My jewelry would look just great in it... Thanks so much for sharing!

  • energyshop

    energyshop said 7 years ago

    oh my goodness, you're the cutest!!!!!! ♥

  • ArleenDesign

    ArleenDesign said 7 years ago

    Very inspiring story Kara! Keep it up and have more blessings:) Love your product too!

  • BookgirlsStudio

    BookgirlsStudio said 7 years ago

    What a wonderful interview. You have such a lovely shop.

  • FerntreeStudio

    FerntreeStudio said 7 years ago

    congrats on the feature!

  • SugarCubeGirl

    SugarCubeGirl said 7 years ago

    Very inspiring, wonderfully written article. I really appreciate the advice as well.

  • Moonbeam008

    Moonbeam008 said 7 years ago

    Love your items! Just bought one this morning, can't wait to see the reaction I get when they open the book!

  • ReeCreates

    ReeCreates said 7 years ago

    Fantastic interview, thank you for sharing your story! : )

  • annakdesigns

    annakdesigns said 7 years ago

    Wow! I love your shop and your Secret Safe Books.That's such a beautiful and more personalized way to present high end items. I will certainly keep you in mind for our clients looking for an original packaging idea.

  • thecareerscrapper

    thecareerscrapper said 7 years ago

    Wow a great story from a great artisan! Congrats to you!

  • heartdosheart

    heartdosheart said 7 years ago

    i love the story, i really enjoyed , i love your safe books. Thanks for the tips too

  • curiouspug

    curiouspug said 7 years ago

    great story! i love your secret safe books :)

  • searchnrescue2

    searchnrescue2 said 7 years ago

    Love your story and your Hollow Books are great! The winged horse in your dreams really got me! Love him too!

  • ElasIdeaDesigns

    ElasIdeaDesigns said 7 years ago

    I have always wanted one of these secret books. Great read. Thanks for sharing.

  • jamiespinello

    jamiespinello said 7 years ago

    Ha! I totally made a "secret book" for my boyfriend for valentines day when i was in high school and painted a dragon on the cover~ofcourse~! Then I broke up with him before valentines day so I got to keep it. Win/Win!

  • VogueVixens

    VogueVixens said 7 years ago

    Great interview. Thanks for the useful advice about promoting.... I need it.

  • longrunners

    longrunners said 7 years ago

    Very unique product and beautiful work!!

  • greengirlieusa

    greengirlieusa said 7 years ago

    Love the books. You really gave some good advice. I'm going to make a few changes. Thanks.

  • HopesAndDreamz

    HopesAndDreamz said 7 years ago

    Great featured seller. This was awesome.

  • hankietankie

    hankietankie said 7 years ago

    great story & gorgeous items! congratulations!!! xo

  • stef123

    stef123 said 7 years ago

    What an absolutely amazing & inspiring story! I hope that my kids (and their friends) are able to look @ me & realize that they can make money from making things with their hands. And hollow books? Brilliant! Where were you when I was in highschool? ;) I wish you loads of luck!

  • beliz82

    beliz82 said 7 years ago

    Great story Congrats !!!

  • agnisflugen

    agnisflugen said 7 years ago

    oh, i think i know which tai restaurant she is referring to! every time i find myself in chicago i make a point to stop there for lunch and a lychee smoothie....

  • odiliafu

    odiliafu said 7 years ago

    Love your story. Congrats! What a wonderful shop you have!

  • iMariStol

    iMariStol said 7 years ago

    Wow, I am going straight to my shop and changing my shop announcement! O, and one of my daughter's besties, was abandoned on a street corner in China as an infant. Now, every year they celebrate "Adoption Day" in her family. =) Thanks & Hugs MariS

  • amylocati

    amylocati said 7 years ago

    Wow! Such a great story and wonderful unique items. Never seen anything like it before. Thanks for sharing!

  • Mazzocco

    Mazzocco said 7 years ago

    whoa...sold out in one day. wow. congratulations! i guess you wont have much time to watch star trek reruns..

  • acharmedlifeinc

    acharmedlifeinc said 7 years ago

    You are truly inspiring, what a great story!!!

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 7 years ago

    I adore your shop and loved this interview. Something that you said struck a note. About your cat. We went 9 years w/o one after #1 passed. Bringing Althea home was the best thing we ever did. Happy Holidays from TN.

  • acharmedlifeinc

    acharmedlifeinc said 7 years ago

    You are truly inspiring, what a great story!!

  • Minnie829

    Minnie829 said 7 years ago

    Amazing, very nice story and shop!

  • viralthreads

    viralthreads said 7 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading your story! You have a wonderful shop. Congrats on the feature!

  • nonsenseinstitute

    nonsenseinstitute said 7 years ago

    I love your shop! Great interview and Congratulations on a selling out your shop today! Hooray for Handmade! :o)

  • SaltysPirateDen

    SaltysPirateDen said 7 years ago

    great story, I was inspired by your work in the past and made a crude version of a booksafe for myself. Thank you !

  • piecesofelises

    piecesofelises said 7 years ago

    Very nice article! I love your shop as well! There are so many brilliant people on Etsy. Thanks for the advice about what you write in your shop announcement.

  • gypseatree

    gypseatree said 7 years ago

    Loved this story! Also great info about what to include in those first lines of the shop announcement. I'm off to browse her shop!

  • DeepBlueNotion

    DeepBlueNotion said 7 years ago

    Great interview! You're so clever!

  • mehndiart09

    mehndiart09 said 7 years ago

    very unique idea...Too bad nothing is listed for sale in the shop because I wanted to buy one.

  • KIMMSMITH

    KIMMSMITH said 7 years ago

    A wonderfully inspiring story and fabby creations too! Wishing you every success for the future.

  • bayousalvage

    bayousalvage said 7 years ago

    please, come down to new orleans and I'll treat you to dinner. you sound like a hoot- and your books are pretty swell too.

  • JillsBoutique

    JillsBoutique said 7 years ago

    You are a beautiful person with a beautiful life story. I loved reading it, love your secret books! Best Wishes!

  • honeydipjewels

    honeydipjewels said 7 years ago

    What a beautifully written story with a happy ending. When does your book come out? Wishing you continued success lovely lady.

  • CustomDogBandanas

    CustomDogBandanas said 7 years ago

    Gorgeous items! Congrats!

  • knowdiggity

    knowdiggity said 7 years ago

    In my dreams horses always represent saviors of some sort that get me out of trouble or help me too. How cool!!!

  • jesspeterson

    jesspeterson said 7 years ago

    indeed a wonderful story with some very sage advice!

  • Marolsha

    Marolsha said 7 years ago

    A lovely and inspiring story. Congrats !

  • erindove

    erindove said 7 years ago

    a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it.

  • chrissysparks

    chrissysparks said 7 years ago

    These are AWESOME! When my husband and I were engaged, we had people split us up and take me far away and not let us talk to each other (trying to convince me he wasn't who I should marry). When I returned back to the city, I arranged for a secret dinner with him to let him know I still wanted to marry him (I didn't want anyone doing anything else CRAZY to stop us). He had hidden my engagement ring in a journal he kept while we were separated and had cut out a small spot in it (like these books) and so when I opened it and flipped through it, there it was..waiting for me to take it out and put it on my finger. It was our secret. We ran off and got married on the beach under the stars with a few close friends. I loved finding my secret ring hidden in there...these definitely remind me of that!!

  • birdhouseaccents

    birdhouseaccents said 7 years ago

    Congrats

  • nikkyelizabeth

    nikkyelizabeth said 7 years ago

    A great read:)

  • deepfried

    deepfried said 7 years ago

    Loved the detailed interview. Great items and I think you sold out!! WOW!

  • mythofus

    mythofus said 7 years ago

    wow. i like the way you came up with the hollow book idea.

  • IndyGrrrlProductions

    IndyGrrrlProductions said 7 years ago

    What an awesome shop! Congrats : )

  • lilyanewyork

    lilyanewyork said 7 years ago

    loved your story and your art. congratulations!

  • MonkeysOnTheRoof

    MonkeysOnTheRoof said 7 years ago

    I love your inspiration for the books...and I can relate to the shyness part too!

  • shop1848

    shop1848 said 7 years ago

    Wonderful article. I love your work! I have an antique version of one of these.

  • Nanagracy

    Nanagracy said 7 years ago

    Great story and great shop :) Best wishes!

  • BrendaWattsWoodwork

    BrendaWattsWoodwork said 7 years ago

    Your works are wonderful. Thank you for the tips, I have just joined Etsy as a way to move to more retail sales for my pieces as compared to wholesale. I have a busy studio in the summer and want to reach out more. I an sure I will find your advice helpful in learning the Etsy Lingo.

  • dkshopgirl

    dkshopgirl said 7 years ago

    Fantastic article - so inspiring. Thank you :-)

  • AlohaMO

    AlohaMO said 7 years ago

    Aloha Kara...i smile and chuckle at the creative road you have journeyed and being an artist from Honolulu for over 30 years i am inspired and grateful to having stumbled upon this amazing beautiful site and story of YOU...I have been making "stuff" since i was 10 and at 50+ its exciting to see what the world is up too...I have a secret hollow book that is over 100 years old from a grand Uncle but it kept a 6 shot set and a small bottle of booze in it!!! So clever back then...i send you the warmth of the Islands and enjoy your precious success as an artist!!! You inspire all of us...much aloha moana

  • merisu

    merisu said 7 years ago

    Your books are wonderful safe havens, but most of all, I enjoyed reading your story...and thanks for the tips. Best wishes!

  • designlab443

    designlab443 said 7 years ago

    Shy sister here also!!! Your secret books are lovely!

  • myhandmadecrafts

    myhandmadecrafts said 7 years ago

    lovely! thanks for sharing your story~ :)))

  • terrymillsphoto

    terrymillsphoto said 7 years ago

    Great Story! It really helps to get other artist opinion of what you are doing. Thanks so much for the info.

  • FunWithNeedles

    FunWithNeedles said 7 years ago

    "Additionally, I suggest staying hydrated at all times." hahaha that is awesome!!! love the interview---beautiful work!

  • SuzsCountryPrims

    SuzsCountryPrims said 7 years ago

    Your books are fabtastic. Thanks for sharing your story:)

  • HulaGirl1922

    HulaGirl1922 said 7 years ago

    mmmmmmm....as a seasoned book seller....I see sooooo many books that are homeless :( It makes my ♥ happy that you are giving books a second chance and what a most lovely and artistic way to do it!! Thanks for sharing your lovely story ♥ now..I'm sure you agree is...soooo many books soooo little time :) ..cool story indeed. ....and okie dokie on the staying hydrated :) best wishes to all and to all a good day ♥

  • thebqe

    thebqe said 7 years ago

    Awesome story!! LOVe how you talked about being a struggling artist then found how to make hollow books as your calling! Beautiful shop and HAPPY SALES!!

  • waterpath

    waterpath said 7 years ago

    Congratulations, Kara! Looks like you and your trusty scroll saw are going to be very busy. Thank you for the inspiring story and for being full of awesome! Remember to make time for cookies and hydration, and Happy Holidays!

  • 2BlackCats

    2BlackCats said 7 years ago

    Kara, I loved your story and I LOVE YOUR BOOK SAFES! They are the coolest things ever. I have several faux book boxes at home, but not one made from a real book, so I'm going to have to remedy that. Also, I totally agree that sellers should flesh out their profiles! Every time I go to read one and its blank, my first thought is "Wow, REALLY? Nothing to say for yourself?"

  • allisonmooney

    allisonmooney said 7 years ago

    Love your story and hope you have loads of success! From anothe shy girl in Chicago!

  • TheJauntyMuse

    TheJauntyMuse said 7 years ago

    Wonderful life story-love your outlook.! Thanks for sharing. Much success in all you do.

  • earjeans

    earjeans said 7 years ago

    what an enjoyable read! And very helpful. I immediately took your advice on the shop announcement! I had "welcome to my shop" also, lol! grabbing a glass of water to stay hydrated :o)

  • vintagegrrl77

    vintagegrrl77 said 7 years ago

    wow what a great idea you are so creative!

  • naldadesign

    naldadesign said 7 years ago

    More than great! I love your design!

  • CraftedRoots

    CraftedRoots said 7 years ago

    GREAT article! Love the products, and now the artist! ^_^

  • HollyvisionArt

    HollyvisionArt said 7 years ago

    Beautiful books and wonderful story. Congratulations!

  • elbeecr

    elbeecr said 7 years ago

    thank you for sharing your story! it was wonderful to read the paths that led to where you are now. wishing you all the best (and thinking of what i might hide in a book ;) cheers!

  • strawberryluna

    strawberryluna said 7 years ago

    Holy cow, I love your books! I definitely just bought one because I have a few things I'd like to keep hidden away in a magical place. So glad to have found your shop, we love Chicago too and just visited last week :) Congratulations on the Feature!

  • InkTreePress

    InkTreePress said 7 years ago

    Wonderful interview. Where do your books come from before they become hollow? Do you buy them new, used, a bit of both? I think adding a little story about where you snatched up each book to your listings would be really interesting!

  • jipaperie

    jipaperie said 7 years ago

    I loved reading your story and your shop!

  • tnkgrrl

    tnkgrrl said 7 years ago

    What a great interview. So glad you share wit us!

  • maymers

    maymers said 7 years ago

    Her product is nostalgic and creative, and I love her quirky and adorable personality. Great combination. Kudos!

  • worldonadot

    worldonadot said 7 years ago

    beautiful woman, beautiful woman and fantastic craft!

  • Farmtiques

    Farmtiques said 7 years ago

    Great interview! You are so creative!

  • landy1011

    landy1011 said 7 years ago

    remind me of 《Shawshank Redemption》

  • zelmarose

    zelmarose said 7 years ago

    Great story and beautiful work. Inspiring for someone new to Etsy who aspires to quit her day job :)

  • StudioLimon

    StudioLimon said 7 years ago

    How original! I love it.

  • ASDW

    ASDW said 7 years ago

    I just wanted to let you know I appreciated the fact that your Featured Seller bit wasn't pretentious like almost every other Featured Seller bit I've seen. Seriously. Kudos.

  • audreytolove

    audreytolove said 7 years ago

    excellant! I love your sharing, as well as the items!!

  • PattiTrostle

    PattiTrostle said 7 years ago

    Great story..beautiful work..thanks for sharing!

  • frecklesoriginals

    frecklesoriginals said 7 years ago

    Kara your story is an inspireation to any one starting a jurney. Your secret books are beautiful. Good luck to you and your man it was lovely to read your story.

  • MontclairMade

    MontclairMade said 7 years ago

    Congrats, my boot camp buddy!

  • timasartstudio

    timasartstudio said 7 years ago

    Great story! Congratz!Thanks for the advices..

  • byjlc

    byjlc said 7 years ago

    Just wonderful...great motivation!

  • studiommagrini

    studiommagrini said 7 years ago

    Really nice story, thanks for sharing. The Hollow books are great!

  • Pakbrat

    Pakbrat said 7 years ago

    I love reading about artists and crafters that are able to make a living doing what makes them happy and fulfilled. Gives me hope.

  • LooseElastic

    LooseElastic said 7 years ago

    Your books are magical! Your life journey so far, very inspirational! I've just joined Etsy and yours is the first story I've read! ;oD

  • farandtwee

    farandtwee said 7 years ago

    Awesome Fellow Chicagoan! I went to Columbia College Chicago! Great to read your story!

  • tigerbee

    tigerbee said 7 years ago

    Entertaining and intimate little interview, I related so much...being an ex-museum gallery guard myself and loving Star Trek (the original) to pieces! Wonderful, love the books and good luck getting to Bora Bora!

  • muffintopdesigns

    muffintopdesigns said 7 years ago

    just loved your story! thank you for sharing! (and how cool is it that santa brought you a scroll saw!)

  • seaurchin

    seaurchin said 7 years ago

    I bought one of these books for my hard-to-find-a-present-for father in law. He loved it, as do many of his guests! When it arrived here, we realised we didn't want to part with it, so promptly bought another :) it's lovely to hear the story behind the shop, which as in Kara's case is often unexpected and touching.

  • prettypipers

    prettypipers said 7 years ago

    Great shop! Very original! And thanks so much for the newbie advice - going to change my shop announcement right now!

  • VintageJamie

    VintageJamie said 7 years ago

    I'm so proud of you as a Korean! *^^*

  • WoolMoon

    WoolMoon said 7 years ago

    You are so inspiring. Your article touched a special spot for me. Thank you.

  • triamalese

    triamalese said 7 years ago

    Kara is my wife and I'm very proud of her. She's worked hard and has made this project a success from the get-go. It started as a hobby - just something to do - and quickly became a business. 700+ sales in little over a year with no signs of slowing down. The only limit at the moment appears to be her ability as a one person operation to keep her store filled items. For any Etsians that need some inspiration you need to know that you can make a living at this if you really want to.

  • porterhousedesigns

    porterhousedesigns said 7 years ago

    What an inspiring story! Thanks for all of the heartfelt advice, and congrats on your success!

  • robertacummings

    robertacummings said 7 years ago

    Excellent advice for new sellers, i will change my own shop announcement which currently begins with "welcome to my shop"!!!

  • inthegate2009

    inthegate2009 said 7 years ago

    thanks for the advice! ... :0)

  • girltuesdayjewelry

    girltuesdayjewelry said 7 years ago

    Great interview! Love your work! Best of luck to you!

  • MetroGypsy

    MetroGypsy said 7 years ago

    "Born in South Korea, I was left on a doorstep in Seoul when I was a few weeks old with my name, Soon Ae, pinned to me" Beautiful!

  • starryeyedjen

    starryeyedjen said 7 years ago

    Wow I love it. I've book-marked this as the perfect present for that intellectual friend who has everything.

  • EdensEndeavors

    EdensEndeavors said 7 years ago

    This story was a wonderful read. Thanks for sharing your story and congrats on your success! As a Minnesotan I also had to smile at the little shot out to our Renaissance Fair :)

  • happykathy

    happykathy said 7 years ago

    What an inspiration! Thanks for choosing a great featured seller Etsy!

  • simpletilly

    simpletilly said 7 years ago

    Very much enjoyed your story. I had not seen your art before. It is really beautiful and unique. I could relate to being inspired by a friend's mom. I had that in my childhood, too. She still inspires me. Thanks for sharing!

  • mrbeancakes

    mrbeancakes said 7 years ago

    Love the article and her advice to sellers! Already went and changed my shop announcment : )

  • TimeEchoVintage

    TimeEchoVintage said 7 years ago

    LOVE THIS SELLER! <3

  • ThisTinder

    ThisTinder said 7 years ago

    What a lovely read...Kara, I love your approach to your life and your business. Thanks for some great tips. Wishing you continued success! -Kerry Jane

  • shaye

    shaye said 7 years ago

    Your article was truly inspiring. I can't draw a straight line with a pencil AND a ruler but there is something inside of my that makes me have to create stuff ! I love the idea of secret hiding places. I intend to heart your shop so that I can see the interesting ideas you come up with. Take care ! (I haven't been to Chicago in years but would love to see New Chinatown. I remember going to the old one with friends when I was in high school and I loved it !)

  • BagNoir

    BagNoir said 7 years ago

    Such wonderful work and a great interview. Best of luck and success Kara :)

  • traceygarciadesigns

    traceygarciadesigns said 7 years ago

    This is such a great interview, and I love your story and your shop! Fabulous!!

  • anticovalore

    anticovalore said 7 years ago

    wonderful work!

  • Prittyfy

    Prittyfy said 7 years ago

    Great story. Good Luck.

  • grimmandgrete

    grimmandgrete said 7 years ago

    Kudos, very cool idea, love the photos at the bottom of the books. Happy Holidays!!

  • VintagebyOLENSKA

    VintagebyOLENSKA said 7 years ago

    Ahh...Bora Bora, with the huts that have glass floors so you can watch the marine life below...my dream too. Wonderful book art you offer. Striking and precise work. *cheers*

  • juln

    juln said 7 years ago

    Great article, and I love the book safes! Congrats on being featured.

  • tantancharms

    tantancharms said 7 years ago

    Love your story and your work!

  • gilstrapdesigns

    gilstrapdesigns said 7 years ago

    I love your secret safebooks and thank you for the very useful and very inspiring information.

  • TheOldRedHen

    TheOldRedHen said 7 years ago

    So wonderfully written, such great advice. I adore this seller and her story. So many thanks for such great inspiration. ♥

  • Robynesque

    Robynesque said 7 years ago

    Great Article! Glad to see someone I recognize from the forums here!

  • moonflower20

    moonflower20 said 7 years ago

    What a beautiful story and a lovely interview! All the best to you in your future!

  • TashinaFalene

    TashinaFalene said 7 years ago

    Wonderful story! Congrats on the feature. :)

  • ShopTrellis

    ShopTrellis said 7 years ago

    Kara, you are an inspiration!! Congrats on getting featured and all the best to you and your family.

  • CraftsByBabz

    CraftsByBabz said 7 years ago

    I love your safebooks!! Congrats on the feature!!

  • Mommyrox

    Mommyrox said 7 years ago

    I don't usually read through these all the way, but your writing is a "grabber". Congrats on the feature and best of luck in your future endeavors!

  • SaraWen

    SaraWen said 7 years ago

    Grats my friend! :D

  • LifeStory

    LifeStory said 7 years ago

    Wonderful Story. <3

  • LilDoodlers

    LilDoodlers said 7 years ago

    Great article!

  • boubo

    boubo said 7 years ago

    Love that you created a "safe space" for a Nancy Drew fan...she was a fave of mine growing up too!

  • Baisimu

    Baisimu said 7 years ago

    I'm so glad to have come across this article! I have found the perfect gift for someone because of this :) I absolutely love reading and the idea of turning books into something so useful and close to the heart is truly an amazing feeling. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • RADAccessories

    RADAccessories said 7 years ago

    A very helpful and inspiring article for a ETSY newb! Thank you!!

  • voleurdebijoux

    voleurdebijoux said 7 years ago

    Wonderful feature! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful journey! Congrats! :)

  • edorman

    edorman said 7 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your journey as a person and as an artist. Your honesty is encouraging and your books are lovely!

  • artofsilk

    artofsilk said 7 years ago

    Lovely story, you are the first feature story I ever read from the beginning to the very last word. Continue success!!

  • ploverdesign

    ploverdesign said 7 years ago

    So neat! Love the way that you came to your art, very true to your experiences, nice...

  • elleestpetite

    elleestpetite said 7 years ago

    Homemade hollow books, pure genius.

  • hennyseashell

    hennyseashell said 7 years ago

    Very inspiring story! You have been through such a long journey. Happy for you :)Thanks for sharing!

  • PearlBrush

    PearlBrush said 7 years ago

    Like the Channukah coins hiding idea... Very practical!

  • PearlBrush

    PearlBrush said 7 years ago

    Like the idea of hiding the Channukah chocolate coins!

  • TheWhimsicalBlossom

    TheWhimsicalBlossom said 7 years ago

    Your books are such a great idea! Congratulations on the feature - it was very inspiring with some great tips. Thanks for sharing.

  • dazzlinglanna

    dazzlinglanna said 7 years ago

    I love your shop and your story is so inspiring..thanks for sharing :)

  • NatanyaElka

    NatanyaElka said 7 years ago

    "Additionally, I suggest staying hydrated at all times." Love it! Thanks so much for sharing the tip regarding the shop announcements!

  • metroretrovintage

    metroretrovintage said 7 years ago

    Very inspiring! Is that a picture of Hemingway? Much continued success!

  • TwinDreamCreations

    TwinDreamCreations said 7 years ago

    Love your story! Congratulations on being the featured seller.

  • LivingInspired

    LivingInspired said 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing a little more of your life with us! I have long admired your work.

  • JenSanCandles

    JenSanCandles said 7 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading your interview both as a fellow seller for the suggestions you made but also as a general novice to your type of craft. It was very nice to read about your background and reaching to the point where you could quit your day job as well as your inspiration for your hollow books. Much continued success!

  • PinkMoustache

    PinkMoustache said 7 years ago

    Loved reading your story! Great feature & love your shop! Cheers.

  • bunnycrave

    bunnycrave said 7 years ago

    Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.William Shakespeare Dream Big!

  • JulienDenoyer

    JulienDenoyer said 7 years ago

    Such a lovely story and I simply love the product! I remember trying to make one as a child, we all love secrets and secret hiding places...

  • EnglishShop

    EnglishShop said 7 years ago

    Something I never knew I needed ... Thanks :)

  • beatyboutique

    beatyboutique said 7 years ago

    I have seen these around Etsy and have always wondered about them. Great Idea and craftsmanship. Loves it!

  • BodamerStudio

    BodamerStudio said 7 years ago

    Congratulations on your featured story! Your hollow books are also beautiful! :)

  • RooRooDesigns

    RooRooDesigns said 7 years ago

    Very inspiring story!!!

  • bibliographica

    bibliographica said 7 years ago

    Wow, very thought provoking story. Your work is beautiful and this interview is very inspiring! Thank you for sharing such intricacies with us fellow Etsians! Keep making beautiful things... :)

  • BlissfullyRandom

    BlissfullyRandom said 7 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your journey!

  • lenidesigns

    lenidesigns said 7 years ago

    wow!!!

  • lenidesigns

    lenidesigns said 7 years ago

    wow!!!

  • byABPryor

    byABPryor said 7 years ago

    amazing story.... if only....

  • preciousdesigns4kids

    preciousdesigns4kids said 7 years ago

    What a beautiful inspiring story! Congrats to you!

  • FunksByRaloo

    FunksByRaloo said 7 years ago

    I loved this interview! And the shop is so unique and beautiful!

  • pommepommecouture

    pommepommecouture said 7 years ago

    Your beautiful story brought a big smile to my face. Love your books!

  • marquina

    marquina said 7 years ago

    Hi Kara! Thanks for this interview! I can relate to being shy (although, sometimes I'm not :-D) Thanks, also, for that keywords tip: Why to use relevant keywords in the 1st sentence of the Shop Announcement. I'm going to go figure out how to make that happen immediately, especially since I'm trying to sell out my inventory! First, though, I'm going to check out the hollow books in your shop. I love mystery stories and have always thought hollow books were a neat idea...

  • arsniccandy

    arsniccandy said 7 years ago

    Those are awesome!!!

  • BearyOrganics

    BearyOrganics said 7 years ago

    I absolutely love the Christopher Columbus one and the flask inside the 'Book of Virtues.' So clever and beautifully made! Bravo!

  • vtdesigns

    vtdesigns said 7 years ago

    You are a great writer as well as an awesome artist. I love your work and totally enjoyed reading your story. Good luck and Happy Holidays!

  • goldenstiletto

    goldenstiletto said 7 years ago

    I really enjoyed your story and tips! :) Best of luck and happy holidays.

  • karuski

    karuski said 7 years ago

    Just so beautiful. Congratulations and best of luck in the future too!

  • EraExpressions

    EraExpressions said 7 years ago

    I have seen these for sale in catalogues before. But yours are unique and special, Congrats on your success! :o)

  • EraExpressions

    EraExpressions said 7 years ago

    I have seen these for sale in catalogues before but yours are unique and special, Congrats on your success :o)

  • leatherExpressions

    leatherExpressions said 7 years ago

    What a great story, I enjoyed reading it. You have wonderful creative items. Best of luck to you.

  • paperdesigner

    paperdesigner said 7 years ago

    I love your shop and congrats!

  • crystalworld

    crystalworld said 7 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing, and for the tips.

  • 3BModLiving

    3BModLiving said 7 years ago

    Kara-I am a new store on ETSY and your story is inspriring. Thanks for the tips! Congrats on your success! Great books too!

  • Gladisis

    Gladisis said 7 years ago

    Hi Kara Great interview!!! I learned a lot from your it. Wishing you the very best. xoxo, Althea

  • kristinhorst

    kristinhorst said 7 years ago

    Go go go, girl! These are beautiful. You have a great story to tell, too! And, hey...what year did you graduate from SAIC??? I graduated in 2005. Congrats! :)

  • seastararts

    seastararts said 7 years ago

    BORA BORA!!!!

  • ScentfulNeeds

    ScentfulNeeds said 7 years ago

    Great and inspiring interview! Congratulations and good luck featured seller!

  • rubybeantoes

    rubybeantoes said 7 years ago

    What a cool idea for an Etsy shop, very vintage-ous. Thanks for bringing back this bit of nostalgia . . . loved your Nancy Drew one, really brings back great memories . . . congratulations on your outstanding sales !!!

  • giftworldz

    giftworldz said 7 years ago

    What a great product! Love hearing all the advise. thanks again...

  • OpusMuse

    OpusMuse said 7 years ago

    An interesting interview! I'm totally sold to this whole idea of having a secret book safe somewhere in the house! Such a unique craft, love it! Must get my hands on one soon...

  • annyschoo

    annyschoo said 7 years ago

    Loved to read your story. I love the part of how your childhood experience set the root of what you do now. thank you for sharing. Congrats!^^

  • ParisPhotographer

    ParisPhotographer said 7 years ago

    What a great story and you are a true inspiration.

  • FieldsOfVintage

    FieldsOfVintage said 7 years ago

    Interesting story, but I find it a mockery that you would capitalized on mutilating a sacred religious text as the Holy Bible that many followers hold dear. Since when is it fashionable to desecrate a spiritual Holy Bible to safeguard earthly possessions that one can not take with them in the afterlife? Why not then mutilate the Torah and the Koran?

  • newhopebeading

    newhopebeading said 7 years ago

    very cool

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 7 years ago

    Great idea, I like how you can hide things away inside hollow innocent looking books! Great to hear your story too you've come a long way!

  • LaughingMoonCreation

    LaughingMoonCreation said 7 years ago

    Congratulations. I love reading the featured artists stories;especially yours. Very iteresting and witty. Cool shop to boot . Well done.

  • sakizome

    sakizome said 7 years ago

    Wonderful charming and touching story. Loved this interview. All the best!

  • AleoDe

    AleoDe said 7 years ago

    what a good idea! ^_^

  • lillith

    lillith said 7 years ago

    love your work! thanks for sharing your story to inspire other artists. i'm also in the chicago area, so i especially love reading about local artists on etsy! good luck!

  • Silkartist

    Silkartist said 7 years ago

    Love the SafeBooks! Helped me with info on listing on Google - THANKS!

  • julessabjewelry

    julessabjewelry said 7 years ago

    I've always loved books, new and old, even though I have a reader, I'm still interested in the feel, texture and smell of old books. I'm gonna have to think of something new to hide in one so I can order one.

  • ChristinaRomeo

    ChristinaRomeo said 7 years ago

    Very interesting line of work....I love your story about being a little child introduced to art as a career at your friends house. I have a similar story from my childhood. Congrats to you!

  • readingsully2

    readingsully2 said 7 years ago

    This was such fun to read and you gave some great advice as well. Good luck and continued success. :)

  • SimplyUnwired

    SimplyUnwired said 7 years ago

    Kara, I loved reading your story. I love your sense of humor and your advice. Thank you for sharing. I love your books!

  • revolt70

    revolt70 said 7 years ago

    one day... I will purchase one of your item.awsome. 너무너무 이쁩니다.. 행복한 하루하루 되세요..!

  • EverybodyElse

    EverybodyElse said 7 years ago

    Love reading this article. Fun to hear about how you came to be doing this. And I think a friend of mine purchased several hollow books from you as gifts a while back, which were a big hit :)

  • Naftali

    Naftali said 7 years ago

    What a great interview, shop and story! I love your hollow books for that secret little something. I wish you continued success here on Etsy!

  • JewelsByJaz

    JewelsByJaz said 7 years ago

    Love your story, it's great to see you have found a passion that means something to you. I love your books, very cool. Been to Chicago, want to go back, what I wouldn't do for an Italian Beef sandwhich right about now! Hey when your ready to go to Bora Bora, convo me I am a travel agent. It's gorgeous, just sent a couple there on their honeymoon. Good luck in all you do!

  • TheHickoryTree

    TheHickoryTree said 7 years ago

    These are so cool. Everyone wants their own special hiding place. My oldest sister made a secret book when I was 5 and I thought it was a pretty neat hiding place to stash stuff and now that I'm older, I still do.

  • BossysFeltworks

    BossysFeltworks said 7 years ago

    reading your story was like finding a little treasure hidden inside the big book of etsy! Thank you for taking the time to write it so eloquently. Much luck to you and your husband.

  • busybusyfingers

    busybusyfingers said 7 years ago

    In the beginning your story is very sad. But it just gets more remarkable as you read on. Your books are so practical and you just want one. Can't wait to see more. Great success in what ever you do!!!!!

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 7 years ago

    Yes - continued success. Enjoy our Chicago winter ;)

  • RWinStillwater

    RWinStillwater said 7 years ago

    Congratulations on your "article", the success of your business and the best of luck with any and all future endeavors... We are proud of you Kara, keep up the good work... Judy & Dick

  • PaperPhine

    PaperPhine said 7 years ago

    What wonderful "books"! And thinking of it I could truly use a good place to hide my crocheting hooks (and still leaving them on the sofa table!)

  • snowingstars

    snowingstars said 7 years ago

    I always thought this was a neat idea for a secret space, and you have captured the neatness of it perfectly! i love your story and its awesome to know another chicago based artist is on here being awesome amidst all the cold and snow! congratulations and good luck to you! :)

  • MyBibleCompanion

    MyBibleCompanion said 7 years ago

    This was very inspiring!

  • TheBargainBabe

    TheBargainBabe said 7 years ago

    Clever products

  • forthebettys

    forthebettys said 7 years ago

    lovely product!!!!

  • NaturesArtMelbourne

    NaturesArtMelbourne said 7 years ago

    Lovely profile of an interesting creature. Thanks

  • Barbiola

    Barbiola said 7 years ago

    On my way to the forums as we speak...

  • WhatsernameJewelry

    WhatsernameJewelry said 7 years ago

    Great story. Congratulations, it seems you are living your dream.

  • earlybirdgraphics

    earlybirdgraphics said 7 years ago

    Great story! I love your hollow book idea. It might make a great present for my husband!

  • uncostumed

    uncostumed said 6 years ago

    I have always been fascinated by secret books. What a cool profile. I'm off to check out your shop . . .

  • overthemeadow

    overthemeadow said 6 years ago

    Congratulations on such a great idea! Love your books!

  • chikitik

    chikitik said 6 years ago

    Nice story, great product and very helpful advice. so inspiring!!!!! thanks.

  • sweetlittlefelt

    sweetlittlefelt said 6 years ago

    Beauty!

  • VintageCuller

    VintageCuller said 6 years ago

    Your story caught my attention as my grade school friends and I used to make these hollowed out books to hide our treasures from the unsuspecting boys! We actually cut them, a few pages at a time and ended up with blisters from the scissors. I love your more refined version/versions! Much success to you with your very cool business!

  • Kapriscli

    Kapriscli said 6 years ago

    inspiring story im definitely purchasing one of those Ive always wanted one as a matter of a fact the search for one of these books is how i found etsy in the first place!

  • maory

    maor torry said 4 years ago

    very very nice idea and nice product. wish u good luck with that. i wonder what can be the result with an old torah scroll. could be very interesting

  • PreciousMetalsStudio

    Laura Rose from PreciousMetalsStudio said 3 years ago

    Thank you so much for what you wrote! I had no idea about the Shop Announcement and how it relates to Google Search! Thank you!!!!

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