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Featured Shop: Susabellas

Jun 19, 2013

by Susan Shapiro

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Hi! My name is Susan Shapiro, and I make personalized gifts and accessories for my shop, Susabellas. I live in Kirkland, Washington, with my husband Mark, our three-year-old son Ben, and our dog Pepper.

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I went to college at the Savannah College of Art and Design and owned a graphic and web-design business for years, which I closed shortly after my son was born. When I began to miss having a creative outlet, my mother-in-law encouraged me to take a pottery class (thanks Margaret!). I have always loved art and being an entrepreneur, so this business was a great way to combine both interests.

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My process starts with a big block of earthenware clay. I smooth it out with my slab roller, and mold the pieces. Next, I hand-stamp them and set them out to dry, which can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the size. When they are dry enough, I do a bisque firing and glaze each piece before firing them one last time.

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The majority of my orders are custom pieces, and I love when a customer asks me if I am able to do something different than what I have in my shop. It’s fun to see their ideas come to life, and I really appreciate it when a customer takes time to leave feedback or send me an email to let me know how much they liked their piece. I put love and care into everything I create, and I treat each piece as though I were sending it to my own family and friends.

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When I got married I was surprised by all items that could never be used again, and I wanted to do something to change that. Many of my items are wedding or milestone related, so I try to create heirloom-quality pieces that can be passed down or re-used. I also like to give back when I can – I donate a dollar from every platter sale to Feeding America, which helps provide food to low-income families. I think these things set my business apart and help my customers remember Susabellas.

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Etsy is such an amazing and diverse marketplace, and it has helped my business grow tremendously. Because of Etsy I have had customers in Japan, Australia, and even Dubai! I love interacting with customers and helping them with gift and accessory ideas. Because of Etsy, I am able to employ people to help with my business. My twin brother Steve works with me most days; he’s my right-hand-man. I also have a great friend who comes every Thursday to help me ship items, and I just hired a new packaging person to help on the other days.

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Running my creative business has made me more organized and has taught me how to manage my time more efficiently. I work much harder and longer hours than I ever have before, but it is very rewarding. I’ve always had some type of creative business, but I’ve learned the most from this one.

Unity sand photo by Eric Schofhauser, all others by Susabellas.

Featured Shop Archive

SHIPS FAST - Mother of the Groom Gift - Heart Box - Thank You for Raising the Man of My Dreams - Keepsake Box - With Gift Box
SHIPS FAST - Mother of the Groom Gift - Heart Box - Thank You for Raising the Man of My Dreams - Keepsake Box - With Gift Box
Susabellas
$35.99 USD
Wedding Gift, Engagement Gift or Signature Guestbook Platter - Large Personalized Platter - Gift boxed
Wedding Gift, Engagement Gift or Signature Guestbook Platter - Large Personalized Platter - Gift boxed
Susabellas
$135.00 USD
Unique Mother of the Bride Gift - Keepsake Box - All That I Am I Owe To My Mother - Gift Boxed
Unique Mother of the Bride Gift - Keepsake Box - All That I Am I Owe To My Mother - Gift Boxed
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$35.99 USD
Personalized Wedding Gift - Large Beverage Tub with First Names and Date  in Gold
Personalized Wedding Gift - Large Beverage Tub with First Names and Date in Gold
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$58.99 USD
Personalized Dog Christmas Ornament with Name - Gift Boxed
Personalized Dog Christmas Ornament with Name - Gift Boxed
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$19.95 USD
Polar Bear - Personalized Baby's First Christmas Ornament, Gift Boxed
Polar Bear - Personalized Baby's First Christmas Ornament, Gift Boxed
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$36.00 USD
Rocking Horse - Personalized Baby's First Christmas Ornament, Gift Boxed
Rocking Horse - Personalized Baby's First Christmas Ornament, Gift Boxed
Susabellas
$36.00 USD
Engagement Ornament - Engagement Gift or Christmas Gift - With Names and Date - Gift Boxed
Engagement Ornament - Engagement Gift or Christmas Gift - With Names and Date - Gift Boxed
Susabellas
$34.00 USD
100% of Proceeds donated to Susan G Komen - STRENGTH - Breast Cancer Awareness Gift - Keepsake Box
100% of Proceeds donated to Susan G Komen - STRENGTH - Breast Cancer Awareness Gift - Keepsake Box
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$35.99 USD
Unique Mother of the Groom Gift - Thank You For Raising the Man of My Dreams - Square Keepsake Box -  With Gift Box
Unique Mother of the Groom Gift - Thank You For Raising the Man of My Dreams - Square Keepsake Box - With Gift Box
Susabellas
$35.99 USD
100% of the Proceeds Will Be Donated to Susan G Komen Foundation - Breast Cancer Awareness HOPE Ornament - Gift Boxed and Ready to Give
100% of the Proceeds Will Be Donated to Susan G Komen Foundation - Breast Cancer Awareness HOPE Ornament - Gift Boxed and Ready to Give
Susabellas
$18.95 USD
SHIPS FAST - Valentine's Day Gift - I Love You More Coffee Mug
SHIPS FAST - Valentine's Day Gift - I Love You More Coffee Mug
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$18.99 USD
Personalized Baby's First Christmas Ornament, Gift Boxed
Personalized Baby's First Christmas Ornament, Gift Boxed
Susabellas
$32.00 USD
Personalized Wedding Gift - Large Beverage Tub
Personalized Wedding Gift - Large Beverage Tub
Susabellas
$58.99 USD
SHIPS FAST - Wedding Gift for Parents - Everything I am, You helped Me to Be - Coffee Mug
SHIPS FAST - Wedding Gift for Parents - Everything I am, You helped Me to Be - Coffee Mug
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$18.99 USD
Eat, Drink and Be Married - Champagne Bucket - Wedding Gift
Eat, Drink and Be Married - Champagne Bucket - Wedding Gift
Susabellas
$36.99 USD
Mother's Day Gift for a Grandmother - SHIPS FAST - Round Keepsake Box - Gift Boxed and Ready to Give
Mother's Day Gift for a Grandmother - SHIPS FAST - Round Keepsake Box - Gift Boxed and Ready to Give
Susabellas
$34.99 USD
SHIPS FAST - Unique Friendship Gift - Friendship Isn't a Big Thing It's a Million Little Things -Square Vase - With Gift Box
SHIPS FAST - Unique Friendship Gift - Friendship Isn't a Big Thing It's a Million Little Things -Square Vase - With Gift Box
Susabellas
$26.95 USD
Personalized Heart Wedding Sign - to carry down the aisle and use as photo prop
Personalized Heart Wedding Sign - to carry down the aisle and use as photo prop
Susabellas
$48.95 USD
Personalized Wedding Gift - Large Champagne Tub - Eat Drink and Be Married in Silver
Personalized Wedding Gift - Large Champagne Tub - Eat Drink and Be Married in Silver
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$58.99 USD
Personalized Large Mr. and Mrs. Wedding Sign Sets with Last Name and Wedding Date - to Hang on Chair and Use as Photo Prop
Personalized Large Mr. and Mrs. Wedding Sign Sets with Last Name and Wedding Date - to Hang on Chair and Use as Photo Prop
Susabellas
$68.00 USD
Personalized Cards Sign for Wedding Card Box - Gift Wrapped
Personalized Cards Sign for Wedding Card Box - Gift Wrapped
Susabellas
$28.95 USD
Unique Mother of the Bride Gift - Square Keepsake Box - As Long as I'm Living Your Baby I'll Be - With Gift Box
Unique Mother of the Bride Gift - Square Keepsake Box - As Long as I'm Living Your Baby I'll Be - With Gift Box
Susabellas
$35.99 USD
Personalized Ring Bearer Heart Bowl with Silver Monogram - Gift Packaged & Ready to Give
Personalized Ring Bearer Heart Bowl with Silver Monogram - Gift Packaged & Ready to Give
Susabellas
$38.00 USD
Wedding Gift, Engagement Gift or Signature Guestbook Platter - Personalized with Names - Gift boxed
Wedding Gift, Engagement Gift or Signature Guestbook Platter - Personalized with Names - Gift boxed
Susabellas
$95.00 USD
Unique Mother of the Bride Gift - MOM Square Keepsake Box - With Gift Box
Unique Mother of the Bride Gift - MOM Square Keepsake Box - With Gift Box
Susabellas
$35.99 USD
Unique Mother of the Bride Gift or Birthday Gift -  SHIPS FAST - Keepsake Box - Thank you for raising the woman of my dreams - With Gift Box
Unique Mother of the Bride Gift or Birthday Gift - SHIPS FAST - Keepsake Box - Thank you for raising the woman of my dreams - With Gift Box
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$35.99 USD
Unique Flower Girl Gift - Square Keepsake Box - With Gift Box
Unique Flower Girl Gift - Square Keepsake Box - With Gift Box
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$35.99 USD
Unique Mother of the Bride Gift - Keepsake Box with Personalized Necklace - All That I Am I Owe To My Mother - Gift Boxed
Unique Mother of the Bride Gift - Keepsake Box with Personalized Necklace - All That I Am I Owe To My Mother - Gift Boxed
Susabellas
$54.99 USD
Personalized Plate with Wedding Invitation - Wedding Gift - Gift Boxed
Personalized Plate with Wedding Invitation - Wedding Gift - Gift Boxed
Susabellas
$69.95 USD
Baptism Gift - Large Personalized Heart Bowl with Heart Stamp  - With Gift Box
Baptism Gift - Large Personalized Heart Bowl with Heart Stamp - With Gift Box
Susabellas
$44.00 USD
Personalized Wedding Gift - Champagne Bucket
Personalized Wedding Gift - Champagne Bucket
Susabellas
$36.99 USD
Personalized Frame - Engagement Gift, Wedding Gift, Anniversary Gift or Housewarming Gift  - Gift Boxed & Ready to Give
Personalized Frame - Engagement Gift, Wedding Gift, Anniversary Gift or Housewarming Gift - Gift Boxed & Ready to Give
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$52.00 USD
PERSONALIZED Modern Circle Wedding Cake Topper with Gold Initials and Wedding Date
PERSONALIZED Modern Circle Wedding Cake Topper with Gold Initials and Wedding Date
Susabellas
$34.99 USD
Wedding Gift, Engagement Gift or Signature Guestbook Platter - Rectangular Personalized Platter - Gift Boxed
Wedding Gift, Engagement Gift or Signature Guestbook Platter - Rectangular Personalized Platter - Gift Boxed
Susabellas
$79.00 USD
I Do Me Too Birds - Wedding Cake Toppers - small size
I Do Me Too Birds - Wedding Cake Toppers - small size
Susabellas
$27.99 USD
SHIPS FAST - Unique Mother of the Groom Gift or Birthday Gift - Square Keepsake Box - With Gift Box
SHIPS FAST - Unique Mother of the Groom Gift or Birthday Gift - Square Keepsake Box - With Gift Box
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$35.99 USD
Aunt Gift - Square Keepsake Box - Only an aunt can give hugs like a mother keep secrets like a sister and share love like a friend -Gift Box
Aunt Gift - Square Keepsake Box - Only an aunt can give hugs like a mother keep secrets like a sister and share love like a friend -Gift Box
Susabellas
$35.99 USD
PERSONALIZED Unity Sand Ceremony Set - Gift Boxed
PERSONALIZED Unity Sand Ceremony Set - Gift Boxed
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$59.99 USD
50th Anniversary Gift - Large Rectangular Platter or Guest Book Alternative - Gift boxed
50th Anniversary Gift - Large Rectangular Platter or Guest Book Alternative - Gift boxed
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$135.00 USD
PERSONALIZED Heart Wedding Cake Topper with Names and Date and We Do Birds
PERSONALIZED Heart Wedding Cake Topper with Names and Date and We Do Birds
Susabellas
$38.99 USD
Maid of Honor Gift or Matron of Honor Gift - Personalized Miniature Platter
Maid of Honor Gift or Matron of Honor Gift - Personalized Miniature Platter
Susabellas
$48.00 USD
Personalized Baptism Gift or First Communion Gift - With Irish Blessing - Round Keepsake Box - With Gift Box
Personalized Baptism Gift or First Communion Gift - With Irish Blessing - Round Keepsake Box - With Gift Box
Susabellas
$35.99 USD
Personalized Modern Bank - Baptism Gift, Baby Gift or First Communion Gift - With Gift Box
Personalized Modern Bank - Baptism Gift, Baby Gift or First Communion Gift - With Gift Box
Susabellas
$29.95 USD
Large Gold The Bride & The Groom Wedding Sign Set to Hang on Chair and Use as Photo Prop
Large Gold The Bride & The Groom Wedding Sign Set to Hang on Chair and Use as Photo Prop
Susabellas
$58.00 USD
Unique Cousin Gift - Square Keepsake Box - Cousin to cousin we'll always be, a couple of nuts from the same family tree - With Gift Box
Unique Cousin Gift - Square Keepsake Box - Cousin to cousin we'll always be, a couple of nuts from the same family tree - With Gift Box
Susabellas
$35.99 USD
Wedding Gift, Engagement Gift or Signature Guestbook Platter  - He Asked She Said Yes - Personalized with Names and Date - Gift boxed
Wedding Gift, Engagement Gift or Signature Guestbook Platter - He Asked She Said Yes - Personalized with Names and Date - Gift boxed
Susabellas
$135.00 USD
Maid of Honor Gift or Bridesmaid Gift - Personalized Heart Bowl - Gift Boxed and Ready to Give
Maid of Honor Gift or Bridesmaid Gift - Personalized Heart Bowl - Gift Boxed and Ready to Give
Susabellas
$36.00 USD
Wedding Gift, Bridal Shower Gift or Housewarming Gift - Personalized Platter - Gift Boxed & Ready To Give
Wedding Gift, Bridal Shower Gift or Housewarming Gift - Personalized Platter - Gift Boxed & Ready To Give
Susabellas
$72.00 USD
Personalized Wedding Gift - Large Rectangular Zinc Planter with Name and Wedding Date
Personalized Wedding Gift - Large Rectangular Zinc Planter with Name and Wedding Date
Susabellas
$48.99 USD
Personalized Our First Christmas Ornament with last name and year, Gift Boxed
Personalized Our First Christmas Ornament with last name and year, Gift Boxed
Susabellas
$32.00 USD
Personalized Christmas Ornament - Our First or Our New Home 2016 - Gift Boxed and Ready to Give
Personalized Christmas Ornament - Our First or Our New Home 2016 - Gift Boxed and Ready to Give
Susabellas
$28.00 USD
Personalized Cuff Links - Unique Father of the Bride Gift or Groomsmen Gift - Initals in Silver or Gold - Gift Boxed and Ready to Give
Personalized Cuff Links - Unique Father of the Bride Gift or Groomsmen Gift - Initals in Silver or Gold - Gift Boxed and Ready to Give
Susabellas
$18.99 USD
Funny Dad Gift - Jumbo Coffee Mug - Dad, I Just Want To Say Congratulations... I Turned Out Perfectly
Funny Dad Gift - Jumbo Coffee Mug - Dad, I Just Want To Say Congratulations... I Turned Out Perfectly
Susabellas
$20.95 USD
Flower Girl Bucket - Large size - Personalized - Antique grey color
Flower Girl Bucket - Large size - Personalized - Antique grey color
Susabellas
$39.99 USD
Unique Engagement Gift - Personalized Heart Bowl - Gift Packaged
Unique Engagement Gift - Personalized Heart Bowl - Gift Packaged
Susabellas
$36.00 USD
Personalized Dog Bowl -  Large Size - Ceramic
Personalized Dog Bowl - Large Size - Ceramic
Susabellas
$39.95 USD
Unique Father of the Groom Gift - Round Keepsake Box - Today a Groom, Tomorrow a Husband, Forever Your Son - With Gift Box
Unique Father of the Groom Gift - Round Keepsake Box - Today a Groom, Tomorrow a Husband, Forever Your Son - With Gift Box
Susabellas
$35.99 USD
PERSONALIZED Unity Candle Wedding Ceremony Set with Candle Holders and Plate - in Gold - Gift Boxed
PERSONALIZED Unity Candle Wedding Ceremony Set with Candle Holders and Plate - in Gold - Gift Boxed
Susabellas
$84.99 USD
Personalized Wedding Gift with Last Name and Date in Silver - Large Champagne Tub
Personalized Wedding Gift with Last Name and Date in Silver - Large Champagne Tub
Susabellas
$58.99 USD

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