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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

Personalized Dog Bowl, Custom Dog Bowl, Dog Gift, Puppy Gift -  Small/Medium Size - Ceramic
Personalized Dog Bowl, Custom Dog Bowl, Dog Gift, Puppy Gift - Small/Medium Size - Ceramic
Susabellas
$45.95 USD
Baptism Gift, Confirmation Gift, First Communion Gift, Godchild Gift - Round Keepsake Box w/ Cross Necklace, Birthstone, with Irish Blessing
Baptism Gift, Confirmation Gift, First Communion Gift, Godchild Gift - Round Keepsake Box w/ Cross Necklace, Birthstone, with Irish Blessing
Susabellas
$72.17 USD
Peridot Necklace, August Birthstone Necklace, Sterling Silver or 18K Gold, Personalized Round Necklace, Bridesmaid Gift, Mom Necklace
Peridot Necklace, August Birthstone Necklace, Sterling Silver or 18K Gold, Personalized Round Necklace, Bridesmaid Gift, Mom Necklace
Susabellas
$42.21 USD
Sympathy Gift, Sympathy Heart Candle, Sympathy Votive - There are those who continue to light up the world long after they have gone
Sympathy Gift, Sympathy Heart Candle, Sympathy Votive - There are those who continue to light up the world long after they have gone
Susabellas
$44.95 USD
Personalized Ruby Necklace, Bridesmaid Necklace, July Birthstone Necklace, Custom Initial Necklace, Birthday Gift for Her, Ruby Jewelry
Personalized Ruby Necklace, Bridesmaid Necklace, July Birthstone Necklace, Custom Initial Necklace, Birthday Gift for Her, Ruby Jewelry
Susabellas
$27.77 USD
Mother's Day Gift, Pie Plate with Handwritten Recipe, Personalized Pie Dish with Recipe, Mom Gift, Mother-in-law Gift, Mom Birthday Gift
Mother's Day Gift, Pie Plate with Handwritten Recipe, Personalized Pie Dish with Recipe, Mom Gift, Mother-in-law Gift, Mom Birthday Gift
Susabellas
$99.95 USD
June Birthstone Necklace, Moonstone Necklace, Bridesmaid Gift, Mom Birthstone Necklace, Initial Necklace, Mom Gift, Grandma Necklace
June Birthstone Necklace, Moonstone Necklace, Bridesmaid Gift, Mom Birthstone Necklace, Initial Necklace, Mom Gift, Grandma Necklace
Susabellas
$38.22 USD
Father's Day Gift, Dad Birthday Gift, Father's Day Mug, Funny Dad Gift, Dad Gift Idea - Jumbo Coffee Mug - If Dad Can’t Fix It No One Can
Father's Day Gift, Dad Birthday Gift, Father's Day Mug, Funny Dad Gift, Dad Gift Idea - Jumbo Coffee Mug - If Dad Can’t Fix It No One Can
Susabellas
$32.90 USD
Funny Dad Gift, Dad Birthday Gift, Dad Gift Idea - Jumbo Coffee Mug - Dad, I Just Want To Say Congratulations... I Turned Out Perfectly
Funny Dad Gift, Dad Birthday Gift, Dad Gift Idea - Jumbo Coffee Mug - Dad, I Just Want To Say Congratulations... I Turned Out Perfectly
Susabellas
$29.95 USD
Father's Day Gift, Recipe Plate, Dad Gift, Dad Birthday Gift - Personalized Plate with Family Recipe
Father's Day Gift, Recipe Plate, Dad Gift, Dad Birthday Gift - Personalized Plate with Family Recipe
Susabellas
$79.95 USD
Father's Day Gift, Dad Birthday Gift, Dad Gift Ideas, Dad Gifts, Dad Present - My Greatest Blessings Call Me Dad - Square Keepsake Box
Father's Day Gift, Dad Birthday Gift, Dad Gift Ideas, Dad Gifts, Dad Present - My Greatest Blessings Call Me Dad - Square Keepsake Box
Susabellas
$52.17 USD
Personalized Aquamarine Necklace, Bridesmaid Necklace, March Birthstone Necklace, Custom Initial Necklace, Gift for Her, Aquamarine Jewelry
Personalized Aquamarine Necklace, Bridesmaid Necklace, March Birthstone Necklace, Custom Initial Necklace, Gift for Her, Aquamarine Jewelry
Susabellas
$27.77 USD
Emerald Necklace, May Birthstone Necklace, 18K Gold or Sterling Silver, Gift for Wife, Personalized Round Necklace, Bridesmaid, Mom Gift
Emerald Necklace, May Birthstone Necklace, 18K Gold or Sterling Silver, Gift for Wife, Personalized Round Necklace, Bridesmaid, Mom Gift
Susabellas
$42.21 USD
April Birthstone Necklace, Personalized Diamond Necklace, April Birthday Gift, Bridesmaid Necklace, Custom Initial Necklace, Gift for Her
April Birthstone Necklace, Personalized Diamond Necklace, April Birthday Gift, Bridesmaid Necklace, Custom Initial Necklace, Gift for Her
Susabellas
$27.77 USD
Amethyst Necklace, February Birthstone Necklace, Bridesmaid Gift, Mom Birthstone Necklace, Initial Necklace, Mom Gift, Grandma Necklace
Amethyst Necklace, February Birthstone Necklace, Bridesmaid Gift, Mom Birthstone Necklace, Initial Necklace, Mom Gift, Grandma Necklace
Susabellas
$38.22 USD
Envelope Locket Necklace, Letter Locket, Gift for Her, Gift for Mom, Mom Necklace, Gold Locket
Envelope Locket Necklace, Letter Locket, Gift for Her, Gift for Mom, Mom Necklace, Gold Locket
Susabellas
$27.77 USD
Sailboat Box - Baptism Gift, Baby Gift or First Communion Gift - Personalized Gift
Sailboat Box - Baptism Gift, Baby Gift or First Communion Gift - Personalized Gift
Susabellas
$54.39 USD
Personalized Dog Christmas Ornament w/ Name, Dog Ornament, Dog Bone Ornament, Christmas Pet Ornament, Holiday Gift for Dog Lovers, Dog Gift
Personalized Dog Christmas Ornament w/ Name, Dog Ornament, Dog Bone Ornament, Christmas Pet Ornament, Holiday Gift for Dog Lovers, Dog Gift
Susabellas
$19.95 USD
Funny Father's Day Gift - Jumbo Coffee Mug - I Love How We Don’t Have To Say Out Loud That I’m Your Favorite Child.
Funny Father's Day Gift - Jumbo Coffee Mug - I Love How We Don’t Have To Say Out Loud That I’m Your Favorite Child.
Susabellas
$29.95 USD
Personalized Sapphire Necklace, Bridesmaid Necklace, September Birthstone Necklace, Custom Initial Necklace, Gift for Her, Sapphire Jewelry
Personalized Sapphire Necklace, Bridesmaid Necklace, September Birthstone Necklace, Custom Initial Necklace, Gift for Her, Sapphire Jewelry
Susabellas
$27.77 USD
Personalized Peridot Necklace, August Birthstone Necklace, Bridesmaid Necklace, Custom Initial Necklace, Gift for Her, Peridot Jewelry
Personalized Peridot Necklace, August Birthstone Necklace, Bridesmaid Necklace, Custom Initial Necklace, Gift for Her, Peridot Jewelry
Susabellas
$27.77 USD
Personalized Christmas Ornament - Our First Home 2021, Our New Home 2021 or Welcome Home 2021 - Christmas Gift for New Homeowners
Personalized Christmas Ornament - Our First Home 2021, Our New Home 2021 or Welcome Home 2021 - Christmas Gift for New Homeowners
Susabellas
$37.95 USD
Pink Opal Necklace, October Birthstone Necklace, Bridesmaid Gift, Mom Birthstone Necklace, Initial Necklace, Mom Gift, Grandma Necklace
Pink Opal Necklace, October Birthstone Necklace, Bridesmaid Gift, Mom Birthstone Necklace, Initial Necklace, Mom Gift, Grandma Necklace
Susabellas
$38.22 USD
Mother's Day Gift - Lilac Stone Necklace, Mom Gift for Her, Jewelry Gift for Mother's Day, February Birthstone Necklace, Custom Jewelry
Mother's Day Gift - Lilac Stone Necklace, Mom Gift for Her, Jewelry Gift for Mother's Day, February Birthstone Necklace, Custom Jewelry
Susabellas
$27.77 USD
Polar Bear - Personalized Baby's First Christmas Ornament - With Name and Date - Christmas Gift or Baby Gift, Custom Ornament
Polar Bear - Personalized Baby's First Christmas Ornament - With Name and Date - Christmas Gift or Baby Gift, Custom Ornament
Susabellas
$39.95 USD
Mother of the Groom Gift, Mother in Law Gift, Mom Gift - SHIPS FAST - Heart Box- Thank You for Raising the Man of My Dreams - Keepsake Box
Mother of the Groom Gift, Mother in Law Gift, Mom Gift - SHIPS FAST - Heart Box- Thank You for Raising the Man of My Dreams - Keepsake Box
Susabellas
$52.17 USD
Personalized Baptism Gift, First Communion Gift, Confirmation Gift, Religious Gift - Square Keepsake Box
Personalized Baptism Gift, First Communion Gift, Confirmation Gift, Religious Gift - Square Keepsake Box
Susabellas
$52.17 USD
Sympathy Gift, Sympathy Candle, Sympathy Votive, Sympathy Vase, There are those who continue to light up the world long after they have gone
Sympathy Gift, Sympathy Candle, Sympathy Votive, Sympathy Vase, There are those who continue to light up the world long after they have gone
Susabellas
$44.95 USD
Dog Sympathy Gift, Pet Sympathy Gift, Pet Memorial Gift, Loss of Pet Gift  - Always in our Hearts - With Pet's Name - Heart Shaped Bowl
Dog Sympathy Gift, Pet Sympathy Gift, Pet Memorial Gift, Loss of Pet Gift - Always in our Hearts - With Pet's Name - Heart Shaped Bowl
Susabellas
$34.95 USD
Personalized Dog Bowl, Dog Dish, Dog Bowl with Name, Custom Dog Bowl, Dog Gift, Puppy Gift, Pet Gift  -  Small/Medium Size - Ceramic
Personalized Dog Bowl, Dog Dish, Dog Bowl with Name, Custom Dog Bowl, Dog Gift, Puppy Gift, Pet Gift - Small/Medium Size - Ceramic
Susabellas
$45.95 USD
50th Anniversary Gift, Golden Anniversary Gift, 50th Anniversary Ornament, Anniversary Gift, 50th Wedding Anniversary - With Names & Date
50th Anniversary Gift, Golden Anniversary Gift, 50th Anniversary Ornament, Anniversary Gift, 50th Wedding Anniversary - With Names & Date
Susabellas
$37.95 USD
Baptism Gift,  Christening Gift, Confirmation Gift, First Communion Gift, Godchild Gift -Square Keepsake Box w/ Cross Necklace
Baptism Gift, Christening Gift, Confirmation Gift, First Communion Gift, Godchild Gift -Square Keepsake Box w/ Cross Necklace
Susabellas
$72.17 USD
Wedding Gift - Personalized Wine Bucket, Champagne Bucket, Beverage Tub with Monogram
Wedding Gift - Personalized Wine Bucket, Champagne Bucket, Beverage Tub with Monogram
Susabellas
$82.99 USD
Graduation Jewelry for Her, Personalized Aquamarine Necklace, March Birthstone Graduate Necklace, Class of 2021 Graduation Gift
Graduation Jewelry for Her, Personalized Aquamarine Necklace, March Birthstone Graduate Necklace, Class of 2021 Graduation Gift
Susabellas
$27.77 USD
Personalized Baptism Gift, First Communion Gift or Confirmation Gift - Cross Keepsake Box
Personalized Baptism Gift, First Communion Gift or Confirmation Gift - Cross Keepsake Box
Susabellas
$52.17 USD
Ruby earrings, July Birthstone Gift, July Birthstone earrings, Bridesmaid earrings, July Birthday Gift for Her, Ruby Tear Drop Earrings
Ruby earrings, July Birthstone Gift, July Birthstone earrings, Bridesmaid earrings, July Birthday Gift for Her, Ruby Tear Drop Earrings
Susabellas
$29.99 USD
Sympathy Gift, In Memory Gift,  Those We Love Don’t Go Away, They Walk Beside Us Every Day
Sympathy Gift, In Memory Gift, Those We Love Don’t Go Away, They Walk Beside Us Every Day
Susabellas
$32.99 USD
Baptism Gift, First Communion Gift, Confirmation Gift, Dedication Gift, Christening Gift, Irish Blessing Gift, Round Keepsake Box
Baptism Gift, First Communion Gift, Confirmation Gift, Dedication Gift, Christening Gift, Irish Blessing Gift, Round Keepsake Box
Susabellas
$52.17 USD
Godparent Gift, Godparent Present, Religious Gift - Personalized Miniature Platter - with Cross
Godparent Gift, Godparent Present, Religious Gift - Personalized Miniature Platter - with Cross
Susabellas
$56.95 USD
Peridot Necklace, August Birthstone Necklace, Sterling Silver or 18K Gold, Personalized Necklace, Bridesmaid Gift, Mom Necklace
Peridot Necklace, August Birthstone Necklace, Sterling Silver or 18K Gold, Personalized Necklace, Bridesmaid Gift, Mom Necklace
Susabellas
$47.21 USD
Personalized Baptism Gift, First Communion Gift or Confirmation Gift - Heart Keepsake Box
Personalized Baptism Gift, First Communion Gift or Confirmation Gift - Heart Keepsake Box
Susabellas
$52.17 USD
Unique Parent Wedding Gift -  Set of Large Personalized Wedding Platters
Unique Parent Wedding Gift - Set of Large Personalized Wedding Platters
Susabellas
$299.95 USD
Dainty Blue Topaz Necklace, December Birthstone Necklace, Genuine Semi Precious Blue Topaz Stone, Wife Gift, Bridesmaid Gift, Mom Gift
Dainty Blue Topaz Necklace, December Birthstone Necklace, Genuine Semi Precious Blue Topaz Stone, Wife Gift, Bridesmaid Gift, Mom Gift
Susabellas
$35.00 USD
Large Personalized Fire Hydrant Dog Treat Jar, Dog Gift, Puppy Gift, Dog Lover Gift, Treat Jar with Bone Tile and Name
Large Personalized Fire Hydrant Dog Treat Jar, Dog Gift, Puppy Gift, Dog Lover Gift, Treat Jar with Bone Tile and Name
Susabellas
$69.95 USD
Confirmation Gift, First Communion Gift, Baptism Gift, Godchild Gift - Round Keepsake Box w/ Cross Necklace - Script Font - Irish Blessing
Confirmation Gift, First Communion Gift, Baptism Gift, Godchild Gift - Round Keepsake Box w/ Cross Necklace - Script Font - Irish Blessing
Susabellas
$72.17 USD
Amethyst Earrings, February Birthstone Earrings, Birthday Earrings, Sterling Silver or 14K Gold Fill, Gift for Wife, Bridesmaid Gift
Amethyst Earrings, February Birthstone Earrings, Birthday Earrings, Sterling Silver or 14K Gold Fill, Gift for Wife, Bridesmaid Gift
Susabellas
$41.77 USD
Mother-in-law Christmas Gift, Mom Birthday Gift - SHIPS FAST - Round Keepsake Box - Thank you for raising the man of my dreams
Mother-in-law Christmas Gift, Mom Birthday Gift - SHIPS FAST - Round Keepsake Box - Thank you for raising the man of my dreams
Susabellas
$52.17 USD
50th Anniversary Gift or Signature Guestbook Platter - Rectangular Personalized Platter
50th Anniversary Gift or Signature Guestbook Platter - Rectangular Personalized Platter
Susabellas
$99.95 USD
Aquamarine Earrings, March Birthstone Earrings, Birthday Earrings, Sterling Silver or 14K Gold Fill, Gift for Wife, Bridesmaid Gift
Aquamarine Earrings, March Birthstone Earrings, Birthday Earrings, Sterling Silver or 14K Gold Fill, Gift for Wife, Bridesmaid Gift
Susabellas
$41.77 USD
I Do Me Too - Bird Wedding Cake Toppers - Gold, Silver or Black
I Do Me Too - Bird Wedding Cake Toppers - Gold, Silver or Black
Susabellas
$36.99 USD
Baptism Gift, Baptismal Gift - Personalized Small Heart Bowl with Name and Cross
Baptism Gift, Baptismal Gift - Personalized Small Heart Bowl with Name and Cross
Susabellas
$43.95 USD
Personalized Baptism Gift, First Communion Gift, Confirmation Gift, Godchild Gift, Goddaughter Gift -With Irish Blessing -Heart Keepsake Box
Personalized Baptism Gift, First Communion Gift, Confirmation Gift, Godchild Gift, Goddaughter Gift -With Irish Blessing -Heart Keepsake Box
Susabellas
$52.17 USD
Ruby Threader Drop earrings, Dainty July Birthstone earrings, Ruby Drop earrings, Bridesmaid earrings, July Birthday Gift
Ruby Threader Drop earrings, Dainty July Birthstone earrings, Ruby Drop earrings, Bridesmaid earrings, July Birthday Gift
Susabellas
$44.39 USD
Personalized Bar Mitzvah Gift, Bat Mitzvah Gift, Jewish Gift, Jewish Present, Mazel Tov, Hebrew Gift  - Round Keepsake Box
Personalized Bar Mitzvah Gift, Bat Mitzvah Gift, Jewish Gift, Jewish Present, Mazel Tov, Hebrew Gift - Round Keepsake Box
Susabellas
$52.17 USD
Baptism Gift, Baptismal Gift, Personalized Baptism Gift  - Large Personalized Heart Bowl
Baptism Gift, Baptismal Gift, Personalized Baptism Gift - Large Personalized Heart Bowl
Susabellas
$52.99 USD
Matron of Honor Gift, Maid of Honor Gift, Bridesmaid Gift, Bridal Party Gift, Flower Girl Gift, Wedding Party Gift -Deep Square Keepsake Box
Matron of Honor Gift, Maid of Honor Gift, Bridesmaid Gift, Bridal Party Gift, Flower Girl Gift, Wedding Party Gift -Deep Square Keepsake Box
Susabellas
$52.17 USD
Personalized Baptism Gift, First Communion Gift or Confirmation Gift - Heart Keepsake Box - With Script Font
Personalized Baptism Gift, First Communion Gift or Confirmation Gift - Heart Keepsake Box - With Script Font
Susabellas
$52.17 USD
March Birth Flower Necklace, Birthstone Stone Necklace,Daffodil Birth Flower Necklace, Mom Gift, Personalized Necklace, Push Present
March Birth Flower Necklace, Birthstone Stone Necklace,Daffodil Birth Flower Necklace, Mom Gift, Personalized Necklace, Push Present
Susabellas
$27.77 USD
Wedding Cake Topper - PERSONALIZED and Modern Circle with Initials and Wedding Date - Available in Different Colors
Wedding Cake Topper - PERSONALIZED and Modern Circle with Initials and Wedding Date - Available in Different Colors
Susabellas
$42.95 USD
March Birthstone Necklace, Personalized Aquamarine Necklace, Bridesmaid Necklace, Custom Initial Necklace, Gift for Her, Aquamarine Jewelry
March Birthstone Necklace, Personalized Aquamarine Necklace, Bridesmaid Necklace, Custom Initial Necklace, Gift for Her, Aquamarine Jewelry
Susabellas
$27.77 USD

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