Sometimes when you find a Fresh Shop, it’s like a beam of light coming down to show you something you haven’t seen before. I happened to bump into TheSecretNest a few weeks ago and was thrilled at how unique their items were (and how lovely their photos were too!). So I asked a few questions to learn a bit more about the maker behind this shop…
Can you tell us a little about the people behind TheSecretNest?
The person behind the Secret Nest is Karina Kalvaitis. I live and work on Vancouver Island – on the west coast of Canada. I’m an artist-of-all-sorts and a (sometimes) theatrical props builder. I’ve made and shown my art in galleries across Canada for about 12 years now. Just recently I threw out my extremely lucrative and high-powered career as an art-store clerk to try my hand at making things full time. I like making all sorts of arts and crafts, but I imagine that Etsy itself may guide me to a specific niche (or two, or three?).
What inspires you as a creative person?
Plants, animals, life underwater, and all things teeny-tiny. I love mysterious natural places where I can imagine some creature or other living — hidey-holes or green leafy places. Gardening is a good inspiration — flowers and plants are quite otherworldly the closer you get to them. I like things that aren’t spelled out, which is perhaps why I like animals so much. I like imagining what they are thinking – and I suppose imagining I have some special connection to them. I use animals as stand-in for humans I think — especially for those awkward or uncertain moments when we are faced with our own vulnerability.
I think the things that inspire me all have something mysterious that resonates in them. And the things I make are all glimpses into something that is enigmatic. I can always tell when a piece works because I feel like it is a mystery, even to me — it has a life of its own that is unknowable. That gives me a real thrill, and it keeps me making artwork. I think this idea of secrets is also why I like making blank books — because people will fill them with their own secret plans and ideas.
How do you like Etsy so far?
I’m really impressed by the size of the audience on Etsy; it seems like a fantastic place to reach people.
I’m still finding my way around in Etsy — I feel like the new kid at school and I don’t yet know where all of the hallways lead. However, unlike high school, all the kids here are really nice! I really thrive on feedback, and people have been kind enough to convo me with compliments — I feel like I’ve been noticed, instead of lost in the crowd. I have high hopes for Etsy!
What are your favorite features of the site?
Well, as a fledgling shop owner, I’ve been especially drawn to the features that give me reassurance and hope. I love the Quit Your Day Job and Success Stories. I’m grateful for Hearts Me — I was overjoyed by how many people said they “hearted me” after only a few days. I’ve been included in a couple of Treasuries too, and I think that is what got me the most traffic so far.
And as a newbie, I’ve consulted the Etsy Seller’s Handbook many many times. I guess I absorbed a good deal of it — since I got kudos in an Etsy Success email as Exemplary Listing of the Week for following all the tagging suggestions!
Anything else you’d like to add is also welcome! (Your blog, etc.)
I had some drawings in a gallery in Toronto and they are now on their way to The Secret Nest. If you heart manatees (and how could you not!) you’ll want to check them out.
Looking for more Etsy newbies? Check out our previous Fresh Shops coverage!