Friday, October 16, 2009

Featured Artist: Theresa Cole of Michigan Hemp


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I am 33 years old, married to the man of my dreams, mom of two boys, step mom of three boys, and am currently pursing my bachelors degree through Oregon State University's online program. I hope to transfer to The Academy of Art before the fall term starts. A few of my favorite things include sunsets over water, the smell of fresh cut grass, and the smile of a child.
My Etsy shop is full of high quality hemp items at affordable prices. While surfing my shop, you will find necklaces, anklets, bracelets, Soulful (barefoot) sandals, keychains, and just recently I began selling my photographs in ACEO form.
1. When and why did you start crafting?

Over the years, I have always enjoyed crafting and art.
All through school, art was my favorite subject, and I absolutely love to make things with my own two hands. It was about six years ago that I began making hemp jewelry.
My husband and I were at a small craft show here in Michigan and I fell in love with the cutest, simple little hemp necklace! It was at the point where I picked it up to purchase it that I noticed the price. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the value of handmade, but this little necklace was way overpriced. It was then and there that I knew that I could make better items from better supplies, and offer them at better prices. We stopped at the craft store on the way home from that show for hemp supplies, and I have been creating my jewelry ever since.
2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

The versitility of design and the beauty of the lampwork beads are my favorite aspects of making hemp items. I love the fact that if I can think up the idea for a different knot pattern, it is almost always possible to make it come to life with the hemp. Lampwork pendants and beads are amazing inspirations for my designs. It is usually the pendant and beads that inspire the design of the item I make.

3. How did you find out about Etsy and why did you start selling there?

For six years I have been trying to find places to sell my items, with almost no luck at all. Only once did I find a shop willing to try my stuff, and I had to sell my items for less than what the supplies had cost just to get him to try them out! I wanted a place where I could sell my items and actually get out of them what I have put in. I had only heard of Etsy once before our local news channel had a small blurb about selling online one morning. After hearing it on the news, I figured "Why not?" and opened up shop that same afternoon.

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

The hardest thing for me is promoting my shop. I have literally spent at least 8 hours per day, every day for the last 5 months, online trying to get the word out about my shop. So far, I am doing OK, but finding my target market is a little trickier for me than for most other people. Not everyone loves hemp the way I do, so it can be difficult.
5. Do you rely on Etsy to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

When I opened my shop, it was just for fun and a little extra spening money, but the economy has definitely gotten worse since then. Now, what ever money I make goes towards helping to pay the bills since both my husband and I have become unemployed.

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy & why?

Only once did I find an offline shop that was willing to sell my items, and I had to sell my items to the owner for such a low price that I actually made nothing through the experience. I much prefer selling on Etsy even if my sales are slower because at least there, I feel that I am getting what my items are worth.
7. Where else can you be found online?

I also sell on Zibbet. http://www.zibbet.com/michiganhemp
I have a blog: http://michiganhemp.blogspot.com
and I twitter: http://twitter.com/michiganhemp

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