Announcing a NEW series at Tiptoethrough- interviews and guest bloggers!! This week an interview with Etsy's Indie free spirits team founder Blueberryshoes!
Tell us a bit about yourself! (ie where you live, favorite song, etc) Heyyy! I'm Hollie May, aka Blueberryshoes, aka Captain Blueberry. Me and my Irish husband Phil live in South Florida at the moment. We are saving up to move to California by this summer. I'm what you would call an old soul/gypsy/forest nymph/crafter. Every day I make stuff and more stuff and listen to alot of Kate Bush.
Grew up in Canada which gave me a huge love for nature and also traveled alot from a young age which gave me some perspective. Big into slow, organic and non sugar-gluten free food. Can't live without goat cheese. Would rather hang out with animals than most people. Writer and illustrator, and someone who sings harmony. Hate tv, love grapefruit. Love thrifting, camping, playing music and laughing my head off with great friends. Very sarcastic, overanalytical but the first to laugh (very loud) and comfort friends. My favorite song (hard!) would have to be "I Know It's Over" by the Smiths. At the moment however, it is "And Dream of Sheep".
What's your favorite new trend, or shop on etsy? ANYTHING native inspired. Knowing that it runs in my blood, having visited the Badlands of South Dakota, being obsessed with all things nature, feather, arrowhead, etc related, I can't get enough of NATIVE stuff!
What first inspired you to sell on etsy!? What is the top seller in your shop? Actually my good friend Haley of ohvotrecoeur told me about it about a week before I got married. I taught myself everything I know about indie selling and etsy from the ground up. So glad I went into it without much help, because now I feel I've gone through the hardships and confusion, and now have a clarity with which I can help others in the community as well. All of my friends told me I had to do something with my art and creating. So I did! Turns out it worked out pretty well :D
What is one thing you wished you had learned sooner about marketing yourself? Charge what you're worth! It is very hard to figure out pricing when you have no experience in business. But just to let you know, I've been on Etsy for a while now and I'm still figuring it out! I'm learning that I have to charge more, and up prices slowly and discreetly every month or so, so that I can actually come away with profit. When in doubt, charge more. You're items will continue to sell, as I have proof of that from my sales. How did you come up with the Indie Free Spirits Team on etsy, the inspiration and aesthetic, etc? I felt like I had gotten to know a handful of unbelievably cool peeps in the etsy community and yet, I felt it was hard to keep in touch with everyone. From the start we chatted about starting a team. Before it was alot more work to start one up, and you had to have certain aspects covered to be accepted by the admin. I knew I wanted a team of no drama, hippie type pals. People who loved off beat and indie stuff. Music, thrifted fashion, nature, slow food. So I started The Indie Free Spirits.
I think the name of the team speaks for itself and draws all the right crowd in. Slowly within a year it was grown from a handful of 20 to almost 350 members. Every week I get about 15 applicants and sometimes more! I adore leading and providing a safe little world for us all to keep in touch and inspire one another. Creating the IFSteam was the best thing I've ever done!
What is something really cool you have learned about your fellow crafters and the etsy community since starting this team? I always feel a little guilty or self absorbed when I provide advice or direction to team members. I never want to sound like I think I'm an expert on anything, since I'm just winging it as much as the next crafter! However, I've learned that members WANT to be lead, inspired, directed and challenged. So instead of holding back instructions, or ideas I now direct exactly the way I feel I want to, and have only gotten GREAT feedback from the team :D
What is the inspiration behind all of your fantastic etsy treasuries!? Any tips on making a "front page" worthy treasury? Very sweet of you :) As corny as this sounds, Passion would cover it. As a writer, everyday I have stories and ideas I want to share with the world. It's somewhat painful to leave it inside and sometimes dissolve. All it takes sometimes is coming across an epic listing photograph, and poof a story unfolds. I curate with a story or purpose. Sometimes I curate to express my emotions, a memory that must be let out, or a longing for something or other.
Curating a treasury is like sharing a page of my diary. When I was young, I always shared my diary with my sister. Although I do keep some things private, I am kind of an open book. Somewhere in the middle there is mystery and I feel that the treasuries I make, give that feeling of wonder and interest.
Can you give us an inside scoop on what you have in store for ifsteam in 2011!? Plenty more team challenges, soon enough a team meetup in the virtual labs and also treasury challenges! You can be sure that the influx of epic shops will continue to stream in, and that it will only enrich our teams palette more and more! So much love to all of you Ifsteamers!!!!
Thanks for the interview Hollie!! Love the pictures, advice, and insight into the Indie Free Spirits Team! You can check out Hollie's Blog: Mermaid's Closet and Her Shop.