Thursday, June 30, 2011

Team Member Interview: RedSnake

Sara of RedSnake on Etsy, and her adorable dog Lizzie

Sara Haubrock
Location: Richmond, VA
Etsy Shop:
FYI Blog readers: There's a coupon code on her Facebook page for 10% off in her shop!

Rachelle: Tell me a little about yourself:
Sara: I lived in northern California until I was almost 12, and in Richmond, VA since then. I'm 28 (29 next month!), still single, and working full-time as an admin assistant in a mortgage company. I've been a big-time animal-lover since I was little (that's my dog, Lizzie in the photo with me), and I got my Bachelor's degree from BYU-Provo in Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation in December 2005. I'm also a bit of a tree-hugger, so I try to make my jewelry-making hobby as eco-friendly as possible by avoiding waste and always reusing packaging material. In recent months I've started learning how to do needle-felting, kumihimo braiding, and loom-knitting. At various times throughout my life, I've also dabbled in horseback riding, ballet, modern dance, painting, drawing, and gardening.

Rachelle: How would you describe your work/shop? Who should definitely stop by?
Sara: My jewelry designs currently include a range of styles, from edgy, modern, or a little bit goth to delicate, feminine, and pretty. My inspiration comes from lots of different places, including favorite tv shows (Abby of NCIS provides lots of inspiration!), things I see in a magazine, or favorite finds on Etsy. Because of that variety, I think everyone should definitely stop by! I try to keep my prices affordable, too, and I'm planning on adding a lot more new stuff to the shop over the next few months.

A selection of my favorites from RedSnake of Etsy

Rachelle: How did you pick your Etsy name?
Sara: Hmm, good question! It's a pretty boring story, actually. When I was first trying to decide on a shop name, I had a pet Beta fish who was a beautiful bright red color. I happened to be watching him swim around his tank while I was thinking about a name, and I came up with idea of naming the shop Red Fish. But I wanted something unique, so I searched Etsy for shops with "redfish" in the name,and it turned out that there were several that already had that name. So then I decided to change it to Red Snake, because I've had a soft spot for snakes ever since I worked as a reptile keeper at BYU's life science museum. I loved that job!

Rachelle: What brought you to Etsy?
: I don't specifically remember how I found Etsy, but I stumbled onto it a couple years ago when I started playing around with jewelry making. I knew very quickly that I had found the perfect way to fund my new jewelry-making addiction - open an Etsy shop and sell my creations! Etsy makes it so easy to do and there's a great sense of support and encouragement from the Etsy community. I'm definitely still learning as I go. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) joining Etsy only created more new addictions for me - shopping on Etsy, creating treasuries on Etsy, and otherwise playing with all that Etsy has to offer! It's proven to be an expensive but fun part of my life! So far, I definitely spend more money than I make on Etsy, but I think it's worth it for the enjoyment I get from it!

Rachelle: What keeps you motivated?
Sara: Truthfully, I think it's mostly the innate human desire to create. I believe that we as human beings and children of God have a deep innate urge to create something that wasn't there before, especially something beautiful or useful. It's part of our divine nature. So that's what drives me a lot. I think I crave that sense of accomplishment that comes from seeing a finished product that I've made. I've also recently joined several Etsy teams, which provide a lot of motivation and encouragement in the form of advice, compliments, and support from teammates.

Rachelle: Any tips for other sellers or things you wish you had known when starting?
I recommend getting involved and connecting with other Etsy users. For me, that meant joining a few teams, which I didn't start doing until recently, and it's definitely improved my Etsy experience. The key is finding the teams that are right for you. Good choices are ones that you have something in common with, whether it be location, types of products you sell, or religion. It's also important to read the team's rules and browse their discussion threads a bit before joining, to get a feel for what the team is like, what activities they have going on, and to make sure you're comfortable with the level of involvement required by the team.

Other good tips are to always work on improving your product photography (mine still needs a lot of work, but I'm trying!) and use tags well, both on your products and on treasuries you create.
Sara's Favorite from her shop, RedSnake

What are your three favorite Etsy shops?
How in the world can you choose just three??? I have dozens of favorite Etsy shops and all of them are amazing! But for the sake of this question, here are the three I've chosen to share:

· Yes and Amen - (I kid you not, whenever I'm depressed, I go browse this shop or her blog. All the cute pictures of adorable little lambs inevitably make me smile!)

· Real Butterfly Gifts - (the products in this shop offer a gorgeous up-close look at the miracle of nature)

· Ginaminda - (I have a bit of an addiction to fingerless gloves, and this shop has a great selection)

Rachelle: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Sara: Hopefully, in 10 years I'll be happily married with a couple of cute kids, working as a full-time stay-at-home wife and mom, but I would have said the exact same thing if you had asked me this question 10 years ago, and I don't seem to be any closer to achieving that dream now than I was then. So you really never know what life will throw at you. But ideally, that's where I'd want to be, and I'd also love to have some free time to work on arts and crafts and play on Etsy, and while I'm dreaming, I'd also like to have a couple of dogs and a pet snake and a comfortable house with enough land to have a large fruit and vegetable garden and maybe a few alpacas, and the time to take care of it all! But if none of that happens in the next 10 years, then wherever I am and whatever I'm doing, I'd really just like to be able to say that I don't have any major regrets. As long as I can know that I'm living the way Heavenly Father wants me to, then I'll be ok.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Captain's Message: The Virtue of Kindness

Image from persimmonandpink on Etsy: 5x7 giclee print

As I have settled into my new role as the Captain of the LDS Etsy Team, I have been thinking about what is needed to do to organize things. Some “house-keeping” needs to be done for the team (and will always need to be maintained!) With a team so large and diverse, it can be overwhelming to identify a direction or purpose. Luckily, I have other Team Leaders to help me, and through speaking with them and personal thought, I feel compelled to share this message which is about the Church, but I also feel applies to the Team:

“The Church is not a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, or have perfect thoughts, or have perfect feelings. The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support, and service to each other as we press on in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father.

Each one of us will travel a different road during this life. Each progresses at a different rate. Temptations that trouble your brother may not challenge you at all. Strengths that you possess may seem impossible to another.

Never look down on those who are less perfect than you. Don’t be upset because someone can’t sew as well as you, can’t throw as well as you, can’t row or hoe as well as you.

We are all children of our Heavenly Father. And we are here with the same purpose: to learn to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

One way you can measure your value in the kingdom of God is to ask, “How well am I doing in helping others reach their potential? Do I support others in the Church, or do I criticize them?”

If you are criticizing others, you are weakening the Church. If you are building others, you are building the kingdom of God. As Heavenly Father is kind, we also should be kind to others.”

-From “The Virtue of Kindness” by Joseph B. Wirthlin, April 2005 Conference

This message is important; I would like our Etsy team to encourage and build one another with kindness. I would like for us to be a source of strength, comfort, and knowledge for one another. This sort of caring environment will improve our entire Etsy experience, which is my ultimate hope. Please remember that we all travel this road at different speeds and in different ways, but that we ultimately are in this together to help one another.

- Rachelle Sharp, LDS Etsy Team Captain