Interview || LolaDee

Saturday, February 05, 2011

For my final crafty interview I was lucky enough to get my favourite Irish blogger and crafter LolaDee to answer a few questions for me.


Tell me about you line of work and how it came about for you?
I make handmade accessories, like headbands, button rings, brooches, hair clips etc. I loved art at school, particularly craft, but after school I never really knew how to carry on my interest because in school I mostly did lino printing or clay. It wasn't until I came across etsy and crafty blogs last year that I felt inspired to do what I do now. 

How long have you been doing this?

I started experimenting with making accessories around this time last year (2010) and started selling on etsy in july 2010. I did my first market in august 2010. 

How did you come across sites like ETSY and how has selling on them helped your line of work? 
I came across etsy through a friend in around 2009, but it wasn't until I found some of the crafty blogs that I now love that I really discovered what a magical place etsy is! I love the sense of community, the way everyone seems so genuine and nice and each and ever piece for sale on etsy is really special. Etsy is a ready-made market for my line of work so it has been a great help to me. It was a platform that encouraged me to actually make things with a view to selling them. I never thought anyone would want to buy anything I had made until I came across etsy. Your success on etsy really depends on how much work you put into it, though. You need to be regularly listing things and promoting yourself, because it is such a huge marketplace you can get lost amongst the others.

Do you feel the Internet is an important part of promoting your work and why?  
The internet is probably one of the most important parts of promoting my work. I find a lot of etsy sellers through blogs and sites like twitter. There is something special about reading somebody's blog, their thoughts about the work they do and seeing the progress of the work they do. I personally feel more excited about buying something from somebody whose blog I read on a regular basis. For this reason, I feel that blogging is a huge help in promoting a small online craft business. A lot of the bigger blogs with a lot of traffic offer reasonable advertising spaces with options for giveaways and guest posts. This, I find is a great way of reaching your target market. Through this and through sites like twitter, you build up relationships with others who are doing the same kind of thing and by helping each other out, everyone gets themselves out there.  

Have you seen any negative outcomes from this kind of market?  
I wouldn't say there are negatives, really. The way I look at it, I don't have anything to lose, putting my stuff up for sale on etsy. The fees are small so even if something doesn't sell, its not a huge loss. I suppose the only negatives could be that sometimes people do try to copy other peoples work, but this happens all the time in this business, be it online or not. You do need to put a lot of time into listing things regularly in order to keep your products high up in the search results, so it can be frustrating if you are doing this on the side as it can be time consuming.

Do you think the recent popularity of the handmade aesthetic and handmade philosophy has power to last or just another passing trend?  
I think at the moment, people want something special for their money, so handmade is really on the up. I think that handmade will probably always be a niche market, but it definitely has the power to continue its recent popularity.   
  
Is there a sense of community between you and other makers creating in the same way? 
Definitely! Etsy has a lot of teams and communities and even in Ireland we have the Etsy Ireland team, which I found brilliant when I began selling because it meant I could meet others who had been doing this for a while and their advice and tips were so helpful. I mentioned blogging and twitter and this has really given me a lot of contacts both at home and abroad of people who do similar things. I think that when you are interested in something as specific as crafting, you are lucky if you have friends who do the same, so to be able to meet people from all corners of the world who are united by a similar interest in wonderful. It is also great for inspiration if you are feeling a bit of a block. I feel it gives me motivation to read the blogs of others who are crafting.
  

Are you trying to make a statement through your work? Obvious or otherwise? 
I don't think I'm trying to make a statement really. I think I just want to make things that are cute, that I myself would like and that I enjoy making. That's the most important thing for me. I don't see the point if I'm not enjoying it or if its not something I myself would like. I think that everyone who makes and sells handmade is making a statement whether they realise it or not, though. They are saying 'I made this, it took a lot of time and effort and a lot of love. So it probably trumps the manufactured stuff you'd buy in the shop. Just saying' :P
  Where do you feel your work will go in the future? 
I just want to keep making things and having fun with it. I want to put more time into Etsy and try to really develop that. I've just had an offer to sell my stuff in Turquoise Flamingo vintage shop in Cork so I will be starting a collection for there soon. I want to get into dress-making and designing my own clothes somewhere down the line. But for now its just important to me to keep going and keep loving it. I don't know if it will ever be a full-time thing for me, but I want to always have it on the side.  


Check out her lovely work and her amazing blog here at Loladee.com

 



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