Monday, August 13, 2012

Etsy 817 Artist Spotlight- EDC Collective

Etsy 817 is please to introduce one of our founding members, Cathy of EDC Collective.

What are your Etsy shop name(s) and link(s)?

What do you make and sell in these shops?
At EDCCollective you can browse through eclectic choices ranging from handcrafted and vintage jewelry and accessories to photographic art as matted prints, note cards and bookmarks to home decor.
In my EclecticSkeptic shop I sell a wide range of flying pig items for those that have an affinity for pigs with wings as well as items for the math, science and music geek.

Are you known by any other business names? If so, what are they?
Both of my Etsy shops are branches of Eclectic Design Choices (EDC), through which I also offer garden coaching services.

Where else can we find you online or off?
Two additional major online locations where information about EDC can be found and followed are my blog, and my Facebook business fan page, . I also send out a short monthly email newsletter which can be subscribed to at .
Offline, some of my ready to hang photographic art pieces can be found at Gypsy Riddles Boutique & Gallery in Downtown Arlington, . I am also likely to be found at 2 – 4 local craft shows during the holiday show season. I will post this information on my blog and business fan page when that information becomes available.

What inspires you to create your art?
A lot of my inspiration comes from the beauty that I see in nature. Most of my photographic art is of flowers and critters. Much of my jewelry and home d├ęcor uses nature’s gemstones, pearls, shells and wood. I work mostly with naturally colored, undyed materials. I find a lot of inspiration in looking at the great range of colors and textures of these components.

When did you start your business and what inspired you to do so?
My mom gave me the push to create some jewelry items for a space that she rented for her vintage finds in an antique mall. She suggested this after the two of us worked on finding the materials for and designing a beaded necklace for an amber pendant/pin that my husband had given me such that the pendant could be taken off as needed and used as a pin. She sold one of my necklaces from her space and I was hooked. Unfortunately this was about the time that the economy was melting down and after finding Etsy, I suggested that we open a shop for her vintage goodies and my handmade ones. The online venue would be less of an investment than the brick and mortar one in a time that consumer spending was getting increasingly uncertain. That is how EDCCollective came about in February of 2009. We were beginning to get some momentum going in this shop as we entered our first holiday selling season, when my mom passed away from cancer. I did some soul searching after this and decided to continue this shop on my own. Earlier in July of 2009 when I was considering starting a separate shop to sell flying pig items in, my mom supported my stepping out on my own and I named my new venture EclecticSkeptic.

What were you doing career wise when you decided to create your own business?
I was, and still am, doing some math and science tutoring and garden coaching when I decided to turn my creative interests into a retail business.

What has been your biggest obstacle so far and how did you overcome it?
I wouldn’t say that I have totally overcome this obstacle but I am working on it. My biggest obstacle is getting found by people that are looking for what I have created or can create for them. I am constantly on the lookout for information that I can use to create more awareness of my business. The forums on Etsy as well as articles on American Express’s Open Forum have been two great resources.

Have your friends and family supported your dream?
Yes, my mom was super supportive of me and two of her best friends continue to be great cheerleaders for me. My immediate family has been very tolerant of the time that I spend creating and trying to grow my business as well as allowing me to twist their arms for assistance when I want to bounce an idea off of them or need help setting up at a show.

Where do you work from?
I work from my home.

Have you been using social media to grow your business?
I do have a Facebook business fan page and a blog that I began with the intention of growing my business through the use of social media. I have found this to be somewhat challenging, however I have received some sales as a result of these endeavors so I intend to press on and see if I can expand awareness of my business through them.

How did you learn and acquire the skills you use to make your business successful and/or how do you continue to grow and learn?
I learned a lot of things about running a business from observing my mom as she ran several successful businesses during her lifetime, from horse stables to antique shops. I also learned a lot from taking care of the paperwork side of the consulting gigs that my husband had at one point in his career. I continue to read information targeted towards small online businesses to see if I can pick up any new tips on improving my business as well as talking with others that run their own businesses.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?
One of my favorite things to hear from a customer that has purchased from me online is that my creation is even better/prettier in person than it was in the listing photos.

What do you like about your work?
I like to create, whether that creation is a garden design, a necklace to match a treasured bracelet or a custom treatment of someone’s photograph to commemorate a special occasion. I enjoy the challenge and the problem solving to create the finished product that my mind dreamed up or a customer requested. Finishing an item brings a sense of accomplishment and when someone wants that finished item I feel proud to have been able to produce something that will bring joy to someone else. 

What is your favorite product or service that you offer?
I love the challenge of a custom order, whether it is for bridesmaids’ bracelets designed to coordinate with the rest of the wedding plans, , creating a totally new item that someone asks for, or even turning a treasured but unrepairable iPod into jewelry, to name a few of my custom requests. It is the variety of requests that make this my favorite service. To see more of this variety you can type “design this” into the search box on my blog.

What is your best-selling item?
My flying pig items have been far and away my most popular items to date.

What’s your favorite color?
As soon as I pick just one, my mind starts to say but what about …? However, since I wear a lot of blue, I’m going with that one.

What superpower would you want to have and why?
I’ve always thought it would be wonderful to be able to fly under my own power. I think it would be truly uplifting and freeing.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I have taught math and science in High Schools, taught horseback riding lessons and worked in the geophysical industry to name a few.

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