Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Feature ~ Brown Fox Calligraphy

Its Friday Feature time again and this week we are featuring Brown Fox Calligraphy. Owner Brianne Connolly is a civil engineer with a love for writing and typography.

1. What is your shop name and URL?
Brown Fox Calligraphy

2. To which Etsy Teams do you belong?
Etsians of Facebook

3. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?
My shop contains calligraphy items that are ready to be customized! I include stamps, prints, calendars, and pre-designed wedding invitation suites in my Etsy shop. I picked up calligraphy 3 years ago after being asked to do the paper products for my good friend's wedding. I have been learning ever since! My creative process involves getting to know my client and what their vision is, and providing unlimited proofs to ensure that we come to a place where are both excited with the end product.

4. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.
My full time job is as a civil engineer. I design roads and highways in Northern California. The name of my calligraphy business is based on my initials (BFC) and the phrase that contains all the letters of the alphabet, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."

5. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?
My official website:

6. What does buying and selling local handmade mean to you, and how has it affected your life?
Buying local handmade means a great deal to me because I eventually want to pursue my calligraphy full time, and I know that means I will need the support of people who buy local handmade! The first place I always go when buying gifts is Etsy because I find such amazingly unique products that you know someone has put their heart into. Selling my small business work has been a significant influence on my life, especially for the past year. I have invested more time in order to work towards being able to work on this all day every day, and Etsy helps me one sale at a time!

7. What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
My favorite item in my shop currently are my 2015 calligraphy calendars. I have never done a calendar before and I had such a blast figuring out what the design was going to look like. I got to use my adorable nieces and some great friends as samples, and I just think it's such a beautiful and functional piece to display in your home.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, visit Our Team Page about joining SFEtsy!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Creative Places to Inspire Your Next Steps: Local Take

Over the next few months we will be highlighting creative places, spaces and people in an effort to take your business to the next level. I'm so honored to have been able to interview our very own Jenn of Local Take about her adorable shop in The Castro. Local Take has been a huge HUGE advocate for everything SFEtsy and it seemed fitting to make this shop our first stop in this series: Creative Places to Inspire Your Next Steps.

Have you been thinking of doing consignment of your items in a local shop? The focus of this interview was about how Jenn and her business partner, Kyra, find local items for their shop & how one might submit their work for consideration. 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE your love for San Francisco inspired pieces. What are three of your favorite pieces that you sell in your store right now?
-Water/ jet cut aluminum Sutro Tower from Studio For Metropolitan Craft
-Deconstructed jackets by Ghetto Goldilocks
-Seatbelt wallets by .retool.

I love that you support so many small companies like Todos Organics of Berkley. Tell me how you discover these small companies!
However and where ever we can!  Originally, Etsy, Open Studios and street fairs were our most successful ways to find new local designers.  These days we keep quite busy with designers finding us and reaching out. We still try to go to all the  street fairs and Open Studios to support our current designers!

If a small business wanted to be considered to sell in your shop, what's the process and what steps would they take?

We take all product submissions via email.  Send us an email, introduce yourself, explain what you do, include retail price points and pictures.  If we think its a good fit, we'll invite you in to meet us and take a look at your product. Please, please, please do not bring unsolicited product into the store for us to look at or try to show us pictures on your phone. We want to set aside time specifically for you so we can focus on what you do.  We always recommend that designers stop by the store to make sure its a good fit for them before submitting work. And when you do, by all means say hello!

You have a keen eye for great finds, but you also have a great business mind. If you could give a small business some sound advice, what is the most important lesson you learned when you shifted from a maker to a shop owner?
Nothing will ever be 'perfect'.  You just gotta go for it!  The best way to learn is from your mistakes. Things change, and so does your perspective.  You can only get to the final draft after you've completed the first draft.

When doing research on a small company for your space, how important is an online presence to you? How important is an Etsy shop, Facebook or website?

It's important for us to see examples of the product before we invite a designer for a face to face.  There are lots of products that aren't quite right for our space in our neighborhood, so we don't want to waste anyone's time.  However, having an online presence isn't as important as being able to show us pictures via email.

You are also a maker - how do you best balance your creative soul with your business?
Balance? Ha! Seriously though, every day we have to make the decision to feed our creative souls or crunch numbers.  Luckily for us, we try to bring creativity into every part of our business so everyday is a good balance of both.

SFEtsy, as you know, is centered around the importance of community. How do you participate in your local community & how has that positively influenced your own small business and/or your work as a maker?
In addition to running a business in the Castro, we also try to keep our personal lives as much in the 'hood as possible. We regularly visit other stores just to say hi, we introduce ourselves to new businesses, we get lunch almost every day, we meet friends for dinner/drinks after hours, etc.  We also participate in the many different Castro events and fundraisers, and are members of the local merchant's group.  Meeting new people in the neighborhood and reaching out to other businesses reminds them that we exist in the neighborhood. Then they come shop with us and recommend us to their other customers.

Thanks again to Jenn and Kyra for hanging out with me for an afternoon 
and answering so many questions! 

Local Take is located in The Castro at 3979B 17th st, SF 94114
for up to date events and hours, visit their Facebook Page

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, visit Our Team Page about joining SFEtsy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Captain's Log: Interview with Christina Loff from CreativeLive

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

We are continuing our interview series about local people and companies that are helping the maker and handmade communities. This week I had the honor and pleasure of meeting up with former Jersey Girl, Christina Loff - marketing guru and current awesome employee of SF Based CreativeLive (We met on this rooftop!) Christina and SFEtsy have an exciting meet-up planned for next week (read about that at the end of the interview). 

We are so very lucky to have several local amazing and supportive small businesses here in the Bay Area and I continue to be impressed with how open and welcoming these companies are to our team.

Enjoy this interview and if you want to come to CreativeLive on Thursday - sign up here!

Photo credit: DearHandmadeLife 

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Christina Loff. I have an Etsy shop called Tweet Sweet that I opened in 2007 but I haven't sold on Etsy for at least 5 years. I'm more of an Etsy shopper than seller these days!

I've been doing marketing for creative companies since 2005 and quickly realized that I liked marketing makers and creative companies more than I liked having my own craft business. I currently work in the marketing department at CreativeLive which means I get to do fun things like invite SFEtsy to come hang out with us and watch our craft classes.

I have lived in SF for 17 years but grew up in Jersey. You can find me everywhere as @tweetsweet (instagramPinterestTwitter).

2. How did you first get involved with makers and the handmade community?

I first got involved in this awesome community by making and selling jewelry and anything you could imagine made out of duct tape. There was no shortage of craft fairs and stores to sell handmade goods to when I started my business in SF in 2003. And I was lucky enough to have a lot of friends who showed me the ropes and introduced me to store owners.  

3. What do you find most exciting about working with makers, entrepreneurs, and artisans?

I'm endlessly inspired by the makers I get to meet. One of my favorite jobs was working on craft books when I was at Chronicle Books. I was so lucky to meet so many amazing and talented artists who I still call friends today. And it was so much fun to help get there work out into the world. 

4. What do you find most challenging about working with makers, entrepreneurs, and artisans?

The thing that has always surprised me about working with creative people is how hard it is for them to promote themselves. I also do freelance pr for makers and artists and even the most talented people I work with don't always feel confident talking about their work. The best advice I can give is to always be putting your work and yourself out there, you never know who you might meet when you're talking about what you do.

5. Tell me about a special maker/artisian you’ve met in your travels?

There are too many to pick just one! I made a lot of great friends selling at craft fairs but I was also lucky enough to work with some amazing makers while I was at Chronicle. One of my all time favorite people from that time was Julie Jackson of Subversive Cross Stitch, she had some wacky and wonderful ideas and it was great fun working with her to promote her books. Working with Lotta Jansdotter was also pretty special and getting to throw events with her in her beautiful space in Brooklyn was really fun. 

6.  How did you learn about SFEtsy?

Pretty sure the first time I found out about SFEtsy was at a craft fair where you were all selling together! 

7. What is one of your primary goals for 2015?

I do some work with SF Bazaar and we've got some fun things brewing for 2015.  

8. What’s the one online tool you’ve discovered that can help makers propel their business?

I'm still in awe at the power of Pinterest for sellers. When I worked at Hello!Lucky Pinterest was one of our biggest traffic drivers. It's all about having a pinnable site and taking beautiful photos of your products that people will want to pin. But make sure to title your photos so when they're pinned your name shows up! 

9. Do you have any words of wisdom to help makers in their businesses?

Talk about your work! Carry cards, and always have samples or photos of your work on you. Do not be afraid to tell the world what you do, even if it feels boastful. You will always be your own best publicist so be proud of what you create and don't be shy!

Photo credit: DearHandmadeLife 

Thanks again Christina for your time and showing off CreativeLive's amazing space! As promised, we are excited to announce that CreativeLive has invited SFEtsy members, friends and family to come out and enjoy a very special meet-up.  Next Thursday, March 5th, CreativeLive will be taping two Etsy classes and YOU are invited to attend either or BOTH!

Longtime Etsy team captain and organizer of Seattle Handmade, Marlo Miyashiro will be teaching from the CreativeLive Seattle studios and they will do a special live broadcast just for us! 

The first class of the day will be Marlo's Etsy 101 class that will be from 9am - 12pm. Breakfast will be served starting at 8am. We will be mingling and socializing before the class begins. Maybe you feel you are past Etsy 101, but Marlo is super smart and is a wealth of knowledge and it will be fun :) Sign up here.

The second class will begin at 12:45 - 4pm with breaks and Marlo will be teaching SEO for Etsy. You can arrive for this class at 12pm and we will have lunch and snacks (and socializing of course!). 

BONUS: If you come and attend the meet-up (either class or both) you will receive both of these classes (and all the materials) for free ($58 value) 

We have room for up to 50 people at this meet-up so I hope to see you there! RSVP here

If you made it to the end of this post, you are now rewarded with a cute kitten photo:

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, visit Our Team Page about joining SFEtsy!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Feature ~ Salamander Feltworks

This week we are featuring the store Salamander Feltworks. Owner Hilary Powers creates some amazing creatures out of felt with wool and steel. Join us to learn more about her and her work.

1. What is your shop name and URL? 
Salamander Feltworks -

2. To which Etsy Teams do you belong?
Etsy Success
East Bay Arts Collective

3. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?
I make needle-felted creatures  - animals, birds, and fantasy beings - as true to life as possible for me, and mostly wearable as brooches or necklaces. When I walk into a restaurant wearing someone and the maitre’d starts to throw me out, I know I’ve got it right! The realism depends on a strong sense of comparative anatomy backed up by a whole lot of Internet clip art, plus individual photos for portrait pieces.

Although needle felting is a relatively new technique for me (I first heard of it on Thanksgiving Day, 2009), I’ve been a sculptor all my life, working in wire, wax, terra cotta, tinfoil, candy wrappers... anything that would stay put when molded. Felted wool is the best medium yet; it holds its shape while you’re working, you can tell what color it is without firing it, and it doesn’t break or ruin anything else in the process. And skills in other media still apply, as there’s a wire sculpture inside almost every figure, and most of them involve some wax work and finger modeling as well.

When I was first starting out in felting, I’d alternate playing with the wool (trying to figure it out from first principles) and looking at online videos. I also subscribed to some e-mail lists where people share tips on the medium. Much of what I do now I invented for myself, or modified heavily from the original ideas.

4. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you. 
In the thirty years between abandoning my ceramic kiln and discovering needle felting, I spent most of my crafting time in the Society for Creative Anachronism, doing sewing, embroidery, a little calligraphy and cookery, and a whole lot of armoring. (My member page at the Bay Area Editors’ Forum, <>, features me in body armor that I made - and a helmet I purchased, not wanting to trust my skull to my own metal work.)

I haven’t had a day job since 1984, and currently work as a freelance copyeditor and developmental editor. I also help run a series of formal dances and an annual role-playing and board gaming convention, and lead a monthly bird walk at Lake Merritt in Oakland.

5. What is your favorite item in your shop? Why is it your favorite?
The tiger dragon is my current favorite - one reason the price is so high; I’d be just as happy not to part with him as he’s just plain fun to wear. I love his personality, and I’m not alone - people want to pet him on the street!

6. What crafting skill(s) do you wish you had or hope to learn someday?
Feathers! I’ve tried a whole bunch of ways of felting wool so it looks like feathers, especially the big wing and tail feathers, and none of them are really satisfactory. Real feathers are so thin they’re like magic, and I still haven’t figured out how to make wool do that.

7. If you had to be an animal for one week, which animal would you choose to be? And what would you do?
Oh, a crow - or maybe a raven. Corvids have more fun than anybody. I’d fly and fly and eat whatever I pleased and generally get into mischief....

8. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?
The best place to see what I do - including some photo essays of work in progress - is the Salamander Feltworks website, However, after signing up for the Indie Holiday Emporium, I woke up my Facebook Page, - untouched since 2012 - and turned it into something worth looking at, with an album for each year's work.

9. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your shop or your work?
The creatures go everywhere with me - I never leave the house without at least one (and more likely two or three) of them perching on my hat and my shoulders. It's almost as good as walking a dog for starting conversations with strangers, and some of them find homes that way. One mouse left my hat and went home with a new person at the Berkeley Bowl fish counter!

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, visit Our Team Page about joining SFEtsy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuestorial: Fake Diamond Ring

Love is in the air…engagements are being made...weddings are being planned. If you feel left out on the bling, now you can make your own! 

I made these fun "diamond" rings as a party favor for a friend's bachelorette party. They were a hit!

I have lots of sparkle vinyl laying around, but you can use what you have. A great resource for sparkle vinyl is Mendels, Fabric Outlet, and Amazon. 

Materials Needed:

  • Sparkle vinyl or felt
  • Scissors
  • Vinyl glue 
  • Adjustable ring 
  • Ruler 

Step 1:

On the back of your material, use the ruler to create your diamond shape. Make it any size you want! Bigger is better.

Step 2:

Cut the diamond shape and place it face up. For the facet details, I used the corners of the material I cut. 

Step 3:

Glue the details on the diamond. Place a book or something heavy on top while it dries.

Step 4:

Once it is dry, glue the ring on the bottom. Place on your finger before glueing so you get the right placement. Then you are ready to wear it and rock it!

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, visit Our Team Page about joining SFEtsy!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Captain's Log: Interview with Caitlin Bacher of Little Farm Media

Happy Monday! 

It's Valentine's week! A sweet holiday for handmade items! This week, I am continuing our series of interviews with creative business supporters. If you missed the first two: Popupsters & The Academy of Handmade, grab your coffee, take some time and read them, these are good people to know :) 

As small business owners, we can't thrive (or survive) without some support. Often times, we are working alone, trying to figure out each step of business by doing research or asking another small business owner questions or joining a business group (like SFEtsy!) but sometimes, we need just a little bit more. 

Personally, when I hear the words "social media" I get a little overwhelmed and sometimes annoyed (I don't want to be that person posting all the time). After spending my days making things, filling orders, packing, shipping, photographing and writing descriptions, I can tell you the last thing on my list is getting online and chatting with people over "social media." However, I know it's an important part of marketing my business. 

Enter: Social Media Guru, Caitlin Bacher. Together, Caitlin and I lead the SF Chapter of The Academy of Handmade. We sat down to chat about her business, Little Farm Media and how she is helping creative entrepreneurs move past that "overwhelming" feeling attached to social media and help them use online social tools to drive traffic to their online stores. 

Enjoy this interview and feel free to reach out to Caitlin for help with your own social media questions. 

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Caitlin Bacher and I run the show at Little Farm Media. I offer social media consultations for creative entrepreneurs and blog a ton. Plus, I co-lead the San Francisco chapter of Academy of Handmade. When I’m not working it at work, I can be found wearing sweat pants, playing Scrabble with my husband, or chasing after my (ahem) spirited three year old.

2. How did you first get involved in with makers and the handmade community?

I noticed that there wasn’t any social media advice specifically created for the handmade + maker biz community. There are plenty of vague articles telling you to "Be Authentic" and "Share Your Story". What does that even mean? People need concrete examples, not regurgitated quotes. 

3. What do you find most exciting about working with makers, entrepreneurs, and artisans?

I have an instant connection with anyone who is out there trying to do what they love and make money doing it. I understand how hard it can be to try and figure everything out on your own. Communities like SF Etsy and Academy of Handmade are absolutely critical for your success. 

4. What do you find most challenging about working with makers, entrepreneurs, and artisans?

Many artsy people feel very awkward about promoting themselves. Coming off too sales-y is their number one concern. I really respect that. The best part of my job is helping them find a way they can promote their work with confidence and ease.

5.  How did you learn about SFEtsy?

I don’t remember exactly how, but I think the first place I connected with SF Etsy was on Twitter. SF Etsy does an amazeballs job of creating community on ALL their social media platforms (editor's note: thanks to Lisa Spinella!) . They are so inclusive and generous, which makes everyone feel welcome. 

6. What is one of your primary goals for your business in 2015?

I want to be able to provide more services at affordable rates. Figuring out a way to do this in a way that provides real value to my clients has been no easy task. I think I’ve nailed it with my One-On-One Brainstorming Session. It’s a super affordable way to get social media advice that is personalized for your biz. You won’t find anything else like it. 

7. What’s the one online tool you’ve discovered that can help makers propel their business?

Here’s the thing. I know people that run a successful biz using Instagram, Facebook, or whatever. That doesn’t mean that if you join Instagram or create a Business Facebook page you will become a millionaire. People find success on whatever platform they are using because they do their research. Each platform requires a different strategy. It’s not what you use, it’s how you use it.

8. Do you have any words of wisdom to help makers sell more in person at popup events?

Do not rely exclusively on the organizers to promote your event. You are the boss of your biz and it’s your job to bring in people who will buy your stuff. Period. Tease your social media audience with what you’re doing to get ready for the show and build some excitement. Give them a reason to come.

P.S. Join Little Farm Media for a Pinterest Marketing Workshop on February 21 in Emeryville that will give you actionable advice you can use immediately. The cost of your ticket will pay for donuts, the space rental, and a latte for myself. RSVP right here because space is super limited. Bring your laptop.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, visit Our Team Page about joining SFEtsy!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

BE MINE - Valentines Day SFETSY Team Treasuries

SF Etsy Street Team Valentine's Day 
Be Mine Treasury Challenge!

Etsy Treasuries - The ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery

We have completely fallen in love .. with all your treasuries! 

          Thank you for sharing! Enjoy this team treasury gallery curated just for you, by The SF Etsy Team Members for the SF Etsy team Members..

Here is a Pinterest Link to the Team Treasury Challenge Posts on Pinterest 
and PSSSSTTT.... And Here is a YouTube Playlist of all the Songs 
Inspiring These Treasuries 
Fits Your Fancy
Beautiful lyrics sung with complete tenderness to the one he loves.
Inspired by Willie Nelson "Always On My Mind"

Almost blue - Almost doing things we used to do
There's a girl here and she's almost you
Almost me - Almost you - Almost blue
Inspired by Chet Baker "Almost Blue"

Le Animalé 
Kiss on My List
Flora Metaphor
Let Love Rule - Valentine's Day'
Inspired by Lenny Kravitz's "Let Love Rule"

Sonoma Bento 
Cupid, Draw Back Your Bow
Inspired by the timeless romanticism
of Sam Cooke's classic song, "Cupid"

Victoria Veedell
So Many Hearts

Spring Wind

Tickle And Smash
"In spite of ourselves -We'll end up a'sittin' on a rainbow

Against all odds - Honey, we're the big door prize"
Inspired by 
John Prine, Iris DeMent "In Spite Of Ourselves"

Mine - Be Mine - Being Together

An Astrid Endeavor
Love, Love Will Tear Us Apart Again
Inspired by Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" 

Victoria Veedell
Gifts to Love
Brandee Blank Art
Man of the HourInspired By Nora Jones "Man Of The Hour"

Michelle's Zoo
You Look Wonderful Tonight
Inspired by Eric Clapton "You Look Wonderful Tonight"
Valentine's Dreamer
Inspired byArthur Rimbaud's Poem "Sensation" 

 On the blue summer evenings, I shall go down the paths,
Getting pricked by the corn, crushing the short grass:

In a dream I shall feel its coolness on my feet.

I shall let the wind bathe my bare head.

I shall not speak, I shall think about nothing:

But endless love will mount in my soul;

And I shall travel far, very far, like a gipsy,

Through the countryside - as happy as if I were with a woman.
Mornin Glorias
Inspired by "love is a place" by e.e. cummings

love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skillfully curled)
all worlds
City Circlets
My Funny Valentine
Inspired by Ella Fitzgerald - My Funny Valentine

Happy Valentines Day! 

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