Friday, July 30, 2010

Feature Friday - nerd JERK

Happy Friday, ya'll!

I don't know about you, but I'm super pumped about this week's interview with Steph of nerd JERK. I can't say that I've beaten every level of Super Mario, but I've certainly spent countless hours trying! Get ready, folks, because this geekery is not for the weakery!

I am in absolute awe over the new love of my life. I bet he's even cuddlier in real life!

From embroidered stationary to felted socks, nerd JERK's got something that will definitely make you smile. Enjoy!

1. What is your shop name and URL?

nerd JERK - Inspiring Smiles One Geek at a Time at

2. To which Etsy Teams do you belong?

I'm currently a member of the Etsy D-Listers Team (forum for sellers
just starting out to share info & support one another) and the SF Etsy
Team. I'm currently working on more of my own designs so that I can
possibly be accepted into the Etsy Plush Team next year.

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

Most of the items at nerd JERK are video game inspired amigurumi plush toys that people have asked me to make for them. I was taught how to make a granny square when I was in high school, but it wasn't until well into college when I taught myself amigurumi through an online
tutorial. Once you get the basic "magic ring" (the first 6 stitches toany amigurumi) down, you can pretty much make anything using math! :D
Since I've always been a visual learner, most of my projects need a few good pictures from Google (and some interactive video gameresearch, of course!) to start taking shape in my head. Then, since I like drawing comics as well, I start drawing out concept art for my newest plush toys. I use these as inspiration while I stay up latewatching re-runs of cancelled shows on my Wii working on prototypes.When I'm finally finished, I walk back to my grandmother's room to show her my latest creation and get her "seal of approval". Since I grew up with her teaching me how to properly embroider my Barbie clothes, one of the greatest sources of happiness in my life is to be able to care-give for her and bring a smile to her face with all the
little "muñequitos" I make!

4. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you. (Hobbies,
achievements, favorite something-or-other, family situation, jobs,

Even though I care-give for my grandma, I've gotta make time to rock out. I'm in an indie-pop/folk band called "We Are The Oui" with my good drummer friend of 3 years, Matt, and my bass-playing boyfriend, Roger. We don't play out very often, but it's not quantity; it's quality. I
write the songs, play rhythm guitar and sing lead. We practice in our gigantic 3 car garage and have recently made it to the second act at BrainWash Cafe on August 6th. We're aspiring to play at Bottom of the HIll some day, where we were recently invited by the Poison ControlCenter (an awesome band we all like a lot) to tour to Iowa and play a show with them.

5. How did you get involved with Etsy?

I used to run an Etsy shop in 2007 that sold earlier incarnations of my current line of amigurumi. It was gettin' pretty freakin' popular! Back in them days, people from the Etsy Offices were buying my items to put on their desks at work! I suspect they were having plush
fights. My best customer was Chillionaire, which was a huge ego boost.Unfortunately, just when business was starting to pick up and I was training someone to help me keep up with orders, my grandfather that I was care-giving for passed away. He was proud of the growth of my business. Even though he had dementia and couldn't remember everything as well as he would have liked, he was always asking me how my little dolls were coming along. hehe.
I ended up taking a bit of a break to help my family recover and kind of forgot about it all for a while by working in retail management for 3 years. But, as the creative urges started coming back, I found that I could improve my old patterns even further with new techniques I'd started inventing. People at work saw my cute items and wanted to buy them. Their friends saw them and wanted to get some for their friends.
nerdJERK was born in the backroom of a Body Shop at the San FranciscoAirport on my lunch breaks.
Since my grandma needed more help at home, I left retail for a full-time care-giver / comic artist / rockstar /crafter / business manager position I opened for myself. :)
Since I'm just starting to get involved with craft fairs and meeting more people in San Francisco that have as much of a passion for handmade as I do, I can only expect it to get better as time goes on.

6. What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or
previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?

My favourite item in my little Etsy shop would probably have to be "The Jogger" Mix-Tape Journal. :)
I love bright colours and textures, so the hand-cut Eco-Felt mix tapes that I embellished these Moleskine notebooks with just make me really happy whenever I look at them. I'm also a huge fan of Moleskine since I love to draw/write, so it was essential for me to have the highest quality paper for the notebooks in my shop. I'm so proud of them that they're the first items that I've consigned into retail stores. :D

7. What has been your biggest success and/or proudest moment since
opening your Etsy shop?

I wrote a list during the business planning stages of nerd JERK outlining my personal measures of success for my brand. One day when I was vending at Market SF, a couple approached my booth and recognized my Pac-Man ghosts and knew who I was!
"You made that awesome stop-motion video with these guys... with the
noises... all DIY and stuff, right?"I nodded and beamed, "Yeah, an animator and I put that together earlier this year. You saw it?" He just smiled while squishing a mini Inky, "Yeah! I found it on StumbleUpon! Great STUFF!" A total stranger instantly knew my work and my cheesy "Wacka-wacka" noises. I don't think I've ever stood prouder in my entire life.

8. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?

I've only recently started diving into the whole social media process, but I've found that it's really crucial to how micro-businesses (like us sellers on Etsy) start building up our brands & getting exposure for our awesome goods. Other than showing new creations off to my grandma & boyfriend, I usually post pictures for comments on my Facebook Fan Page [ ]. Cool people from San Diego to Scotland and even Sydney, Australia can geek out about the different things I should add to my newest plush zombie to make him look less like the Jolly Green Giant and more like "Billy Wants Brains!" My other source of creative outlet is through my writing. I've got my blog [ ] as well, which is kind of the area I use for a warm up to writing more awesome posts as a new member of the SF Etsy Team Blog. Look for features by the Roving Reporter in the next few weeks!

Thanks so much, Steph, for a peek into your interesting and animated life! :)

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


Velvet Otterhound said...

The items in your shop have so much charm to them!

千曹惠 said...


Violets new Vintage said...

Great article and wonderful work. congrats Stephanie!

Nerd Jerk said...

Wow! Thanks very much, guys! :D It was a huge honour to get this feature and since it's my very first one, it's gonna be close to my heart! :D

Aimee Diane Designs said...

Wow! What an interesting article! I wish I could be there to check out your music on August 6, but I'll be out of town. I hope you inform us on the blog about your next public show.

Nerd Jerk said...

I'd love to! Actually, I think our band is going to play a show at the Museum of Craft & Folk Art for a Craft Bar next month. :D It's not finalised yet, but I'll keep you posted.

Velvet Otterhound said...

Make sure you post the date on the google newsgroup!

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