Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday Feature ~ Saffron + Kumquats

This weeks Friday Feature is super special. We recently had 1400th member join the SF Etsy team. So without delay here is a little insight about Vanessa Larson and her store Saffron + Kumquats

1. What is your Shop Name and URL ?

2. To which Etsy Teams do you belong?
SF Etsy

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 is a way to share my love of food and cooking.  I do this with a subscription box for cooking, DIY food kits, and fun food-focused t-shirts.  The subscription box is delivered monthly and is filled with recipes and unique ingredient samples such as spices, grains, and beans.  Each month focuses on a different global cuisine. Past boxes have included Jamaican, Japanese, Moroccan and Indian.  

My creative process starts with an idea such as an interesting dish or a cuisine I'm fond of and I begin to research. I look into spices and various recipes.  I then begin to develop the recipes. Sometimes these are based on traditional recipes that I've adapted and sometimes these are all my own.  This is the fun part! Once I have nailed down the recipes, I order the recipe cards and ingredients.  The ingredients come in bulk and I then repackage them in a commercial kitchen.  The boxes are shipped out the first week of the month and the cycle starts all over again.

I've traveled all over the world and taken cooking classes in several countries that I've visited. This gives me the foundation for figuring out the recipes for the boxes.  I love to cook so Saffron + Kumquats has allowed me to share my hobby and my passion.

4. Tell us other interesting things about you.
I've lived in Paris and Hong Kong, and I love to travel.  Currently, I'm fascinated with the Middle East and Africa and I hope to visit both in the near future.

I'm obsessed with taking pictures.  I'm a never-ending tourist taking photos all over San Francisco (where I've lived off-and-on for 10 years!) and everyplace I travel.  I'm a visually-orientated person and photos make me happy.

I won a cooking competition for the tsukune chicken meatballs that I developed for the Japanese box. I won audience's choice and second place from the chefs.   

5. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?
6. What inspires your creations?
I'm inspired by my travels and by everything I eat.  Whenever I eat something remarkable, I take a photo and write it down.  You never know when it might be the perfect start for a new recipe!

7. How did you get involved with Etsy?
I started as a shopper.  I loved the idea of directly supporting small businesses and artisans. You can find such beautifully designed and unique product on Etsy!  Then, when I started Saffron + Kumquats, it seemed like the perfect place to sell my creations and to connect with this wonderful network of creators!

8. What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
The 3-month subscription box for cooking.  As cooks, we all get stuck in ruts.  This is a great way to try new flavors and to make cooking fun again! I like to think of it as a way to taste the world from the comfort of your own home.  

9. If you had a gift certificate to Etsy for any one item you wanted, what would you buy?
The Doer Tote in Leather and Waxed Canvas / Black on Black/ Simple and Classic Market Tote.

I am always looking for a good tote bag for carrying things around the city and this one is so beautifully designed.  I love the classic look, the protective leather bottom, and the double handles.
10. What has been your biggest success and/or proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
I participated in the Etsy holiday market in San Francisco and it was so wonderful.  I remade some of the subscription boxes that I've done as cooking kits and let people choose their cuisine.  It was a big hit.  What was really great was meeting people and talking to them about the product.  The interest and support that people expressed was so gratifying and lovely!

11. If money were no object for just one day, what would you do?
I would fly to Paris for the day. I would have croissants and bread with a cafe creme in one of the beautiful cafes.  I'd walk along the Seine, stopping in L'Orangerie, one of my favorite art museums.  Lunch would be at Miznon, an Israeli restaurant in Le Marais.  Afterwords, I'd do some shopping.  Paris is filled with beautiful stores! I would stop by my favorite garden in the Palais Royale. I'd meet friends for an outdoor aperatif in a cafe and then we'd all go to dinner at a favorite restaurant such as Beaucoup or Verjus.  That is my perfect day.

12. What is the craziest gift you have ever received?
My mom is known for giving crazy gifts.  One year for my birthday she gave me a piggy bank.  It was a purple pig in pink high heels and it was wearing a feather boa.  I don't even know where you find something like that!

13. Give us some insight on how you personally, or your shop, gives back to your community.
I have just started a new program that I'm very excited about called Share to Give.  Customers share the recipes that they made from the subscription box on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.  For every share, I give 10 cents to No Kid Hungry, a program that helps fight child hunger in the US.  You can find out more information here:

14. What's next for you?
I am teaming up with a friend who has this amazing airstream trailer company called Clubhouse Caravans on a few events.  She has these renovated airstream trailers that can be used as bars, stores, lounges, etc for weddings and other events.  We are going to create a mobile store at events such as the Hayes Valley Urban Air Market and the Patchwork Show in Oakland.  Visit us there!

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