Here are some of the questions I’ve received in my inbox in the last few weeks. Feel free to contact me any time through e-mail at email@example.com, twitter @lasertron (which is easiest for me), or by leaving a comment here!
Q: What are your favorite tools? (From Dirsta Paola)
A: I love using decorative fabric scissors–Fiskars makes some pretty good ones. When I work I also always use a felt needle book made by Jenn Maruska–it holds my needles, scissors, and threads and it’s perfect for traveling while I work. (I have to say, I wish I thought of these first! The little embroidered pictures are to DIE for!)
I also love pom pom makers for stress relief, the awesome camera tripod I got from my grandma, and my iPod Touch (totally replaced the phone for me).
Q: Why the move away from Etsy? (From LeeAnne)
A: I don’t like playing by their rules and the lack of shop customizability no longer works with my business plan. I also find Etsy culture to be extremely competitive, high-pressure, and overly fanatic.
I love shopping on Etsy, but I am phasing out selling there. I might use it just for side projects and hobby crafts.
Q: What do you usually have for breakfast? (From Sarah)
A: I usually wake up after lunchtime, so I eat whatever. Sometimes if I have a lunch meeting, I eat lunchy or dinnery food. If I’m at home I usually eat Multigrain Cheerios or I just wait for Dave to get home from work so we can eat together. If I am in the mood I will walk to the pastry shop in our neighborhood. And sometimes I am just not hungry–especially with morning sickness, I usually like to wait a few hours before eating my first meal.
Q: What is your favorite brand of purse? (From Susan)
A: I am not a purse person, I am a shoe person. I only carry a wallet and lipstick in my coat pocket–or Dave’s coat pocket–usually.
Q: Where do you draw the line between someone who is clearly inspired by your work vs someone who is clearly copying (and selling?) your ideas? How do you deal with that? (From Sandy)
A: Well I know that I did not invent the idea to make a bouquet of felt flowers. I am inspired and amazed by other textile artists who find ways to make fabric do things that I have never seen or imagined before. But I think that there is a clear difference to most people between an original idea and a copy of something somebody else has already made. I do own the copyright and patent to my main bouquet design which gives me some protection if I ever really needed it, but the best way to deal with knockoffs is to ignore them. Starting a war over it just feeds the problem and ignoring it puts it to an end.
A few years ago I would lose DAYS of work fretting about seeing copycats. It would ruin my week. I would lay awake at night thinking “What if I never make another dime? What if I’m unable to sustain my job?” But that line of thinking is self-damaging and unrealistic. The truth is, no matter what industry you’re in, if you were the first to design something or think of something, you have the advantage. You are always one step ahead.
It’s okay to be inspired by someone and try to make something yourself that you have seen in a store or on another website or in a book. That is what’s so fun about our crafting and creating community. But we have to be honest with ourselves and respectful of each other too. Most people know that.
Q: If someone wanted what you would consider to be a really horrible color combination for a bouquet, would you just take the order and make it for them to make them happy, or would you kindly suggest other colors? Has this ever happened? (From Stacy G.)
A: Hahaha! That has happened. If I find colors challenging, I usually work with an inspiration or mood board to visualize the different tones of a customer’s palette. Usually I can find a way to make it work, and then I have to be careful to use the perfect shades of fabric, buttons, thread, and other notions. A lot also has to do with the color balance–maybe a color combo looks totally gross with more brown, and much better with more purple, or something.
I communicate with the customers about my opinion and I ultimately create what they ask.