This weeks blog feature is for Eileen at SayYourPiece. She creates Custom Ceramic Gifts on Etsy! She says, "Have your say at Say Your Piece! Here you'll find affordable handpainted & kiln-fired ceramic pieces that express the sentiment that YOU choose." I really love this adorable teardrop Missing you dish. What a great item to send to someone you are missing.
Tell me a little about yourself, your store and what you sell.
I am first and foremost a mom to my (eek!) sixteen year-old daughter and wife to my husband of (omg!) twenty-five years. I have two Etsy stores (okay, one is MUCH more active than the other!). At SayYourPieceToo, I offer whimsical hand-painted bisque plates and tiles for special occasions. At SayYourPiece, I sell hand-built ceramic pieces of many different designs; all of which can be customized/personalized to make them that much more special for each of my clients.
How long have you been making the craft/art that you sell? What started your interest in it? How did you learn? / What made you decide to turn your art/craft into a business? What support or inspiration have you had along the way?
I’ve been working in ceramics in various forms for about six years now. It began when I first saw a ceramic piece bearing the imprint of the hands and feet of my good friend’s little one. I just fell in love and SO wished that I had been able to have one made for my little girl. By that time, though, my daughter was already well past babyhood. My heart actually ached at the idea that I’d missed out, and the idea slowly grew that I would start a small business making sure that other moms didn’t have to feel the way I did! Because I was totally committed to being home to raise my one and only, it seemed the perfect idea. That was the beginning of Clayful Moments (http://www.clayfulmoments.com) and “KidPrint Keepsakes”, which is a business that still exists today, and has expanded to include several other activities.In ceramics, one learns by doing… and wrecking a lot of clay! I started with the KidPrint Keepsakes, moved on to pouring my own pieces from slip, then worked on improving my hand-painting technique, and finally got into hand-building the small pieces that I sell on Say Your Piece!. The inspiration for most of what I do comes from my deeply held belief that family and commitment are the most important things in life. Anything that celebrates the special times in our lives, the dedication that we have to one another, and the absolute blessing that is our children is inspiration for me. Fortunately, I find that so many Etsy clients feel the same way, and so are enthusiastic about and supportive of my work. It is, truly, very validating and very gratifying.
Do you have any other hobbies / interests?
Outside of my family and my work, my greatest enjoyment comes from watching my daughter play sports. She is a wonderful girl, a great student (okay, she gets all A’s, but I have nag her A LOT!), an exceptional shortstop and a MONSTER defensive basketball player. Her father and I soak up every second of her play that we can.My other new hobby is following blogs! Until Etsy, I had no idea that there were so many creative and talented people out there with their own blogs. I marvel at people who have so much to say and who take the time to say it! I especially love food-related blogs like Sunday Baker (http://comeandpeek.blogspot.com/) and another by one of my fabulous clients called The Cutting Edge of Ordinary (http://thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.com/). Of course, MrsFatFace has been added to the list very recently!
How long have you been selling on Etsy? Do you sell full or part time?
I signed up at Etsy back in April of 2008, but really didn’t nurture it because I was in the middle of a very large preschool project with Clayful Moments. I really got going in July, and so now have been working at it for about eight months. Hard to say if I do it full time or part time… sometimes it seems very part-time, other times it seems that there isn’t enough time in a day!
Do you sell outside of Etsy? If so where?
I maintain a website for my hand-built and hand-painted pieces (http://www.say-your-piece.com), but have recently streamlined and linked everything over to Etsy. I’m considering other venues, and if I can find one that markets itself well, I will certainly pursue it.
What is your favorite way to promote your Etsy store?
Honestly, this is probably my biggest area of weakness. I’m happy for opportunities such as this… blog features have been very helpful. I do spend time in the Etsy forums, usually though the motive is to learn something new or get a specific question answered. I must say that I have been extremely fortunate that many of my clients who have happened across my work on Etsy have become almost regulars. The fact that they can get gifts that are tailored to their friends and family, and that these gifts can’t really be found anywhere else seems to bring them back again and again. I do hope that this is something that continues and grows over time.
Do you have a blog? If so what is your blog address, and what do you feature / write about?
I do not blog. Because it seems that EVERYBODY else does, I have considered it, but I simply can’t figure out how I could keep one going for more than a week! I have plenty to say, but most of it isn’t related to my work. The danger for me would be lapsing into political discourse and I’m a firm believer that politics and business should not be mixed (witness Washington DC!).
What is the thing that you are most proud of?
Not surprisingly, I am most proud of raising a lovely girl and nurturing a marriage that has provided my daughter with an understanding of the importance of family and a strong sense of security. Having two parents who model and consistently verbalize their commitment to doing whatever is right for the family will be invaluable to our daughter as she embarks on her life. Making sure that she is educated, healthy, happy, well-balanced and a good human being is everything to both of us.
What do you wish you had more time for?
I don’t think there’s a mother out there that doesn’t wish for more “down time” with her family. Unfortunately, it’s not my activities that create the time crunch; if it were, I’d just rearrange my schedule! Between my husband’s work and my daughter’s school, sports and friends, the time just doesn’t exist. So we do the best that we can with the time that we have.
What is your favorite part of the day?
It’s a toss up between the end of the day when we are all finally home together, and the time during the day when everyone is gone and I can fulfill orders or create new pieces. Playing with clay can be exceptionally therapeutic…. hence the popularity of Play Doh!
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