Who's Behind NM?

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Nature Manipulated (NM) creates visual, wearable and practical art that reflects upon nature and all of its elements. At NM, we believe that everything is a part of nature, some things are just "nature manipulated."

NM specializes in one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry, handmade greeting cards, nature photography and other unique accessories.

To read more about who's behind NM, please click here.
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Monday, March 31, 2008

Decorating Your Baby's Room With My Sweet Dreams Art

Ever since my nephew was born, I've been drawn to baby stuff, noticing more and more how cute children's things are. One day, while browsing through the forums on Etsy, I found myself in a thread about monkeys. I love monkeys! One of the posts had a link to the most adorable drawer knobs. One of the knobs had a zanzabar monkey on it. I instantaniously thought about my nephew's room and how cute the knobs would look on his dresser. Then I thought, how cute would the knobs look on my dresser?

Instead of immediatly replying to the post on the thread and telling the artist how great her knobs were, I decided I had to venture further into her shop. Upon entering, I learned that the shop was full of great items for a childs room.
My Sweet Dreams Art's monkey doorknobs are what grabbed my attention and drew me into the shop, but the personalized canvas pieces, wall letters and initials are what convinced me to ask artist, Julie Malhotra a few questions.

Spring is the time when you notice all the pregnant women. I've been seeing them left and right in the streets of New York. Everyone's pregnant, and if its not you, then you probably know someone who is. That means lots of rooms are being decorated, gifts are being bought, baby shower invitations are filling the mailbox, so what better time than now to explore Julie's shop and read her answers to my questions.

1. How would you describe your shop/business?

My Sweet Dreams Art carries a unique and original line of children's room decor and baby decor items. My Sweet Dreams nursery decor includes hand painted canvas wall hangings, personalized nursery artwork and wall letters/initials, hand painted drawer knobs and hair clip/bow holders. My fun and whimsical pieces are all hand painted and ready to hang in your baby's nursery, or child's room. My Sweet Dreams Art can be passed down from generation to generation so that children and their families can enjoy my nursery decor for many years to come. We are located in Toronto, Canada.

2. How long have you been making wall art/crafting for?

I have always been very creative as a little one, but became more serious about my art 7 years ago. My original focus was abstract, contemporary and landscape pieces. Since my pregnancy I have turned a new leaf and started to solely focus on children's art.

3. How did get into this line of work/hobby?

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I started creating pieces for her room, murals for her walls, and making personalized wall art for friends and family.

4. Where does your inspiration come from? What sorts of things inspire your work?

My first inspiration was my daughter. While she was growing inside of me I wanted to add a special and personal touch to her room and that's where My Sweet Dreams Art was originated. Today I get inspired by many different things, a toy, a song, a giggle, a smile...

5. What is your favorite piece? Why?

Hmmm... Well I have many favorites. Because all my pieces are custom designed, I have deveoloped a relationship with all my clients. Each painting I created has a story behind it. But I do love all my daughters stuff.

6. What do you like to do when you are not crafting?

I love spending time with my family.

7. Are your items available anywhere other than etsy?

Yes, I have my own personal website and my items will soon be seen and sold at two online stores: http://www.miamoon.ca and http://www.lollipopsandlizards.com

Business Name:My Sweet Dreams Art

Artist: Julie Malhotra

Location: Toronto, Canada

Website: www.mysweetdreamsart.com

Etsy Shop: artbymalhotra.etsy.com

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Etsy's Newbies Ask Their Questions

For many of us who have been on Etsy for awhile, things like BnR, Tag, SS, BKO make sense. Etsy has its own language and for newbies that language can take awhile to figure out. It takes awhile to learn the tricks of the trade on Etsy. You see shops with hundreds of sales, and others with very few. What are the shops with all the sales doing right? What are the others doing wrong?

Let us old-timers help the newbies out. Let's answer some of their questions. Let's define some acronyms for them, teach them how to post a link, and offer them some useful advice. Most of all, let's check out their shops and offer them encouragement, feedback and maybe even sales.

The other night I decided it would be a great idea to pick four new Etsy shops (shops opened after October 2007 and with less than ten sales) every week and allow the shop owners to ask their questions. It will be up to us old-timers to answer them (in the comments). After posting a thread calling all newbies that fit this criteria, I checked out all the shops posted and picked the ones I liked the most.

Here are the shops I chose and their questions...

rathina - Great light switch plate covers!

1. Would my shop get more sales if I offered international shipping?
2. What are the pros and cons of international shipping?
3. Is there some sort of guide for those who are new to international shipping?

Retablos' shop is full of wonderful retablo paintings.
According to Retablos, "In Mexican iconography a retablo carries special prayers and wishes to God. A familiar retablo painting (on wood or tin) would have someone who is ill lying in bed beseeching the Virgin Mary for intercession to regain their health."

1. What have you found to be the most effective avenue for promoting your shop?

Silver Moon Handcrafted Jewelry

1. What are some of the major changes (negative and positive) that you've experienced being on etsy from it's early years to the present?

2. Was it easier then to be successful as compared to now?

Lunar River Jewelry

What is the one promotional tool that you feel has helped you the most?


Etsy Acronyms
BnR - Buy and Replace
SS - Secret Shopper
BKO - Buy and Kick Off

How to post a link on Etsy
Type the full URL out including http://
When typing your Etsy shop address DO NOT put www
Example: http://naturemanipulated.etsy.com

"Etsy Newbies Ask Their Questions" will be hosted every week.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Erin & David of Crazy Times Candle & Bath Co. tell NM about their business

Crazy Times Candle & Bath Co. listed their first items on Etsy in January of 2008, and in nearly four months had 310 sales. Incredible! Shop owners, Erin and David must be doing something right! Maybe it's that Crazy Times is always participating in the forums, in BnRs, and other Etsy games. Maybe it's that their items are reasonably priced, ranging from $2.50-$40, or maybe it's that their items look too good to pass up. How can you turn down a cupcake for your body or a bunny for your boo boo?

After chatting a few times in the forums with Crazy Times, Nature Manipulated decided that their shop and pleasant manner warranted an interview. I decided to ask Erin and David a few questions about their business. Here is what they had to say...

1. How would you describe your shop/business?

We are a home based candle and bath & body business specializing in artisan candles and soaps, as well as all natural Spa Bath & Body items.

Our passion is to create the best possible quality products for our customers. We truly enjoy what we do and reflect that in our work to bring others the same joy.

2. How long have you been making soaps/candles/etc. for?

We started playing with wax in 2002. The testing process was quite long, but we had fun doing it and would not be satisfied without being able to make the best possible candle.

Our soaps and bath & body line followed a few years later in 2005, followed by our business becoming official in June of 2006.

3. How did get into this line of work/hobby?

Our love of candle making began in 2002 when we decided to attempt to make a great candle that burned evenly, cleanly, and was scented throughout.

The bath & body and soaps came a few years later as an expansion to our candles to offer diversity and a natural option for those who enjoy products free of chemicals as well as for those with sensitive skin.

Our bath & body products were developed to be gentle enough for the most sensitive skin. Many of our current customers say that our soaps are great for their eczema or psoriasis.

4. Where does your inspiration come from? What sorts of things inspire your work? (Examples)

We like to look at each of our candles and soaps as a work of art. Each one is slightly different and has its own look.

Our main inspiration was brought by dislike for poorly burning, weakly scented commercial candles. After we were satisfied with our candle making skills we focused on developing bath & body products and soaps for our sensitive skin.

5. What is your favorite piece? Why?

It is so tough to pick a favorite, but I think we would say we really enjoy making the chunk pillar candles because they are so interesting and require a few extra steps to make. Plus it’s always fun to get ready to take them out of the molds because before they come out their true beauty is still hidden inside of the aluminum mold.

We really enjoy making these chunk pillars in custom colors as well. That adds a little extra fun to our work.

6. What do you like to do when you are not crafting?

We enjoy spending time with our children, friends, and family.

Additionally, Erin has found a new hobby in crocheting and I enjoy working on computers with maintaining our websites and graphic designs.

When the weather gets a little better we love to camp as well.

7. Are your items available anywhere other than etsy?

We have had a website for two years now.

Also, we do quite a few craft shows in our area in the summer months and have several wholesale accounts in Wisconsin and Michigan.

We are always open to adding new wholesale accounts.

Our products have recently been featured on Wickedly Chic

Website URL: www.crazytimescandles.com

Etsy URL: crazytimescandles.etsy.com

Blog URL: crazytimescandles.blogspot.com

Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/crazytimescandles

Myspace: www.myspace.com/crazytimescandlescrafts

Thank you so much Erin and David!

There is probably a lot of Etsians and business owners that can learn from Erin and David. I hope you post your questions for them in the comments.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Interview with Etsy's elephantine

I've been eyeing elephantine's shop for quite awhile now. Owner/crafter Rachel has such adorable plush toys and paper goods. Her designs are so simple yet leave a lasting impression. Before I even purchased something from the shop, I new it would be my next feature. Shortly after I sent Rachel an message asking if she would answer a few questions, I purchased two cards from her shop.
Today I received the two cards I ordered. Now I have physically seen her work and I must say, I'm impressed. Not only are they cute, they came so nicely packaged. Each one in its own sleeve with an adorable elephantine seal.
Now that I am looking at my new cards, there is no better time than now to post my interview with Rachel. Here it goes....

1. How would you describe your shop/business?
My shop is a mix of the cute and the quirky - I try to create things that make you smile, but I also try to make them a little unexpected. I like having a personal connection to buyers, and always include a little note to them so they know I truly appreciate their support. I also have been working on creating a range of goodies so that my shop has variety and can be perfect for all sorts of people and occasions. When it comes down to it, though, it's really just all about sharing little bits of happiness.

2. How long have you been crafting for?
I've been into art my whole life - my dad's a painter and my mom's a graphic designer - but I really got into crafting within the last four or five months. I was looking for a new hobby after graduating from college, and making toys and paper goods turned out to be a really fun way to spend my time.

3. How did get into this line of work/hobby?
I saw a lot of other crafters, on etsy and elseware, and was very inspired by their work. Besides that, it really was just one of those things that happened - I picked up a piece of felt, started fiddling around with it, and it eventually it managed to turn into a little creature.

4. Where does your inspiration come from? What sorts of things inspire your work?
Definitely other etsy sellers. I constantly see shops that I am amazed by. I also read tons of blogs written by all sorts of people. It's hard for me to pin down specific examples, but Japanese pop culture is one of my big inspirations.

5. What is your favorite piece? Why?
My siamese twin plush is my most loved piece. It's two little guys in one, it's happy but lonely at the same time, and I get to think up a double name.

6. What do you like to do when you are not crafting?
Work, sleep, eat, play. I don't have any out of the ordinary hobbies - I like to enjoy the little things. I spend time blogging and also writing fiction - that's my one huge life goal, to write a novel.

7. Are your items available anywhere other than etsy
Yes; they can also be found made-to-order on www.elephantineplush.com

One more small bit of information: I'm currently working on a new project that I'm very excited about. I'll soon be selling a pack of goodies (including things like a yeti plush, notecards, etc.) and 30% of the proceeds will go toward adopting + supporting animals at the Woodland Park Zoo here in Seattle. Look for the pack and more info soon in my shop!

Business/Shop Name: elephantine

Location: Seattle, WA

Website URL: www.elephantineplush.com

Etsy URL: www.elephantine.etsy.com

Blog URL: www.elephantine.typepad.com

Flickr: http://flickr.com/photos/rachelchew/

I hope everyone enjoys elephantine as much as I do.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Featured Artist/Shop: Beautiful Greetings

It's been a really long time since I featured an artist/shop (actually, its been a long time since I posted anything), but today I was really inspired.
Yesterday afternoon, I decided to start a Buy and Replace on etsy. Unlike many of the BnRs on the site, this one only lists six shops at a time, making it SO much easier to look at all the shops and make friends. So far it's been a blast.
Some time this afternoon, Beautiful Greetings bought into the list. As I do when anyone new joins, I went to her shop, and OH MY GOODNESS! Her greeting cards are incredible. They are absolutely adorable and reasonably priced. I loved them so much I had to feature her.

So here goes the interview with Beautiful Greetings...

1. How would you describe your shop/business?
My shop features handmade greeting cards for most occasions. I love to stamp and watercolor to make each card unique. I am also a glitter-aholic! I make cards in my spare time and am always so excited to make a sale. Each sale is just as exciting as the first!

2. How long have you been making handbags/crafting for?

I have been making greeting cards for 6 years now. It all started when one of my friends asked me to help her with her wedding invitations. Now there is no turning back!

3. How did get into this line of work/hobby?

I decided to make my hobby a business when my brother suggested we sell at a local holiday bazaar. The thrill I received from others enjoying my cards was huge! I decided that I would try my hand online. I have been selling on Etsy for just over 2 months now and I am overjoyed with the response.

4. Where does your inspiration come from? What sorts of things inspire your work?

Penny Black stamps are my inspiration. Her designs are so adorable. I love to use her cute animals, especially hedgehogs, because the stamps are so versatile and always bring a smile.

5. What is your favorite piece? Why?

My favorite piece is my hedgehog and flowers cards. This particular stamp is good for any occasion and he always makes me smile.

6. What do you like to do when you are not crafting?

Besides crafting, I am a stay at home mother of three beautiful, active children. I am also a full time student at Western Governors University, finishing my degree in elementary education. Crafting, school and kids keeps me incredibly busy. Crafting keeps me sane!

7. Are your items available anywhere other than etsy?

You can also find a few of my items at an up and coming philanthropic crafters website called myyard-usa.com. The site is in it's beta release but is going to be fantastic.

Beautiful Greeting's cards can be found at beautifulgreetings.etsy.com
Also, check out her blog at beautifulgreetings.blogspot.com

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