Today's interview focuses on Libby Goldsmith of Maylees Garden. Libby is also the leader of our Bluegrass etsy team! We hope you enjoy getting to know a little more about her!
How did you first hear about etsy?
A good friend of mine, Kelly went from ebay to Etsy. I too was selling on Ebay at the time in 2006. Her shop was my first exposure to Etsy, and I fell in love with it! It was cheaper than Ebay for sure and it featured ONLY handmade goods. At the time this was not commonplace like it is now. So of course I jumped on the bandwagon along with some others who made the style of clothing I make. I been on Etsy ever since. So my thanks to Kelly, for finding Etsy to begin with and heading over there and talking so much about it.
Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art!
I am a work at home mama of 2 boys ages 11 and 16 and a girl who will be 2 in October on the 15th. I have been sewing plus size clothing since 2005, and I have been making soap seriously since 2007. I am a fibromyalgia survivor, and an arthritis survivor. I have chronic pain every day but I am determined to not let it slow me down. Life with chronic pain is difficult at times, and also frightening at other times if I have a flare up that is severe. It effects every aspect of my life, but I have become a stronger person for it. I always say as long as I have my right mind and my two good hands, I can create.
I am a columnist for handmadenews.org in the Marketing Dept. I have always loved writing, and I seem to have a knack for marketing so it made sense I would end up with this job. We have some very talented writers in the marketing Dept including our own Kellibeans who is a wiz at this stuff. Check us out!
I have a fan page on Facebook and a personal page. I love having new fans and friends so friend me and fan me! Also be sure to visit my crafty blog.
I am also the leader of this Etsy team now! I am quite proud of what we have done here in bringing the handmade movement to Kentucky and promoting ourselves as a team. I get really excited thinking of where this team can go. We have done so much this year, I expect next year to be even bigger and better!
Needless to say I am pretty busy, but when I get a spare moment I like to dabble in other arts and crafts, I have picked up crocheting lately, and spinning my own yarn from wool. I also like to dabble in dying methods, tie dye, batik, all the fun messy stuff! I like to keep an open mind creatively. I stumbled upon my talent for making clothing by accident, so I wonder what other talents are in my head just waiting to come out and play!
I can't say I have one favorite craft, I love sewing and I also love making soap too. I can use my creativity in different ways with both mediums. I love blending scents and inventing new ones with my soap. With my clothing I love making new patterns, and I get a great deal of joy from knowing I have made a plus sized woman feel beautiful. All too often plus size ladies feel less than gorgeous, and its sad. I happen to think plus size is the best size! Big mama's Unite!
How did you get started as a designer?
My mother has always been pretty crafty, She made soft sculptured dolls back in the 80's and I would help her with them. Mom was always creating something even if it was just the awesomest supper you ever ate. Mom and her endless creativity has been a huge inspiration. My father was also quite creative, he built me the most gorgeous furniture. I will treasure it always. His masterpiece was a bench made from an old twin size headboard and footboard for a bed. He used the headboard for the back of the bench and cut the footboard in half to make the sides of the bench. He added a board to sit on and some nice decorative touches, and Voila! I have a true work of art that starts up many conversations right in my house. Mom and Dad were my first inspiration to create, the seed was planted when I was just a wee girl. It has grown over the years.
What inspires you to create?
When I sniff my essential oils, I get ideas for blending. When I see beautiful fabric it inspires me to make something pretty with it. The changing of seasons is a big inspiration too. I love using the colors and scents of fall or spring in my work with soap and clothing. I draw a lot of inspiration from nature with both my chosen art forms. I like to keep my soaps as natural and pure as I can while still having fun with the medium, and I like to represent nature in my appliques on my clothing. My favorite applique I have designed is one with cat tails by a pond. My next favorite is my tree with the big roots.
How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy and how did you hear about the team?
I found out about the team from the team page on Etsy. I was pretty happy to see there was a team for Kentucky. I joined up in 2007...I think. It's been a while. I was one of the first several members invited to our Ning site after it got set up. I was very honored when Corinne asked me to be the leader when she had to move out of state. It has been quite an adventure and I have learned so much through doing this. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.
Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?
Promote yourself, be friendly online, join several social networks and get your name "out there." Make yourself visible to people and they will see how cool you are and of course want to check your shop out.
Make sure your shop looks good, great pictures, good descriptions, use all the tags Etsy gives you to use to describe your items, and read up on SEO and what it means for you and your business. Educate yourself to how the internet works, and how search engines work to make yourself be more visible. Check out Google base as well. Etsy doesn't list each of your listings to Google you have to do that part yourself. So get down to Google Base and get it done! The more traffic you can pull from google searches the more sales you will make. Bottom line is, READ! Dig in the internet and educate yourself, it is a lot of work at first to promote a new shop and to get the sales, but once you get the customer base its easier over time. All your hard work in the beginning will pay off, just don't give up! If other people are successful selling online there is no reason why YOU can't be successful too. Be passionate, think positive, and go for it!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Think positive. Project a beautiful future for yourself. Hugz are free so give and receive them often. Love each other. Smile a lot. Don't sweat the small stuff, seriously. Life is short, live it joyfully!
Thanks Libby for allowing us to interview you. We are happy to have you leading our team, as you are so driven and enthusiastic! If readers have any questions for Libby, please leave a comment. She is eager to share her marketing ideas with everyone. And if you haven't tried her soaps, you don't know what you're missing! Check out her Maylees Garden etsy shop and her artfire shop!
To see more of the talented artists from Kentucky Handmade, go to www.etsy.com and type teambluegrass in the search box.
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