One of the fabulous members of the EtsyGreetings Team is Lisa who runs Handmade in Israel. Check out my interview with her!
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! My name is Lisa and my home based papercut art business is 'Handmade in Israel'. I am a forty something Mum to two lively, energetic boys and am married to Richard. We are both British born but now live in Israel.
What's your background?
For as long as I can remember I have been busy with my hands, crafting and making things. As a youngster I knew that I wanted to be an artist for a career. There was never a question in my mind of anything else. I have a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design from Liverpool John Moores University and before kids came along I worked as a graphic designer and art director, and often made cards to send to family and friends. When my last office job came to an end in 1998 my husband looked at some of my cards and suggested that other people might buy them. I approached a local store which immediately took them on, and from then on my days have been spent cutting, sticking and making my papercut cards, albums and pictures!
Your cards are so colorful and beautiful. What made you decide to make cards?
I've explained above how the card business started. More intricate papercut pictures were an extension of that and a couple of years ago a friend approached me with a request to make a customized album for her son's Bar Mitzvah. That added another product to my range and I have made many since then.
How did you come across Etsy? What made you take the plunge to sell online?
A friend sent me an e-mail telling me all about Etsy. I had been selling my cards for a number of years and often heard it said that someone had received one of them but didn't know how to get hold of some to send themselves. An online store was the obvious answer!
I started as an Etsy buyer but it took me a while to get the shop started, partly because of the time it takes to set up the shop and partly because, like many others I am sure, I was concerned that others might not think my work up to it! I am delighted I took the plunge!
We know it tends to get overwhelming at times trying to run a shop. How do you relax and de-stress?
My husband would probably tell you that I never relax! I am the first one up in the morning and often the last to bed at night. It means I get a lot done in the day!
Do you have any goals for your shop this year?
Sales, sales and more sales!
How to do keep yourself motivated?
Motivation has never really been an issue. My time is very precious. The boys leave for school at 8am and the youngest returns home already at 1:30pm. After that my time is spent making lunches, taking the boys to their extra curricular activities and generally running round after them! Therefore my time to work on my business is quite limited so I really try to use my time in the mornings as effectively as I can.
Have you received any memorable stories or comments regarding your work?
I am lucky enough to have received some wonderful feedback over the years, particularly for the customised cards that I create. Recently I received the following e-mail from a satisfied customer which really made my day! "Just want to let you know that Grandma B. loved the card. She thought it made her look a lot younger! Thanks for bringing joy to our family." It doesn't get better than that, does it?
What's a typical day for you?
I get my husband and kids out of the door around 7:30am. I quickly clear up the breakfast pots, make the beds, put on the washing machine and am, hopefully, sitting at my desk by 8:15am. I really try my best to stay there until it is time to go to school at 1:15pm unless I have to go to The Post Office or run an errand. My afternoons are dedicated to my kids.
So many Etsians struggle to run a shop and balancing the rest of their lives. How do you juggle being a mom and running your shop? Do you have any tips for staying organized?
My husband and friends would tell you that I am obsessively organized, to the point of driving my husband a little mad! However, it does mean that the house is kept reasonably tidy, the kids take whatever they need to school and I am able to run my business as effectively as I can.
Etsy has been a wonderful experience for me and has provided me with an online gallery for my work, but my store must develop a little more for me to be rushed off my feet with it! Fortunately I receive a lot of private orders and sell at a number of gift and Judaica stores which keeps me busy.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I really do not like grapefruit!
Do you have any favorite Etsy shops?
Oh, many! I adore Sweet Harvey. Susan Taylor's prints are fabulous. Not long ago I bought myself a beautiful necklace from Anac Designs. I also have a soft spot for softies and think that Skunkboys Creatures pieces are amazing.
Any words of wisdom or advice for our readers?
If the design is not working to your satisfaction put it aside and do something else. I am not always so good at this myself but when I do put my words into practice the results are always very positive. It's amazing how something that has been driving you mad for quite some time can easily come right just from a little time out.
And lastly, where can we find you?
Obviously the first place to look is my Etsy shop. I also love blogging and try to update my blog at least twice a week. I find that blogging encourages me to make and create more and more because I want to have something new and exciting to show. I also blog a little about my life here in Israel. Israel is such a tiny country but it never fails to amaze me how varied the landscape is here and so I occasionally drop in a few photos from the various hikes, outings and days out that I have enjoyed with my husband and two boys.
I can also be found on the other usual places: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr.