Wow, is it Tuesday already? This week we look at the wonderful Etsy shop of Stephanie curator of Old Soul Style from Charlotte, North Carolina. I found her shop while searching Etsy for local shops and I am not sure how it happened but I ended up in a North Carolina Buy and Replace Treasury. I enjoyed chatting with her and looked forward to joining in her BNR's. While looking at her shop to write her feature I was once again struck by how inventive and creative she is. Her cards are fresh and clean with a touch of her sense of humor lurking beneath. Stephanie often hosts the Etsy BNR's and she is so sweet and patient with the new shops. So, please take a few moments and read about this great shop. Where is your hometown? My hometown is the small town of Roxboro, NC. What do you like about where you live now? I live in Charlotte, NC and if I had my way then I would live somewhere much smaller. I do, however, love the fact that Charlotte is situated between the mountains and the coast because I enjoy visits to both. I also like that I no longer have to drive 30 minutes to an hour to find a craft supply store or a nice restaurant, though I hate the city traffic. Tell us a little about your daily life. Do you work outside of the home? My daily life is a little off balance recently. I have always worked full-time, but due to bad economic times and various other circumstances, I have been working only part-time since November. I work in the field of education and having a full-time teacher position is the ultimate goal. Since I no longer have a 40+ hour work week, I have a lot more time to devote to creating things and running my shop. There is always a plus side to everything. How did you get started with Etsy? Etsy was suggested to me by a friend. I had never heard of it but now I love it! What inspires you? I am inspired by so many things and my inspirations are constantly changing. I love anything that is or appears to be vintage or old. I also am drawn to birds, flowers, and unique patterns. Lately, I have begun stamping and I am addicted to rhinestones. How did you begin with your art? I started making and creating at a very young age. In fact, as a child I did not just sit around and play with toys very much and I definitely never owned a video game system. I was always creating something (usually with my brother). Sometimes, we would sit in our basement and write stories or songs or go outside and make elaborate forts or something out of scraps from my Dad’s tool shed. There was always a desire to create and eventually I found myself asking for craft kits for every special occasion: candle-making, beading, Christmas ornaments, cross-stitch, etc... If you can name it - then I probably had it! I can still remember my fourth grade teacher telling me that I had a “creative eye” and that has always seemed to stick with me. When I was thirteen, I received my first scrapbook kit. I fell in love! That was back before scrapbooking became so popular and there were no snazzy embellishments and special tools so my very first scrapbook pales in comparison to my new ones. Scrapbooking was the one craft that I have continued with and that transitioned into my other paper crafts. I started making jewelry with my Mom a couple of years ago and that is how that became a component of my shop as well. I am tinkering with the idea of only having the paper goods in my shop so that I have a clear focus and cohesive look. I really enjoy making cards and tags more than anything! What do you do for fun? As far as hobbies go, besides creating things for myself, others or my Etsy shop, I enjoy cooking, reading (Our State magazine is one of my favorites), writing and watching movies with my husband. We enjoy trying new restaurants and traveling as well. How would you describe your experience with Etsy? Etsy has been wonderful! I have had only positive experiences and I enjoy the ability to share my art with the world. Making a little profit from my hobby is definitely a perk too! What advice would you give to an Etsy beginner? My advice would be to not give up! I went through many ups and downs in the beginning. There were also times when I would get frustrated and shut my shop down and then reopen it again. It is all about staying positive and finding your niche. As a buyer and seller what excites you the most about either? As a seller, I love a sale! It is exciting to see that someone loves something that I have created. I also think it is amazing that some of my creations have traveled across the world. As a seller, I look to by interesting supplies and things that I do not make. How do you deal with orders, do you have a system? As my policies state, I try to ship all orders within 5 business days and I am usually pretty good about sticking to that. I usually wait until I have several orders and then I sit down and package them all at once. It is my least favorite part of the process. What type of packaging do you use or found that works the best. I place my items in a plastic bag with my shop label stapled at the top. My items are packaged for gift-giving! I then recycle my husband’s cereal boxes to create little sleeves to protect my paper goods from getting bent. He usually empties one every couple of days – so I have a steady flow coming in. Then I place them in manila envelopes and seal them shut. I protect the jewelry items with bubble wrap. My cost of shipping barely covers the cost of the postage – but I have no intentions of trying to profit on shipping costs. What type of shipping service do you use? I use the United States Postal Service What type of payment processing do you use? Have you tried Amazon? I always accept Paypal and I will take a money order by special request. Are you on any Etsy teams? If so what do you like about Etsy teams? I am a member of the Dachshund Team, BNRaddicts Team, Etsy Paper Team and Night Owls of Etsy. I love the comraderie and the networking opportunities of the teams. I also like it when people create treasuries just to showcase team members’ art. What do you think about the BNR Experience? BNRs are great and so much fun! I have met and got to know so many awesome people/sellers through BNR treasuries. I have also made a good amount of sales and bought some incredible stuff. Do you curate BNR’s? I do curate BNRs. I usually run about 2 per week if my schedule allows. If so tell us a bit about how you decided to run BNR’s. I decided to run BNRs shortly after being featured in a starting spot of one. Before that I did not know what they were. Now it is just another component of Etsy that I enjoy! Is there someone that you would recommend to mentor a newbie to the BNR? There are so many great curators that I would hate to name names. I would offer a bit of advice though, if someone is thinking about running a BNR they need to watch and sit through quite a few before deciding to curate. Then when you begin to curate be sure to create rules you can stick by, be fair and keep notes so you don’t leave buyers out of your next round. Do you sell your products on other sites, or have blogs if so list the link. So far, Etsy is the only place that I have really tried to sell my handmade items. In the future, I hope to make some connections and get involved with some craft fairs and shows. My blog is www.oldsoulstyle.blogspot.com My facebook is www.facebook.com/oldsoulstyle Please recommend someone you would like to see featured on our blog. It does not have to be an Etsy shop. LavenderKay! We have so much in common and I have enjoyed getting to know her – first in FS Chat and later in BNRs. She is a great seller/buyer and she was the first to introduce me to BNRs.