Our feature today is the very hip shop of Raige Creations, one of my fellow Asheville Street Team members. Tokini's how cute are they? Her shop also sells vintage items. Asheville is a great city for creative and craft folks to live and Riage's Etsy shop is a perfect example of craft meets creative. Well, I will stop chatting now and let you read all about this great Etsy shop. Best Wishes BL Where is your hometown? I grew up in a suburb of Buffalo, NY. I got to experience all the snow, blizzards, and Lake Effect storms anyone could ever hope for. J What do you like about where you live now? We recently moved to the mountains of North Carolina, and so far I love nearly everything about where we are now. What I love about this area, first but certainly not the only thing, is the mountains themselves. They are just amazing, beautiful, and take my breath away each time I see them. I almost don’t mind shopping at Wal-mart, because when you walk out of there, the view is breathtaking! I also love that everyone we have met here is friendly and makes us feel welcome. Coming from NY, that is a real treat. Tell us a little about your daily life. Do you work outside of the home? After working many years in the corporate world, I am thankful that I can now concentrate on Raige Creations, and my family. My day consists of making sure the kids get to school, and then take whatever comes my way as a cue as to what direction the day will have. If I have a sale, the morning goes in a slightly different direction than if I don‘t. The morning involves getting the order ready to ship and heading out to the Post office. If there has not been a sale, I either write an article for IndieSmiles.com or my blog, or create, but usually it is a little bit of each. By afternoon, I prepare for the kids coming home with dinner prep and cleaning up the mess I no doubt created. I try to have checklists each day, and tick off as much as I can each day. I do love the flexibility, though, and when the mood takes me in one direction, I usually follow. How did you get started with Etsy? A bout of unemployment plus a gift of a crochet hook and some practice yarn for Christmas got me started with Etsy. I created some bags and purses as my first projects once I started crocheting again (hadn’t done it since I was a child). After seeing what I could do, I thought, maybe someone would buy my creations. I read about Etsy in Real Simple magazine, my favorite magazine, and checked it out and it seemed like a great place to start. What inspires you? I love to create fun things, to try to change people’s ideas of crochet. It’s not just old fashioned stuff - it can be cool and fun. I love vintage things too, because of the life each item had before what it is now. The story behind the item adds so much to what is can be in its new life. How did you begin with your art? Art in my life began as far back as I can remember. Art and music was always in our house. My father played the piano and organ, my mother was a professional photographer who also dabbled in other mediums. My grandmother was a piano teacher and also made quilts. It wasn’t until after they all had passed that I really embraced my creativity as my main work. What do you do for fun? When we moved here to the mountains, we tried zip-lining with Navitat, and I absolutely had a blast! I can’t wait to do it again, and I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks they can’t have fun anymore. On a more regular basis, I enjoy walking and taking in nature and the beautiful views. How would you describe your experience with Etsy? I have met so many great people because of Etsy, and have learned so much about creating and selling in the online marketplace. It has been a great experience, and continues to teach me, and I continue to meet other fabulous creators. What advice would you give to an Etsy beginner? It is difficult to give advice, being that I feel like I still have so much to learn. I could suggest that any beginner in the online marketplace needs to have patience, work hard, and most of all, enjoy what they create. There are many tough days to get through, so if you don’t enjoy what you are creating, it will be even harder to sell what you create. Have fun, take good pictures, and be active online. The opportunities to meet other artisans in your area are great so you should embrace that. Don’t get discouraged if things start out slow. Remember why you started, and see if that can get you through. As a buyer and seller what excites you the most about either? As a buyer, of course it is the thrill of getting your new item to use and enjoy. As a seller, it is tough to explain the feeling when one of the items you created, put so much into, was good enough that someone want is and is willing to pay you for it. I get giddy every time I have a sale, and can’t help smiling all day. How do you deal with orders, do you have a system? What type of packaging do you use or found that works the best. As I eluded to above, I deal with orders by smiling a lot and feel giddy. I take each order as it comes, package each with the same care, and get to the post office as soon as I can. What type of shipping service do you use? I use US Postal Service. I have found that to be the best way to ship my items. The shipping time is very good, and the cost is great compared to some other services. What type of payment processing do you use? I use Paypal and also take checks from people I know. Have you tried Amazon? Just as a buyer Are you on any Etsy teams? If so what do you like about Etsy teams? I am a several teams. Handmade logy Team, Pure Handmade Team, On Fire for Handmade Team, Handmade Harbor Team, The Asheville Etsy Street Team, and the Active Asheville Artists Association Team. Phew! I try to be active in these team, as they are all full of supportive people. I also try to support others so we can all benefit from these teams. When we moved here I was so pleasantly surprised there were so many people in the Asheville area on Etsy. Some of the first people I met after we moved here are Etsy people I met online, and I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t’ for Etsy. What do you think about the BNR Experience? I have never taken part in a BNR. Do you sell your products on other sites, or have blogs if so list the link. I have three online shops at the moment, and try to keep up with a blog, as well as write for IndieSmiles.com, and I try to keep a presence on face book too. Recently, a local gift shop has decided to carry some Raige Creations items, and so far that has been great. The gift shop is in Weaverville, called Stacies, and right on Main Street. All of their cut goes to help their Home Health Care business, so I am thrilled to be represented there. www.zibbet.com/RaigeCreations www.etsy.com/shop/raigecreations www.artfire.com/users/RaigeCreations www.raigecreations.blogspot.com www.facebook.com/RaigeCreations Please recommend someone you would like to see featured on our blog. It does not have to be an Etsy shop. My friend Terri Riley, from POPEmbroidery, formerly Paper On Parade, also moved to the Asheville area recently. We met through Zibbet.com, and met in person a few months ago and hit it off immediately. She makes great key fobs and embroidered items. www.zibbet.com/PaperOnParade. Thank you!