Carla, one of our fearless leaders, from 716 Buffalos took a little time out of her schedule to share a little more about herself.
Please tell us a bit about yourself?
-Proud mama of a May 2013 masters degree-holder!
-Professional graphic designer for over 30 (yikes!) years. I'm especially proud of the candy and popcorn labels I designed for the Hard Rock in Vegas.
-Collector of vintage stuff (Beatles memorabilia, art deco, '50s kitsch, mid-century modern and everything in between) for over 40 (yikes!) years.
I left Buffalo in 1982, lived in Washington, DC and Florida before coming home in 2001. My Etsy shop was 4 days old when I made my first sale.
What do you create? How long have you been working on your craft/art?
I make Buffalo-centric jewelry with vintage found objects and broken jewelry bits'n'bobs, all bought locally. Each piece is One of a kind and is inspired by the people, culture, architecture and events in Buffalo's history. I started making found-objects jewelry one year ago, but it was Beatles songs-inspired (and then I worried about copyright infringement, so those items are just for me).
How does Buffalo influence your work?
I didn't love this city until I moved back, and now I'm obsessed with it! I read and research constantly, and bug one of my BFFs for info (she's a docent for the walking tours). I love the people, events, history, architecture and rebirth. I love how many Buffalonians are as geeked as I am about our city ... I'm talkin' proud!
How did you come up with your store name?
I actually changed the name and then got freaked out when they said it could be changed only once --- so 716 Buffalos was a last-minute decision. And it's seven hundred and sixteen, not seven-one-six. Have you noticed my prices end in 716? It's marketing, baby :)
What is the best thing about having an Etsy shop?
I love the creative outlet and everything I learn while I'm researching Buffalo. I love meeting other Etsians and customers. I love making a few extra bucks.
How do you promote your work to the world?
I talk a lot! :) And I spend an obscene amount of time online posting on Etsy, Facebook and Pinterest. It helps to have friends and family who talk me up.
What is the hardest part about selling online?
Making it real! Virtual shopping has its drawbacks --- a customer can't hold your whatever in their hands to inspect it, so descriptions have to be thorough AND interesting, and the pictures have to be crisp and clear. I shoot at least 40 pictures of each item to get five that I think are usable.
Where can your work be found locally?
Only in my studio (OK, it's a corner of my bedroom!)
Do you have any up and coming art shows/craft shows that you would like us to know about?
I do not, but I will happily attend the shows my fellow Etsians are participating in. I've been known to buy from y'all.
Do you have any advice or suggestions for new sellers to etsy?
I'm still a new seller (my anniversary is May 28), but I know you can't just hang the "open" sign and expect your shop to be found. At a minimum, join teams, participate on the boards and curate treasuries.
Open a Facebook shop page, but don't simply post your shop items---make it interesting! I got the most views and comments when I posted a pic of Johnny Depp in all his layered-necklaces glory!
Don't be selfish: Promote other Etsians and they'll do the same for you!
We can't be experts on everything, so do your homework: research Etsy like crazy (help topics, forum searches, etc.). I lean on our own team geniuses for tips on social media and the icky taxes and business details.
Where can you be found online?
*next week we will learn a little bit about Alison Kurek from Silent Mylo Studios