Friday, August 22, 2014

Buffalo Etsy Team Interview: Kelly from Nest Well


How long has Nest Well been on Etsy? What was your first shop offering? How long was it before you had your first sale?

>>> We opened our shop in April 2013. In December 2012 I received a sewing machine for Christmas from my mother in law. Once I ran out of things to sew around the house, I thought it would be a great way to start making gifts, and covers for others. Etsy seemed to be a natural progression. We initially offered wine bags and a few pillows, vintage tea towels and covers. Our first sale was that same month, with a wine bag to a friend of the family, and then things really started to roll. Over 180 orders later and it is still a thrill to hear the cha-ching ring out from our phones/ipad throughout the house!

Is Nest Well your full-time job?

>>> No, it is not. Bill and I both work full time—myself as a Physician Assistant, and Bill works for a medical software company. We also have 2 little boys, who are the light of our lives.  We keep busy with our schedules but always find time to create, design and push our company to the next level. Typically, most work is done after the kids are asleep so that we can maximize our time with them, although I have been known to sew outdoors during a nice afternoon of sprinkler time with the kids. The drive to constantly evolve and show what we have to offer, keeps us going sometimes late into the evening.

My sewing den is in the basement and my table was a roadside find that I cleaned, sanded and stained.My chair (with the stack of fabric) used to belong to Bill's grandfather. 

Describe your design aesthetic. Where do you find inspiration?

>>> Our design aesthetic is that of industrial vintage with a cozy cottage feel. I tend to sway in the direction of soft linens, with a focus on quality and craftsmanship. We love shopping for inspiration and pouring over design catalogs. There is also something about the look of a beautiful piece of wood or a rusted piece of metal. Inspiration can also come from a spin around the neighborhood, we are never opposed to picking up a roadside beauty or sifting around a dusty vintage shop. It is nice to find lost treasures, give them a new life and then transfer that to a new idea or product.

Your husband, Bill, is the other half of Nest Well. Describe the division of labor.

>>> Bill is a huge part of our company. He does all the woodcraft, partially because I do not yet trust myself with a saw or drill, but also because he is really good at it. He loves to figure out a new design, and all I have to do is make a suggestion and he creates it the same day. He processes and ships most items. We make major decisions together, like pricing, wholesale orders and new products. I do most of the shopping and also the sewing.

Bill's work station was built by him and is out in the garage.  

How much of your time do you spend on business versus inspiration?  >>> Inspiration is a constant throughout the day. That never stops, but hands-on work and labor is usually just in the evening hours. Weekends are a bit different, depending on our schedules. Emailing and working from our computers and mobile devices is a constant as well and we try to be swift about customer inquiries. We always appreciate a new customer finding us in the vast Etsy world and want to keep their business. In the future the shift and division of time may change but for now, this works great for us.

Describe your greatest success. Any epic failures you can laugh about now?

>>> Our greatest success has got to be our beer carriers. We started those because my husband enjoys brewing and drinking craft beers. Being in our 30s, carrying a ‘bag of beers’ or throwing them in the diaper bag seemed a bit outdated, so the carrier was a great solution! Thankfully others feel the same way! We have not yet had any major fails but we do have a lot to laugh about. I call us attic-addicts because of our love for ‘junk,’ as my dad calls it. Once my mom called me on my way home from work, it was about 9:30 and dark. As I was on my Bluetooth I had pulled over on a busy road to haul old fence posts into the back of my car. I thought she would die. Just the other day, Bill ran out to pick up a set of vintage lockers from Craig’s List, and each time I make him call me to let me know he is still alive.

Any new products on the horizon?

>>> I would love to add a Nestwell Baby line and a home fragrance line. Organic wraps, fun pillow covers and linen crib sheets are on the horizon. Right now, we are trying to gear up for the fall and holiday season. We recently launched a 22oz carrier for the home brewers, which has been a request for awhile, and seems to already be a popular addition.

Are your products available locally, and if so, where?

>>> We offer our products at Patricia’s Back Barn in Wheatfield. We are also planning on offering our carriers at Niagara Tradition Homebrew Supply in Tonawanda. Custom requests are always available by contacting us, and local delivery/pick up is always free of charge. We are signed up to attend the Sharon Springs Harvest Festival in September, we are looking forward to it as it is our first outdoor show. Etsy will also be attending that show so we are very excited to show them in person what we can do!

Lastly, and just for fun: In what stores would you love to see your products?

>>> If we ever had the opportunity to work with a large company, we would be thrilled to keep it local initially.  Premier Gourmet would be a dream, especially because of their vast array of beverages for the beer lover, I think it would be a perfect  fit.   A partnership with Wegmans for a summer line would also be fabulous.

Colin is our 5 year old watermelon loving boy, Keegan will be 3 in 2 weeks and is our firecracker. Parker is our golden doodle who never sits still long enough for a picture. 

Here's where new friends and followers can find Nest Well online:

Many thanks to Nicole Johnson of Mealy Monster for initiating the original Buffalo Etsy Team interviews!

Until I ask questions again, this is Carla from 716 Buffalos wishing you a happy almost-autumn and loads of Buffalove!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Creatures and Bugs from the Buffalo Etsy Team

Creatures and Bugs curated by Buffalove on Etsy

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

In the Garden from the Buffalo Etsy Team

In the Garden curated by Buffalove on Etsy

Monday, August 4, 2014

Workshop #1 -- Show Them What You've Got!

Buffalo Etsy Team Workshop Series  #1
Show Them What You’ve Got!

Photography for the Etsy Shop Owner (and other online sellers) 

Recently the Buffalo Etsy Team held the first in a series of workshops 
for Etsy shop owners and online sellers. The focus of this workshop was product photography.

Professional Freelance photographer, Mark Busch ( ) presented a very interesting and informative workshop on how to take great photos with the equipment you have.

Mark began with a basic overview of photographic terminology and camera settings; not only for professional grade cameras, but for point and shoot cameras as well.

Next Mark explained to participants how to use inexpensive and often-on-hand items to improve their photos. PVC pipe, work lights with clamps, a cardboard box, white paper and aluminum foil were all put to use at various times.

 Mark also demonstrated how to use an inexpensive light box (found on

The workshop was a great success, as you can see from the comments of the participants:

I’m inspired to use a light tent that I've had for a while but haven’t used.  The two lights that were clamped to the sides would be very helpful to me to give my jewelry added light.

I am now using the light setting on my camera to correct for the different types of available light.  I didn't even know that my camera had that function, but now that I do, I'm using it to somewhat correct for the poor lighting and different types of light conditions in our house.  

He also explained how to create a larger version of a light tent setup that used PVC pipes and a roll of craft paper.  Using that along with the light clamps on each side of the tent and above with paper to spread out the light would be very helpful with my larger felt items that might not fit in a light tent very easily (e.g. larger handbags or the felt scarves).  

I didn't realize Amazon would be a good source to purchase a light box to take photographs.  I did and am pleased with my purchase.  

I never thought about the type of light.  I always thought it only really mattered if it was bright enough.  Now I better understand how to compensate for lighting conditions that I’m using by changing my camera settings.

Since I don’t have a good camera and I used my Iphone, I was having trouble maintaining color of my fabrics.  I learned that I could take photos outside or by the window even on a cloudy day and still get a good photo.  Just by making sure that the sun is at a good position in the sky when you are shooting, you can maintain the proper color of the fabric.  Also, a cloudy day can actually work to your advantage for maintaining colors since there is a natural filter on the sun.

I learned that using a white paper in the back of the item can reflect back light onto the back of the item being photographed.  This helps eliminate the inevitable shadow.  I’m always trying to eliminate glare and shadows on my pottery.

The workshop was held at Creative Essence ( in Clarence Center, NY.  The Buffalo Etsy Team would like to thank Michele and Tammy for being wonderful hostesses.  Stop in and say hello. It’s a wonderful place to create!