Today we're checking out another multitalented Etsy crafter--Brie of BKD Signature crochets, makes glass pendants, and still finds time for school and giving back to the community!
After the jump, learn more about how BKD Signature got started and where it's going. Oh yeah, and enter this week's Gettin' Made giveaway!
OC Weekly: Hi there Brie! How about you tell us a little about yourself!
Brie: I live in Sacramento, CA, and I go to school in McMinnville, OR so I have two residences to craft in right now. I am a full-time student, part-time crafter. I graduate college this May, and I just applied to grad schools in California. I am a part of a local sorority and absolutely love it! Our Philanthropy is Homeward Bound Pets, which I also decided to support through my crafting by donating money from my Charity Collection Pendants. When at home, I live with my parents, my younger brother, and three cute adopted cats.
OCW: When did you start up your Etsy shop, and what prompted you to do so?
B: I originally found out about Etsy through a friend in the summer of 2008. I didn't give it much thought at the time until I explored it further that December. I have been a crafter all my life and have absolutely loved every craft I've encountered - I've always wanted to craft my pants off, but didn't have any means or room to keep the amount of crafts I wanted to produce. It dawned on me that I could use Etsy as an outlet for sharing my crafts and getting them into loving homes, with the added perk of making some money to save for grad school. I loved the concept of supporting handmade. One day, I sat down and taught myself how to crochet in half an hour using only one YouTube video. I had been learning how to knit, but got "hooked" on crochet. I made several beanies to start off my shop.
OCW: Tell us a little about your pendants - what are your inspirations in creating these?
B: I love trying out new crafts to expand my skill set and discovered a pendant kit from my favorite supplier. I was floored at how great they turned out and shared the results on Facebook with my friends and fans. After their extremely favorable reactions (and sales), I decided to add them to my inventory.
The process is much more tedious than one would think, and my being a perfectionist makes it that much more tedious for me. While the instructions indicate quick drying time for the glazes and adhesive, I find they need to set for much longer than that to meet my satisfaction. Glazing the papers to the tile takes half a day to a day, sealing it takes two days to dry, and adhering the bail takes half a day. I like a thick layer of sealing glaze so sometimes it can take up to three days to dry to my satisfaction. Bubbles are my worst enemy - no matter how much one can try to avoid them, there is no such thing as getting away with zero of them. I'm a perfectionist so I'll destroy pendants that I am not satisfied with because of how they turn out. However, I'm probably super picky and critical because I find that customers don't mind bubbles and some don't even notice.
OCW: You have some really cute amigurumi pieces in your shop, and that crab is my favorite! I love that each one is unique; tell us how you achieve that.
B: I fell in love with Amigurumi when I discovered books about it while buying one for a Christmas present - the first Amigurumi piece I ever crocheted was a cupcake.
In May 2009, I was thinking about graduate presents for friends. One of my friends is obsessed with crabs, her favorite animal, and I decided to crochet her a crab. Using my knowledge of crochet, I tried my hand at making up my own pattern. Since I make up the pattern from my head each time I make one, they end up being one of a kind. While they may be similar, I crochet the crabs in the moment; some may have longer or shorter legs than others, or a bigger or smaller body than others. I go with the flow when crocheting Amigurumi.
I even made up the pattern for my Starfish Bathtime Scrubbies. You'll find that it is the only washcloth shaped as a starfish on Etsy!
OCW: I like that you have items that are charity oriented - tell us about these pieces, what charity they benefit, and how that whole thing works.
B: My sorority's philanthropy is Homeward Bound Pets in McMinnville, OR, a non-profit no-kill animal shelter. I absolutely LOVE animals, and my own three cats were adopted from a local Sacramento-based no-kill non-profit animal shelter. While not an activist myself, I do support animal rights and adopting. After discovering the concept of charity items on Etsy, I was ecstatic to join the movement and apply the concept myself. I had just started making larger egg-shaped pendants and decided that these larger pendants would make up my Charity Collection. $5 from each pendant purchased is donated directly to HBP's collection jar in their Front Office. I would estimate that I've probably donated about $100 to date. Many customers have actually added $5 to their non-charity pendant purchases to be directly donated to HBP.
OCW: What else would you like to share about BKD Signature?
B: I look forward to being involved in more craft shows this year - I've sold at 4 so far and have absolutely loved the experiences. I am a part of Sac Etsy Team, CCCOE, and Unique Women in Business and love all of them. Sac Etsy looks forward to team booths at lots of local fairs this year and advocating for buying local and handmade. I must admit that much of my success is due to UWIB and have found more love, support, and help there than I could have ever imagined (tell them I sent you!). I would even go so far as admitting that it was the best decision for my shop. I am spearheading multiple means of advertising in hopes of spreading the word about this awesome group!
I just added a Bottlecap Pendant Collection to my inventory and am super excited about it. I have received a lot of positive feedback about them. My next goal is to add more crochet items to my shop, including more amigurumi, more beanies, and snazzy scarfs. I will be starting my Etsyversary sale today with items being marked down 30%, a sale that I am super excited about celebrating. This morning, I woke up to find that one of my items (the one for the giveaway, actually) was featured on the Front Page at 8 EST! I am SUPER stoked about this and so thankful for the exposure. I'm so glad my hard work has finally paid off, and I want to thank everyone who made that possible.
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It's giveaway time! Let us know what you think about Brie's work in the comments and you'll automatically be entered to win one of her "Love in Bloom" pendant necklaces in your choice of colors! Comment as much as you like, but only one entry per person will be counted. Contest closes at midnight on Friday, February 12 so get to chattin!
If you've won a Gettin' Made giveaway in the last 30 days you'll be ineligible to win so others have a chance at awesomeness - good luck!