Had enough fashion for a while? Ready for something that is just plain cute? Today I wanted to tell you about an artist we discovered on Etsy. Her name is Holly, and she crochets the most adorable handmade puppets. So far I have 4 of them. I bought the zebra, two unicorns and a wizard for Todd. We wanted to tell you a little bit about Holly because her stuff is so damned cute. And the amazing thing is, she sells her puppets for just $9 each. Her prices blow me away. Holly lives, works, and crafts in Los Almos, but believe it or not she actually has Utah ties and has sold in a Utah craft store. Here is my interview with Holly.
Question 1) How did you get the idea to make puppets?
Answer 1) I had a friend who thought I should be able to make some puppets of some of her children’s favorite characters, and sent me some patterns she purchased off the internet and told me I should be able to “figure it out.” In the beginning I made puppets that looked like copyrighted characters…I don’t do THAT anymore, though. For many years I sold at Mormon Handicraft (editors note, this is a Utah store that I loved when it was downtown!).
Question 2)Are all the puppets your original designs?
Answer 2) I design all my puppets, although if you look carefully there or two or three basic types, with variations. It’s the details that make the difference.
Question 3) Your prices are VERY affordable! How do you keep your prices so low?
Answer 3) My prices are low because I work cheap (and fast). If I were trying to support myself by crocheting I would charge a lot more, but it is more of a hobby (some would say addiction). I crochet ALL the time : in the car, watching TV. Since I don’t use written patterns, my craft is portable and limited to the amount of yarn my husband will let me put in the car! I work half-time as a technical services librarian, so this is definitely “supplemental income” for me.
Question 4) Do you continually design new puppets? Where do you get your ideas?
Answer 4) I get requests for new puppets all the time. At first it was my friends and children who inspired me; then I worked as an elementary librarian and students were coming up with ideas. Now I have grandchildren! The sheep was my latest creation.
Question 5) What tips or advice do you have for other crafters on building a successful Etsy business?
Answer 5) I am relatively new to Etsy (less than a year), and before that have sold items in shops and craft sales. I not only make puppets, but potholders, dishcloths, water bottle holders and hacky sacks, among other things. I am not sure I am really a “success” at Etsy yet. My son, the engineer pointed it out to me and it took me 6 months to get enough puppets set aside to actually post. I appreciated the discipline of setting up the shop,getting my daughter and husband to do photographs, and the business credit card and the PayPal account. I have always kept business accounts and had a license and state tax number, but this certainly made it easier to “do it right.”
Check out Holly’s Puppets on etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/HollysPuppetsEtc. Oh, and just a tip, if you start collecting Holly’s Puppets like Todd and I have, beer bottles make a great, inexpensive display stand for these little guys.