Sunday, June 10, 2012

Featured Craft artist of the Week: Nicola Baker from Handmade by Nicola Baker

Good morning everyone!
Today I would like to introduce Nicola Baker owner of Handmadeby Nicola Baker. She creates art pieces and items for your home that are one of a kind, each of the pieces she makes are individual and made at a high quality, giving you something unique every time so stop by her shop at Handmade by Nicola Baker. If you do order from her, she has offered our readers a 15% discount on purchases. The code is included in this interview , so keep reading!

1.What would you like us to know about you?
My name is Nicola Baker and I live in the North East of England,UK in a place called Durham with my husband and our two young sons.
Durham is a lovely city, but what has struck me over the years is that all of the shops are the same and what they sell is generally the same. In fact not just in Durham, in most of the UK. That’s why over the past ten years I started to make more and more of my own pieces of art – it’s just lovely to have something different in your home. So, initially from making things for my own house, I started to sell my work in shops and galleries.

2.When did you discover Etsy?
I discovered Etsy September 2011, however it wasn't until earlier this year that I actually started to work on my shop listings, participate in Teams and promote it. It took a while to understand the different things you need to do to help promote your shop. Initially it seemed daunting, reading about favourites, circles etc. I suppose anything new and different is daunting, but people on the Teams are very helpful, ask a question and if anyone can help they will.

3.What prompted you to open an Etsy Shop?
For a number of years I have sold my work in galleries, shops and have participated in various craft fairs. Now that can be pretty limited to just where you live so I feel why can’t anyone, no matter where in the world have some lovely pieces of art, whether that be a gorgeous handmade paper bowl, some fabulous mixed media pictures for your home or as a beautiful gift or lovely individual handmade cards? That's why I decided to open my Etsy shop. There are so many beautiful shops on there, it's inspiring to see people doing something they obviously love and creative and actually making a living from it.

4.What do you sell?
I sell a variety of paper related products. From handmade paper bowls and handmade greeting cards to original art collages and art prints.


5.How did you come up with your shop name?
I sell different products, so felt I didn't want to narrow a shop name down to 'Paper Bowls by Nicola Baker' for example. I wanted a name to be able to act as an umbrella for a number of products, thus allowing me to add other shop sections. All my products are made by myself so the name Handmade by Nicola Baker was born.

6.How would you describe your shop?
In my shop there are lots of items for the home, ideal as gifts or for yourself.

7.What inspires / motivates you?
My products are inspired by textures, colours and techniques I have discovered mainly while travelling. My house is my canvas; sometimes I'm guilty of creating art that I would like to own, but hopefully that resonates with other people too.

Sometimes I have to take a break from making, whether it be for five minutes or for the rest of the day. I usually go and work on something else or catch up with my admin if the juices really aren't flowing! Some days a field trip is in order – to the library, an art gallery or just a walk to check out architecture, surroundings and just to clear my head and thought process.

I feel if I keep working on something and I'm just not feeling it then it shows in the end product. If you are making something just for the sake of it then it usually shows and as a maker you view that work differently. I just want to be the best I can be and to make the best products. I keep telling my 6 year old never to give up, just keep trying and you will feel so proud. So I've got to try, really!

8.How has Etsy changed your life? 
Etsy has allowed me to be more focused and creative as I now have a shop front which I see daily and want to make it the best it can be. I now feel I am more in control of my business. I can see how may shop looks and rearrange it accordingly. When you leave your products to be sold in someone else’s shop they decide where to place your work and how much they will promote it.

 9.Where else can we find you?
I have a blog - My Blog shows people snippets of what's new in my shop, information which I have found which may be useful, and features some amazing artists.

You can also follow me on Twitter @nicolabakerart

10.Is there anything else you would like to share?
If you are having a bad day or a period where you are struggling with ideas or sales then view it as a bad period, nothing else. Don't dwell on it. As an artist you put so much pressure on yourself and self doubt can easily creep in, but without this self-critique would our products be the best they can be?

11.When you get a new idea, how long does it take you to execute and list it?
It depends on the product, it takes longer to make a paper bowl or a collage, so it can take around a week to make it and list it.

12. How much time do you spend on your shop take each week?
I spend around 20 hours on my shop. The time is taken up with coming up with new ideas and experimenting with them, making products, listing them, participating in Teams on Etsy and promoting items. Saying that, it actually could be more than 20 hours some weeks!

13. How do you promote your shop?
I have a blog and Twitter account. So far I have resisted Facebook, but I think now is the time to promote my shop on there.

14. How important is social media for your shop? 
Don't underestimate the power of social media and how it can help your business. The world is our marketplace now and there's never been a better time to sell your work. The goalposts have changed – leaflets and business cards aren't as important as a good web presence and Twitter account. It's one more thing to learn and get to grips with, but those who do will find they not only build their sales, but accelerate them.
If you could offer your readers a 15% discounton purchases with this code - Blog15.

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