Tag Archives: interview

Who’s Who Wednesday: Madlen’s Ribbon Riot

Introduce yourself.  Where are you from?

Hi! My name Madlen and I am the one behind Madlen’s Ribbon Riot on etsy (www.madlensribbonriot.etsy.com). I was born and raised in Germany and have been in the United States for almost three years now studying Psychology at a small town college.

What is your shop name?  What is the story behind the name?

I named my shop Madlen’s Ribbon Riot. Since I use a very traditional German ribbon folding technique, I figured the name of my shop should represent that. However, I am trying to revamp the technique through “rioting” against shapes that are usually associated with the technique, such as pinecones.

How did you get started?  Is this your full-time gig?

My cousin taught me the technique when we were snowed in once. That was about 12 years ago. I still have a full-time job and will start my Master’s degree this Fall and will be moving to New York with my fiancé. But I am hoping that my shop will cover some of the finances while I am in college.

What items do you sell?  Which ones are your favorites to make?

Just a few of the items I sell are door wreaths, pew balls, and wedding wands. Currently I am working on a huge American flag. I really enjoy creating new items. When I have an idea, I can’t wait to go out and buy the materials. It’s really fun to figure out what works best and play around with ideas.

Custom - Ribbon Pine Cone - Green and Gold

What inspires you?  Who influences you?

My fiancé is a big inspiration. He spends a lot of time surfing the web, researching whatever we are currently interested in. I come across a lot of fun stuff through him. Etsy is a great inspiration as well. I see other seller’s creations and transform them into my own ideas through incorporating ribbon.

Describe your workspace.  What book is near you right now?

Since we are getting ready to move, my workspace is somewhat non-existing. I like creating on our couch though. I am a true couch-potato. Currently I am reading “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins. Truly captivating!

Describe your creative process.  What is your creative style?

My creative process: Get home, TV on, check emails and shop, start crafting. I am pretty lazy though sometimes about taking pictures and posting them to etsy… Working on that!

satin ribbon wedding wreath

How do you stay motivated?  Tea or coffee?

COFFEE!!! I am still super excited about Starbucks’ Trenta size!

Do you think feedback is important?  How can you turn around negative comments?

Feedback is always important. Negative comments can always be turned around into something positive. It might be an opportunity to improve customer service and above all, it gives you an idea what to work on. How other people view you and your products is waaay more important than what you think of your shop yourself. The customer might not be always right, but the customer is king.

Are you on any teams at Etsy?  Which one are you most active?  Do you think they are helpful?

Yes, I am part in about 18 teams, however I am mostly involved with the Etsy Success Team. I check the posts at least once a day. It is a great team for any questions and concerns you might have as a seller. Especially as a new seller!

Custom Ribbon Cactus in a Flowerpot Personalized

How do you feel about your life right now?  Any advice for new Etsians or for those wanting to take the plunge into selling their artwork?

Right now I am at a transition in my life, so I am feeling somewhat confused, nervous, suuuuper-excited and overwhelmed. I am very happy though about moving to New York, getting married, and getting another degree. As far as advice goes, I would probably tell others to be patient. While there are no orders, do research, craft, and support others.

Wolves or Mountain Lions?

I’m gonna go for wolves… No particular reason J


Etsy shop


Facebook page




Who’s Who Wednesday: Rachel Brooke Designs

Introduce yourself.  Where are you from?

I’m Rachael Brooke Winkley from Madison, WI.  I grew up in Whitewater, WI which is a small college town in the southeastern part of the state.   I’m a near-native Wisconsinite except for the first few years of my life spent in Chicago, IL. 


What is your shop name?  What is the story behind the name?

My business name is Rachael Brooke Designs.  I give my father credit for inspiring the name.  He says that he chose my middle name, Brooke, so that when I became a famous actress I could use Rachael Brooke as my stage name.   I did not grow up to win a Tony or Oscar, but I think that selling your own work is a lot like being on stage.   I am now searching for a new business name that reflects my focus on using vintage or repurposed materials and my commitment to running an eco-friendly studio.

Hammered Shield shape Hoops in 100% recycled sterling silver

How did you get started?  Is this your full-time gig?
I started making and selling jewelry with my parents when I was in high school.

 What items do you sell?  Which ones are your favorites to make?

I sell jewelry that I create from antique, vintage or simply second-hand tea, candy and tobacco tins; aluminum kitchenware; serving trays and other discarded metal objects.  I’m always most excited about making the newest design I’ve created.

Describe your workspace.  What book is near you right now?

My studio is in a one-story 1920’s bungalow at Mendota Mental Health Institute (MMHI) on the north shore of LakeMendota in Madison.  The bungalow is one of several which were built to house World War I veterans who were being treated for shell shock syndrome.  My studio is a 198 square foot room with high ceilings and three large windows – lots of natural light and enough room to spread out and make a mess in.  My sketchbook is the closest book to me.

Buenos Aires Recycled Coaster Necklace

Describe your creative process.  What is your creative style?

My natural creative process is best described as creative chaos.  I often think I’m a little ADD when it comes to creating.  I jump from one thing to another back again and on to something else.  This can be great for brainstorming new designs, but lousy for getting work ready for a show or an order ready for one of my stores.

 How do you stay motivated?  Tea or coffee?

The best way for me to keep motivated is to work in my studio daily and leave myself something to get back to work on the next day.  I work in my studio Monday through Friday as much as possible.  I have fought being disciplined all my life (see the “creative chaos” answer above).  Ironically, the habit of self-discipline is what I need most in order to create my work and try to make a living at it. 

coffee – strong, black and lots of it! I’m an early riser who often has insomnia – not the best mix.  I’d love it there were caffeine patches just like the nicotine patches.

Do you think feedback is important?  How can you turn around negative comments?

Feedback and criticism are immensely important for studio artists since we work alone.  It’s just me, my tools, a bunch of old tins and my imagination.  What I think is totally fantastic and love to wear might not be what others this is totally fantastic and love to wear.  It always helps to get out of my own head and learn how others perceive my work.  I also think that artists whose work is functional need to get feedback from customers who use it. 
I’ve gotten some of my best ideas for new designs or ways to market my work from my customers.

Are you on any teams at Etsy?  Which one are you most active?  Do you think they are helpful?

Yes, I’m a member of the following teams: Etsy Wisconsin Street Team (a.k.a. the “Moo Crew”); Etsy Trashion Team, Etsy Blog Team, Etsy Success, Handmadeology Etsy Team, and several others.  I’m most active on the WIST team where I’m a team leader and write our blog’s weekly “On The Road with the Moo Crew” post.

Rooster & Thistle Vintage Candy Tin Necklace

How do you feel about your life right now?
Any advice for new Etsians or those wanting to take the plunge into selling their artwork? If you sell jewelry or other small work and don’t have a camera with digital macro, go out and get one.  Then read the advanced owner’s manual – really read it, don’t just skim through it.  Photography has been the hardest part of having an online shop for me.

Wolves or Mountain Lions?

definitely mountain lions – have you ever seen the size of those paws or heard that wicked cat growl?  Although my daughter, Bella, loves wolves.  I can just hear her saying, “MOM! You’re supposed to pick wolves!”


Etsy shop




Facebook page






Any shops/markets you participate in?

I’ll be selling on the last weekend of the month from June through September at the Indie Designer Market in Chicago, IL. http://www.randolphstreetmarket.com/indiedesignermarket/index.html

Who’s Who Wednesday: The Shaman Shack

Introduce yourself. My name is Cristy Parker.  I am a Nagual Shaman and have studied shamanism since 2000.  What brought me to the path of shamanism was that I was having very profound dreams that I knew were more then just dreams.  I begged for a teacher and finally 2 came into my life and my journey within my self began.     Where are you from? Celina Ohio

      What is your shop name? The Shaman Shack  What is the story behind the name?  My first Etsy store was Illumine.  I had no sales and was pondering about changing things.  My brother was selling his 3 acres that was budded up against our Grandfather and Grandmothers farm.  At first I was not interested, I had just gone to part time.  A week later, after my morning sitting in silence, looking deep within my self, I felt that I needed to contact him about the 3 acres.  I ended up selling my beloved Yaris to purchase three acres in Ft Recovery Ohio.  On the 3 acres sits a small primitive cabin.  The cabin was a shed that my Grandfather put there for storage.  My brother made a cabin out of the shed.  I looked at that cabin and immediately thought “The Shaman Shack”.  My husband confirmed this by repeating my words to me two days later.  From this I created a new Etsy store The Shaman Shack, it felt much more like me then Illumine.  I believe it was two weeks later I made my first sale. 


  How did you get started?  Is this your full-time gig?  No, this is not my full time gig.  I work part time with people who live with a developmental, physical challenges but this is ending.  I have brought in all the potential I needed to bring into expression.  I am now moving forward into Real Estate.  I can feel that there is potential within myself that I need to learn to express.  Real Estate is going to be my vehicle to assist me in bringing this expression forward.  Will I ever go full time on Etsy or into my healing work?  I don’t know but right now where I am at with Etsy is perfect for me.   What items do you sell?  I sell Holy Water, Holy Oils, Sacred Essence, Crystalline Potions, Essential Oils, Belvaspata and Kaanish Healings and crystals.  I would like to be adding Almines books, hide frame drums, Holy Water and Oil divination cards in the future. Which ones are your favorites to make?  I love making the Holy Water and Holy Oil and I love to assist people when they are ready to move out of old patterns and into their true essence.  It is difficult to look at yourself and see yourself truthfully because usually when we look within we find all that we tell ourselves that we are not.  This is the illusion.  It is underneath all that nasty stuff we feel that the real gem of our being lies.  It is like it is being stifled by anger, hatred, feeling of lack.  When someone contacts me and shares with me their issues they want to work on that opens a door for them and for me.  I usually find that their presence, their god self will stand before me in formelssness.  It is like they are standing before me in the physical but without the physical contraction.  People wonder how a long distance healing can take place but like when we are a sleep we leave our bodies, we do this when we are awake as well.  When I work with someone with the Holy Water and Holy Oil great shifting takes place.  There are 24 equations for the Holy Water and 24 for the Holy Oil.  You can heal greatly with one equation.  When I prepare a bottle for someone, I open in a alchemical ceremony and as I state each equation I call out 3 angels per equations.  There are 72 angels for the Holy Water alone and 72 for the Holy Oil.  As I sit with the equations calling them out and sitting with the persons being I am led through their inner landscape, stalking, following a thread that leads to another thread.  From this place of holyness, I work in oneness and at times can not tell if it is you are me that I am working on.  It is such an honor to work with others in this manner.    What inspires you?  Who influences you?  Almine, she is a Toltec Nagual, a mystic and the most impeccable, pure, profound being I have ever meet.  She is the one who has brought forth the angel healing modalities that I practice.  My goal is to be as vast as she is one day. 

black tourmaline in quartz

Describe your workspace.  My work space is a little room in my house that used to be a pantry, catch all room.  I have a small desk, 2 Victorian pieces of furniture, my book case of crystals and books, and an alter to hold some sacred items.  My sacred chamber room.     What book is near you right now?  9 of Almines books which are the most profound reading I have ever read and will continue to read.  There is so many layers to her sacred writing that when you read them for the second or third time it is like reading them for the first time.  Many insights and deeper information comes through.  I also have The Book of Stones for crystal information of there deep meanings.

 Describe your creative process. My creative process comes from living and watching my environment.  I will get insight or an idea at any given moment.  I am always evolving and changing stuff around.  With my Holy Oils and Waters I will get pushed by the angels to go deeper into my work.  They will give me insights through my environment, I can feel them pushing me towards something within.  The angels love this work just as much as I do and find the creativity to be a fun journey.  This store is as much as theirs as it is mine. (I can feel them right now wanting to build up the Etsy store even more, LOL.  “Get them cards done.”  they say) What is your creative style?  My creative style is a bit choppy and sporadic.  I put so much of myself into my work that I have not found my balance with it yet.  I suppose that is why I am not ready to go full time with my Etsy store.   How do you stay motivated? It is the great sacredness that keeps me motivated.  When I work with these sacred healing modalities it is the place of holy sanctity.  I want to walk in this  sacredness, be this sacredness were every I go.  Tea or coffee?  2 cups of Coffee, that’s it.  I love warm coffee in the morning with milk and agave.


Do you think feedback is important?  Yes, feedback is important for other to see what my product is about.  When I go to purchase something, amazon, Etsy, I always check out the feedback because I want to know about the item I am purchasing.  How can you turn around negative comments?  Negative comments are just areas that need to be seen.  If I a am especially triggered then I know there is something within myself that is striving to be heard.

Are you on any teams at Etsy?  I am on 5 teams, 1 healing guild, 2 success teams and 2 that are Ohio teams.  Which one are you most active? I am most active on Etsy Success and out of all of them Etsy Success has the most traffic.   There was no team that represented healing on Etsy and so I started the Natural Healing Guild.  I felt I wasn’t giving the team what it needed to evolve and so I gave up captain to ecofriendlyfreckles who changed the name to Natural Healing Guild.  She is doing such a fantastic job with the healing guild.     Do you think they are helpful?  I think they are helpful.  It is nice connecting with other, you can ask questions, get some feedback.  Also others will ask a question that may spark an idea for me. 


How do you feel about your life right now? I love my life, my journey.  I love not knowing what is coming and I let go of where I have been.  If I am looking backwards it is to see what I have missed.  Etsy is fun and it brings out potential/creativity in me that I didn’t know I had.  Yesterday my son was helping me with my photos and he had so many good ideas.  We walked through the yard, setting up the photos, snapping pictures.  This is what having an Etsy store has brought into my life.    Any advice for new Etsians or those wanting to take the plunge into selling their artwork?  There is no failure there is only self discovery. 


Wolves or Mountain Lions?  I am the wolf howl in the night, the one who runs with her pack in complete oneness.  I am the Mountain Lion who lays in the warmth of the sun, who sits in alone stillness completely content with her being. 



Etsy shop url:




Facebook page:





Who’s Who Wednesday: Say hello to RbDesign!

1. Introduce yourself. Where are you from?

 I’m Reagan Branham. I am originally from central Illinois and now live in St. Louis. I am a page designer at a newspaper and a part-time interior design student, in addition to having my etsy shop. I am part of a three-cat household, which is, yes, too much (I had two, then my boyfriend and his cat moved in).


2. What is your shop name? What is the story behind the name?

 My shop is rbdesign.  Hmmm…I guess it’s not as original as it could be, but it’s straightforward. I make jewelry and household items out of recycled and reused products such as Scrabble tiles, skeleton keys, and magazines.


3. How did you get started? Is this your full-time gig?

 I started my tinkering around with Scrabble tiles about 3 years ago. My friends were getting married and they love Scrabble, are big wine drinkers and love to throw parties. So I made them a complete set of Scrabble tile wine charms – all 26 letters!


4. What items do you sell? Which ones are your favorites to make?

 Out of sentimentality, the Scrabble wine charms are still my favorite items to make and sell, though I’ve never made another 26-letter set. My most popular item is my Scrabble coasters, which are also really cute and a great conversation piece.

vowels scrabble wine charms, set of six


5. What inspires you? Who influences you?

 I have a graphic design background, so I love looking at old signage in downtown St. Louis, as well as old architecture. The lines, use of color, and all the details are so interesting to me. I don’t know how that translates to my etsy shop, but I am very inspired by it.


6.  Describe your workspace. What book is near you right now?

 My desk is sort of homemade. I have two wooden shoe container storage systems at each end with a block of wood over the top. That gives me lots of nooks to put supplies in and helps keep me organized. And trust me, I need all the help I can get.


7.  Describe your creative process. What is your creative style?

 I love looking at craft shows to see what other creative people are doing and thinking of how I can translate it to my brand. I saw someone selling felt coasters a few years ago and it was a total “aha” moment for me. I went home and started thinking of how I could make coasters out of Scrabble tiles.

scrabble coasters, set of 6


8.  How do you stay motivated? Tea or coffee?



9.  Do you think feedback is important? How can you turn around negative comments?

 Feedback is critical to what I do! If a product isn’t working right or someone is unhappy with something it’s up to me to fix it and learn from that to make my product better. Many times negative comments aren’t really negative, they’re constructive criticism. It’s led me to put more pictures and better descriptions of items up so buyers understand a product better before they buy it. I’ve also tinkered with designs based on feedback I’ve received. I’ve found that most people really want to help you succeed, you just have to be willing to listen to them.


10.  Are you on any teams at Etsy? Which one are you most active? Do you think they are helpful?

 I’m on many teams but my favorite is the Etsy Success one. It’s hard to make connections on Etsy since we’re all over the world, but this is a great way to talk to other sellers and learn from them.

red recycled paper earrings


11.  How do you feel about your life right now? Any advice for new Etsians or those wanting to take the plunge into selling their artwork?

 Swamped! I’m working, going to school, and have a small business. That’s probably one thing too many. But I love all three and wouldn’t give any of them up. The advice I’d give to people wanting to sell on Etsy is to go for it – but do your homework. There are tricks to reaching buyers, getting your work seen, and putting your best foot forward. If you take the time to really learn how to use Etsy to the fullest it’s a great tool.


Wolves or Mountain Lions?

 Mountain lion! An 8-foot long cat that weighs 90+ pounds is crazy awesome!


Who’s Who Wednesday: Jewelry By Irina

So I have decided to move the interviews to my home page and have links to the earlier interviews on my Who’s who page.

Introduce yourself.  Where are you from?

 My name is Irina Stasevsky.  I am a jewelry designer .  I am in Chicago now, originally from Belarus.

How did you get started? Is this your full-time gig?

I started working with wire when I was 8.  I always loved stones.  4 years ago I took some classes at the local bead shop.    It’s still not my full time gig, but I am hoping …

What items do you sell?  Which ones are your favorites to make?

I sell hand made jewelry. I love making rings

China Chrysocolla wire wrapped ring

What inspires you?  Who influences you?

I am inspired by nature.  Color combinations I see outside of my window influence me.

Describe your workspace.  What book is near you right now?     

I have containers with silver parts, pliers in tool holder, beading mat on a desk, and drawer storage card  with stones and pearls .  The ‘Wire jewelry’magazine is near me.

Describe your creative process.  What is your creative style?

I see colors first, than I would sketch something, making it- would be much faster than first 2 steps.  I like to say I am more traditional, but I would try modern as well?.

Do you think feedback is important?   How can you turn around negative comments?

Feedback means a lot to me. I was fortunate enough with 100% positive feedback, but I am sure I would’ve work something out with my customer.

Larimar Blue Crazy Lace necklace

Are you on any teams at Etsy?  Do you think they are helpful?

Yes, the Etsy Success team and I think it is very helpful.

How do you feel about your life right now?  Any advice for new Etsians or those wanting
to take the plunge into selling their artwork.

I feel really good.  Join teams, read Etsy Guide, participate in forums, and work on your pictures.

Wolves or Mountain Lions-


Beauty in Yellow- sterling silver, Chinese crystal beaded bead


Etsy shop



Twitter  @jewelrybyirina