Tag Archives: who’s who

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: Green Onion Textiles

Introduce yourself.  Where are you from?

Hello!  My name is Nan.  I’m originally from Ann Arbor,
Michigan.  I’ve lived in many other places, such as Chicago, Los
Angeles, San Francisco, Florence and Paris.  Now, I’m in Texas.

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

My shop is Green Onions Textiles.  When I started thinking about what
to call the shop, I knew I wanted to keep my own name out of the title.
One day, I needed to drive to another city about two hours away, through
very tedious landscape.  So, I started brainstorming names.
I had come up with about 20 when I saw a roadside sign that said, “Green
Onions.”  (Really!)  I added that to the list (I’m
also a fan of Booker T. and the MGs!).  Later that night, I went
through the list checking to see if anyone else was using the names I had
brainstormed, and of course they were all being used in some capacity . . .
except “Green Onions.”  So there it is.  I think it’s a great name, too.  I like the connotations of freshness, spring,  and newness.

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

Although I’ve been sewing, and making art, for all of my life, I’ve only recently started selling things.  I opened my shop this last February. The road to
craft, for me, has been circuitous. I studied studio art at a private art school, then went on to earn graduate degrees in art history and museum studies.  Now, I am the Director of an art museum and have been working as an art historian/museum professional in various capacities for
25 years.  While I was a museum curator, there was still an element
of creativity in my professional life.  When I became an administrator, however, this level was greatly reduced and I began spending more time on my after work projects.  For some reason last summer I decided to make a handbag and loved it so much that I just kept going and making more and more and more.  Finally, someone told me that I needed to sell then on Etsy, voila.  I would love to be able to do this full-time and am in the process of trying to figure out how.

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

Since opening the shop, I have only posted handbags/purses/laptop bags/diaper bags and skirts.  I plan to expand this soon and start offering scarves, pet
beds, pillow covers, and plush toys.  I’m a little concerned that this is too diverse, but I enjoy making all of these things.  The common link between all of them, and what ends up being my favorite part of the process, is the design element.  What colors complement one another, what textures work well with one another and the overall shape of the article, how can I take a particular focal element and build something around it.  I love finding ways that I can take an interdisciplinary approach.  For example, I recently interviewed a glass-blowing
artist.  As we were surveying her work, one piece stuck out for me, personally, and I thought, “I’d love to translate that shape into a handbag.”

circles on a circular bag

What inspires you?  Who influences you?

Inspiration comes from a variety of sources.  Much of my inspiration comes from
simply seeing colors, textures and shapes throughout the day.  Again, many times I’m inspired by something from a different medium/discipline.  As an art historian, a good deal of inspiration comes from knowing about various art movements throughout history.  Sometimes I’ll see something in a magazine or book, sometimes in a store, sometimes on somebody, and I’ll start thinking about how I can modify it or use an aspect of it in a design.  I also get a lot of inspiration from other Etsy sellers.  This influence, however, is more in the form
of shop maintenance, attitude, marketing, and networking.

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

My workspace has taken over my house!  I have a great craft room, but
it doesn’t have big windows, like my living room and kitchen do.
So, I set up my sewing table in front of my living room windows so that I
have a view into my back yard, which is full of flowers, birds, squirrels, and
lizards – there’s always something going on.

As far as books, there’s nothing near me at this very moment!  I moved
myself and laptop into another room so I wouldn’t be distracted!
However, in other rooms (I tend to travel around my house with stacks of
books) there is:  Circus (Taschen); Beautiful Beads and
Embellishments (Irene Lassus and Marie-Anne Voituriez); Fashion Accessories –
The Complete 20th Century Sourcebook (John Peacock); More Fabric
Savvy (Sandra Betzina); Printing By Hand (Lena Corwin), and the latest Stitch

Describe your creative process.  What is your creative style?

I’m not really sure how to describe my creative process.  For me,
creativity just happens.  It’s almost like being on auto-pilot.
Sometimes things such as colors, shapes, patterns, just jump out
at me and I don’t even think about what I’m doing – I just make.
Other times, though, I get an idea and then think it through.
For example, translation of Cameo Glass into textiles (see my blog post
on this at http://www.GreenOnionsTextiles.com).
And my creative style is pretty much the same.  Sometimes I
just start going and don’t thnk, just do.  Other times I plan and
draw and calculate.  It varies.

lined white and floral cotton a-line skirt

How do you stay motivated?  Tea or coffee?

I’m an artist, so I’ve always been creative. Motivation is
not something that is exterior, it’s an inherent part of who I am.
If I’m not sewing, I’m drawing, or painting, or making jewelry or an
assemblage, or a graphic piece, or . . .  something.
I tend to go stir crazy when I’m not able to make something on a daily

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

Oh yes, feedback is enormously important.  Not
only is it important as a merchant to know what pleases your client base,
feedback is an imperative aspect of the creative process. For
example, the Cubist movement was a result of an ongoing visual dialogue between Pablo Picasso and Juan Braque.  We need to see how our work is
perceived in others’ eyes in order to progress.  And, on the same
token, providing feedback to others is just as important.  We need
to be aware of what is going on outside of own studios in order to grow.
Again, it’s a dialogue.

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

Yes, I am on Etsy Success, Business Topics, Handmadeology,
and  Blog Team.   I’m most active on the Blog Team,
but do participate in the others often.  I don’t know if my
participation on the Blog Team has increased traffic on my blog, but the other
teams have helped me understand the ins and outs of Etsy.

Brown Faux Suede Hobo w/ Orange Flower Appliques

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 like who I am, although I would like to be able to make a
living with my art and craft.  As far as advice for others, I guess
all I can say is the same thing I grew up hearing, “try it, see what

Wolves or Mountain Lions?

Mountain Lions!  Rarrrr!





Check out my fabrics I have for making custom orders!

Any shops/markets you participate in?

I don’t participate in any right now, although I would like to – I’m not sufficiently aware of what’s offered. I would LOVE some suggestions from your readers!  Convo me on my Etsy shop or leave a comment on my blog.

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