Meet the Maker: Kelly Ventura Design

Meet the Maker: Kelly Ventura DesignWhen putting together the gallery wall in my office, I instantly fell in love with the work of today’s maker. Little did I know that I would have the pleasure of interviewing her a few months later! She has worked with clients like West Elm and Land of Nod and I know you will just love her style. She’s also offering 20% off items in her Etsy shop to all of you with code: CRAFTEDFLIFE15 (woo!) until May 29th. Without further delay, meet the lovely Kelly of Kelly Ventura Design!

Meet the Maker: Kelly Ventura Design

1. Tell us a little about yourself!

Hi, I’m Kelly, of Kelly Ventura Design. I am a Michigan-based surface designer leaving my unique mark on the home, gift and children’s markets with my fresh florals, playful prints and hand-painted patterns.

2. Can you give us a bit of background into what lead you to where you are today?

I began nurturing my entrepreneurial and creative spirit as an inspired five year old, setting up a neighborhood sidewalk stand to sell my rainbow drawings. Many rainbow drawings later, after graduating with a fine arts degree, I found my niche as a surface designer. My introduction into this industry came by way of two important internships in the wallpaper and rug markets; Elizabeth Dow, Ltd and Emma Gardner Design. After having the opportunity to work with both women in their creative environments, I knew I had found my place in the design world.

Meet the Maker: Kelly Ventura Design

3. What made you decide to start selling your work?

I have always had a strong motivation to create and have had a number of shops over the past ten years; handmade baby apparel, hand screen-printed apparel and home goods and now art prints.

4. What would you say is the greatest challenge you face as a freelancer? And the greatest reward?

The greatest challenge has been balancing home and work life, which is about to get more challenging with baby no. 3 due soon! The greatest reward has been watching my style and voice develop of the past few years.

Meet the Maker: Kelly Ventura Design

5. What has been the coolest part about your career so far? Did you ever image that would happen?

The opportunity to collaborate with a few of my favorite retailers has been a dream come true! The art community is pretty incredible….I feel so grateful to be surrounded and supported by such an amazing community of independent artists on a daily basis.

6. Who or what inspires you?

I find inspiration everywhere, but am so inspired and motivated by others in this creative community building their dream in the same fashion that I am.

Meet the Maker: Kelly Ventura Design

7. Any advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?

Create a lot of work, every single day, and you will find your style!

8. What’s one fun fact about you that others may not know?

There is no house plant that can survive living with me.

Meet the Maker: Kelly Ventura Design

**Be sure to check out Kelly’s website and follow her on Instagram and Facebook! PHOTO CREDIT: Nick Azzaro. Naomi Ernest. Kelly Ventura

 

Meet the Maker: POPBYTS

Meet the Maker: POPBYTS(Oregon State Print for sale here!)

If you’re a lover of fun colors, nature, and all around goodness, then boy do I have a treat for you. Today’s Meet the Maker is especially special because he is a fellow Portlander! I initially fell in love with his work on Instagram and was lucky enough to see it in person since then when we both sold at Crafty Wonderland (ps- be sure to stop by his booth this weekend if you’re going to the spring fair!). Okay, enough from me– meet the man with the coolest headshot I’ve ever seen, Tith of POPBYTS!

Meet the Maker: POPBYTS

1. Tell us a little about yourself!

Hello, my name is Tith Sin and I am the printmaker and painter behind POPBYTS, a three year old shop on Etsy. I create colorful modern designed paper goods, home goods & art that have (a sense of) playfulness and a “POP” of color that are driven by my love for colors and nature. I design, cut, sew and hand-print (everything except my larger digital kaleidoscope posters) in my ‘Design Attic’ (at-home-studio) based in Portland, Oregon.

2. What made you decide to start selling your work?

I completed two years of a design & illustration program in Chicago and realized financially it wasn’t right for me. I also experimented in selling paintings and photography, selling little work in a gallery in Chicago. After a couple attempts to get my name and work out and low sales I realized selling paintings and photography wasn’t the right fit either. In the summer of 2007, my partner and I moved to Portland, Oregon, trading the busy city lifestyle for more of a laid-back city. Being surrounded by nature has really inspired me to create again. In 2012, I decided to explore new, more affordable ways to sell my artworks. I was strongly encouraged by friends and family to give Etsy a try and I opened my shop at the end of that year. After a few great sales I felt more confident about my craft and decided to do trade shows, which are fun for me, and I enjoy meeting people that are interested in what I do and to getting my work and myself out there. I picked up printmaking in 2013 and started really honing my style of art. Recently, I’ve expanded my shop from selling stationery cards,  paper goods, and art work to creating a series of tea towels for my home goods collection.

Meet the Maker: POPBYTS(Argentine Saguaro Cactus Card for sale here!)

3. What would you say is the greatest challenge you face as a shop owner?

Definitely running my own business. From creating line-sheets for wholesale orders to creating a cohesive look for my shop — I have to take many, many photos, experimenting with different layouts and lights to get that perfect shot.

Meet the Maker: POPBYTS(Columbia River Gorge Print for sale here!)

4. And the greatest reward?

As a printmaker and creative small business owner I find the whole design process rewarding, from start to the completion of a product. I always strived to creating fun, colorful and functional pieces that simply bring joy and beauty to a space. As my art evolved, I adopted a more refined style to my designs. That in itself is rewarding. It’s also been rewarding to be featured on some blogs. I often post pictures of my art and some behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram, and it feels really great when they are acknowledge (and featured) by other makers and bloggers.

5. Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by new, small, creative business owners who are trying to put themselves out there and successful small businesses that show how doing and making what you love can get you far. I especially love reading about their beginnings and success stories. I find that very inspiring.

Meet the Maker: POPBYTS(Monstera Tea Towel for sale here!)

6. Any advice for people looking to open their own shop?

Starting a business definitely takes time. Start small with an idea. If you have fun, try to create a unique feel for your product, and keep your work cohesive, eventually you’ll find your niche. Do your research. I have learned a lot from listening to podcasts about branding and start-up small businesses.  One in particular that has been very useful is “After The Jump” by Grace Bonney. It has helped me tremendously to understand how to run a small business and keep stay focus and organized. I highly recommend people check it out.

7. What’s one fun fact about you that others may not know?

Some of my very close friends knows this: I’m a very silly person. Like on an episode of Girls, when Hannah and Marnie dance away their troubles to Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” (one of my favorite songs ever), I’ve often done the same to shake off my frustrations about working on a line-sheets or being stuck on a design. Believe me, it works, and it’s so fun. You should try it! :)

** Be sure to follow along to POPBYTS on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and the web!

Meet the Maker: Charlie and Blair

Meet the Maker: Charlie and BlairPack your virtual bags because we are heading to Australia for today’s Meet the Maker! I’m so excited to introduce you to the ceramic making duo, Charlie and Blair. Each one of their completely gorgeous pieces is crafted my hand all from their home. It’s amazing. Here’s what they had to say:

Meet the Maker: Charlie and Blair

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hi, we are collectively known as Charlie and Blair!  Together we run our shop straight from our home in Brisbane, Australia. We specialize in functional pieces that are made in limited batches, turning each fire into a ‘clean slate’ of possibilities.

2. What made you decide to start selling your work?

As an avid artist and tactile craftsmen we are always creating wares to decorate our home, we started specializing in creating functional pieces that simply bring beauty to a space. As our art evolved so did our pieces, adopting a refined and stylized approach to our medium.

Meet the Maker: Charlie and Blair(Leaf Serving Plate available for sale here)

3. What would you say is the greatest challenge you face as a shop owner?

As a fledgling shop owner, our studio is part of our home and this can sometimes blur the distinction between work and life balance. Our greatest challenge is ensuring that our love for our pieces is at the forefront of the creative process. Every piece we create is a possibility and fraught with challenges and self doubt, we embrace our failures and use them as a method of seeking positive aspects within our failures to aid us in our creativity.

4. And the greatest reward?

The creative process for us is rewarding in itself, seeing our pieces take shape from the raw material state and transform into a functional object that can be part of your home and cherished for many years to come.

Meet the Maker: Charlie and Blair(Dot Dash Bowl)

5. Who or what inspires you?

Our inspiration is drawn from many sources, in particular our travels abroad to Turkey and Japan. Blue is a prominent feature throughout our wares, it is an ode to the beautiful mosques, tiles and jewelry, we have encountered in our travels.  We also gain much of our inspiration from nature.  These simple forms are reflected in the textures and shapes of the vessels we create.

6. Any advice for people looking to open their own shop?

Start small, try and create a unique feel for your product. Find your niche and try and do localized market research with family and friends. But most of all enjoy the creative process!

7.What’s one fun fact about you that others may not know?

Before we became partners we were childhood friends, having known each other since we were 6 years old.

*Be sure to visit Charlie and Blair’s site as well as their Instagram!

 

Meet the Maker: DeBrosse

Meet the Maker: DeBrosse(Hat for sale here)

I came across the lovely and ever so sweet Teresa on Instagram and was immediately taken with her work and her mission. If you’ve read the other Meet the Maker features, you are probably noticing a trend when it comes to finding shops via Instagram. It’s amazing. When it comes to doing business, this lady is doing it right. Here’s her story:

1. Tell us a little about yourself!

Hi! My name is Teresa, but I answer to all things T. I’m the maker behind the Etsy Shop, DeBrosse, which features a handcrafted collection of scarves and beanies that benefit orphaned children in Haiti. I work and play in New York, NY, and can attest to the fact that the city truly never sleeps.

Meet the Maker: DeBrosse

2. What made you decide to start selling your work?

Well, I first learned to crochet so that I could make blankets for children growing up in the orphanages of Haiti. With the help of family and friends, we were able to make and distribute over 150. One of the first blankets went to a went to a bright-eyed five-year old boy named Israel DeBrosse. He had such a huge personality coming out of such a tiny frame, and he really captured my heart.

I wanted to help Israel and his friends beyond blankets, and that became the heartbeat of my Etsy shop. I set aside 15% of the shop’s proceeds to purchase school supplies, clothes, and medicine for the little ones who call one of our two partner orphanages home. Now, we’re eagerly planning to pack suitcases to the brim for trips four and five.

Meet the Maker: DeBrosse

3. What would you say is the greatest challenge you face as a shop owner?

There are so many challenges…some exciting, some just…well, challenging. I think the one that trips me up the most is the idea that my work will never be finished. There’s always a newer idea, a brighter fabric, a softer yarn, a stronger photo. Striking the balance between innovation and contentment is a season I have not yet met, but I’m hopeful that with time, I’ll find it.

Meet the Maker: DeBrosse(Beanie for sale here)

4. And the greatest reward?

The thing that still gets me every time is when a piece of my work is invited into a memorable moment of a customer’s life. It’s when a soon-to-be bride requests a custom shawl for her Iceland wedding, or the birthday girl picks out a scarf for her epic London getaway, or the soon-to-be mom says she’s found the perfect beanie to wear in her baby announcement. I have to pinch myself in those moments!

Meet the Maker: DeBrosse(Blanket Scarf for sale here)

5. Who or what inspires you?

I have a newfound love with my Instagram community, both within my space and those far from it. Paper, chalk, wood, yarn, glitter…I just swoon over the way each of these makers breathes life into raw materials.

Meet the Maker: DeBrosse(Infinity Scarf for sale here)

6. Any advice for people looking to open their own shop?

Do it! And don’t be intimidated if your hand-dyed-paisley-coral-bird-mug is going to be one of 2,756 other hand-dyed-paisley-coral-bird-mugs. There’s this beautiful thing about Etsy where thoughtful work always wins.

7. What’s one fun fact about you that others may not know?

I’ve recently noticed that I get more done when I play rap music in the background. You may not know me, but take a moment to imagine a tiny blonde girl knitting at 6am to Biggie Smalls, and see if you don’t laugh a little.

**Be sure to check out DeBrosse on Etsy and Instagram!