Friday, September 3, 2010

A Scientist In Our Midst: A New Virginia Etsyer

Our featured artist for this week is Ayla. Ayla is a Mid-westerner, turned Easterner, turned Virginia Etsyer. Find out how she got started, her views on Etsy, and why even if she crafted full-time, she may take her science over her art.

Please tell us a little something about yourself.
I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and then I moved to Connecticut during high school and stayed until I graduated college. Then, I moved to New York City for graduate school. Now, I'm in Charlottesville, Virginia looking for work in my field. I’m a physicist.

Describe you craft and how you started your business. I started crocheting scarves, blankets etcetera years ago. I never thought to sell anything or even branch out into different things until I was getting requests to crochet bags.

I started making jewelry about 10 months ago. I really like jewelry and I love earrings but I'm allergic to nickel. So I figured instead of buying expensive nickel-free earrings, I could just make them on my own. I bought a kit from the craft store and the rest is history. I started selling jewelry when I was getting requests from friends and family to make certain things for them.

So, tell us how you heard about Etsy and how you started your shop.
A friend told me about Etsy. I've never heard about it until then, and I initially didn't think about selling anything. I wasn't sure if I could. In fact, I have only sold 3 items at that time and those were sold to family members.

One of the main reasons why I've wanted to sell on Etsy is because I like making things and I figured if I can sell stuff, then, I can have a hobby that pays for itself. I don't know if I'll ever sell things but I figured as long as I'm enjoying what I do then I'm not losing anything. I still love Etsy despite not making many sales at the moment.

What do you love about your craft?
What I really love about my craft is how much it relaxes me and keeps me focused. It's really nice to take a break from science.

Do you have an item that you really love from your Etsy shop?
Right now, I'm really loving my wallets/wristlets. I learned to make them two weeks ago and I've been in love since. They are so simple and pretty and look so good that I just can't believe I've made them.

Can we hear your thoughts on buying local and why it matters?
I've recently decided to start buying more local produce, meat, and dairy. This also includes buying local items or USA items. Sometimes it is hard to buy things made just in the USA especially when you see things on Etsy that are absolutely beautiful from around the world and - especially when the price is right. But, the more I try to sell my own things locally, I do believe that it's only fair to contribute to other sellers in the same way. I do like stuff from overseas, but I don't try to over do it too much. Buying locally or within the USA helps our economy within and in turn helps everyone.

So, in Etsy speak, do you have a day job (9 to 5 or office type job), do you like it, OR do you dream of quitting your day job and selling your craft full time instead? I do have a day job and I'm really not too fond of it. It is really a job that is earning money while I look for something in my field. Or, if I'm really lucky, Etsy becomes full-time.
Although, I don't have too many hopes of Etsy being full-time. I wouldn't mind making things all day, but, deep inside I'm a scientist and I'm going to want to smash some atoms at some point. But we all want to be on the front page of Etsy at least once!

I agree with you! I think being on the Front Page would just be the bomb! I don't know what smashing atoms are like, but it must be fun too! Thanks so much for taking the time to to talk to us and let us in your world!

To learn more about Ayla, check out her blog Alexandra's Jewelry

See what Ayla's been creating and visit her Etsy Shop at AAlexandra