Meet Michelle Weigel, from Hays, KS. Read more about her and her husband here and visit their store at GrapevineCeramicsGft.
How did you get started on Etsy?
We were looking for a venue to sell our products outside of the craft show circuit. We found that we were competing with mass produced items more and more and we were giving away our hardwork, ideas and pieces of us just to compete. When we found Etsy we had an “ah ha” moment here was an outlet that thought like us. They valued handmade and vintage items.
What is your inspiration for your shop?
Items in our shop are inspired by our surroundings and life experience. We live in mid-western Kansas in a town of about 30,000 in the middle of the State. It’s small enough to have a hometown feel, to raise a family and big enough to get a taste of “city life.” Two miles from our house we can walk in fields of sunflowers and wheat. The golden hues against a deep blue sky is reflected in our Sunflower pieces. Dragonflies dance in our front yard every summer and are the inspiration for our dragonfly pieces. Our collective memories as children help drive the ornaments that we offer.
What is your favorite item from your own shop and why?
All the items in our shop have a personal connection to who my husband and I are. But my personal favorite would have to be the Sunflower vase. It is one of the first items that we worked closely together on, from conception to final product it is a true team project.
How do you unwind when you’re not creating?
If we’re not creating, we’re out on the motorcycle. It provides an opportunity for us to talk with no interruptions. It also allows us to just bask in the sunshine and our surroundings.
List 3 of your favorite Etsy shops.
Who has only three? As part of the Etsy community you make friends and their shops become your favorites too. Outside of our close circle I would have to say that these are the three that made us stop in our tracks recently and say WOW!
The colors and color combinations that designer Shari Kalb uses are exquisite – www.etsy.com/shop/ShariArts?page=2
The unique use of discarded automotive accessories by 8 Mile Creek Designs gives a rustic and whimsical feel where ever you use them – www.etsy.com/shop/8milecreekdesigns
The League of Uncommon Creatures is just that – whimsical, uncommon characters that we would love to have in our home –www.etsy.com/shop/uncommoncreatures
How would you describe your work style?
Organized CHAOS – We get into a groove and have a plan to get things done and then something derails it. Be it our home life, our jobs or special orders. It seems we never get to complete things in the the order we want, but it all gets done somehow.
If you could choose any one superhero power, what would it be and why?
After talking it over with the Mister – I would have to say the ability to time travel. Not necessarily to change things but the opportunity observe and learn about culture and events that shape our world in the first person.
If you knew then what you know now, what would you do differently in opening your shop?
We would have read the Etsy Seller Handbook and became part of the community sooner. We were naive and thought that if we placed items in a storefront that they would magically fly off the shelves. In real life it doesn’t work that way. Until we started developing personal connections within the Etsy community and actively promoting our shop and others we didn’t have a chance. After the first year and a half with one (yes I said one) sale we were thinking about dropping it. But we sat down to analyze what we were doing wrong and saw that we missed the boat big time. We read the Etsy Seller Handbook, we discovered teams, and social media. We became part of the community. Our sales aren’t on “rockstar” level but they are comfortable. We can keep up at a manageable pace, we’re right where we want to be right now.
Please list where you can be found
Rebel Mouse: www.rebelmouse.com/GrapeVineCeramicsGft/