If you love the quirky, whimsical and just plain fun then this is the shop for you. Connie of Sunnyside Up Studio makes some of the cutest "spoolie" dolls I've ever seen along with "fairy doors". What a fantastic idea! I want to put one on every wall in my house, I just love them.
You can find her wonderful creations on etsy of course and I will post a link to her blog. Enjoy!
FG: Please give us a brief introduction about yourself.
SSU: Hi there! My name is Connie and I am the creative mind behind Sunnyside Up Studio. I am a mommy to two little girls and wife to a Federal Police Officer. I have a BA in dance, love reading, and am addicted to my blog and homemade Oreo Truffles!
FG:Walk us through Sunnyside Up Studios.
Sunnyside Up Studio was created to satisfy my overabundance of creative energy. It is an open-ended shop that flows with whatever craft I am into. I have discovered a lot of painting wood lately which is why you will find lots of dolls made from spools and wooden doors, but I also discovered I adore working with felt which is where all the hair things came from.
FG: I read that you actually started your etsy shop for graphic design, Your shop ,however is filled with felt accessories , Spoolie dolls, paper things as you call them , fairy doors and even a crayon wallet. (Which, as a mother, I think is an awesome idea by the way.)
Tell us how this transition came about.
SSU: I did start on Etsy creating banners, business cards, and blogs for other Etsians. I started creating posters, car magnets, and other promotional items. However, since I just made custom designs, it got to be too much going back and forth with customers and eventually led to a lot of frustration on my part. When you are trying to nail a design and can't actually talk to the customer graphic design is a very long and drawn out process. And even then there is no guarantee that you really got it right. So I closed up that shop, learned from the experience, and re-opened a shop where I wasn't restricted to just one genre of art.
FG: How long have you been creating these adorable little dolls and how do you decide on the character of each doll?
SSU: I have been creating dolls for my little girls for some time. I am not a huge fan of store bought dolls and they were really happy with the little wooden ones that I made to their specifics. With the Spoolie dolls I start out by looking at the ribbon I am going to use. Since I use mostly German sewn ribbon from a fellow Etsian there is a lot of detail and character to work with. And after the doll is painted and the ribbon pinned on I give the doll a name to fit his or her personality. It really is a fun process that takes a lot of thought to go from blank wood to a finished personality.
FG:Tell us about your Fairy doors, they are so cute and whimsical!
SSU: I read of a city that was known for having fairy doors all over, in businesses, schools, and homes. I was so fascinated with each little door and the possibilities that they represented that I knew I had to make one for my girls for Christmas. We are a very imaginative family who loves to read fairy tales so the thought of a fairy living with us was really neat and caught on with all of our friends. Before long I was making doors for all the little ones I knew so I decided to add them to my shop. But they are all one of a kind because every fairy is one of a kind!
FG:Do you have any special training in your craft?
SSU: I have always been involved in the arts! I went to a performing arts school in Buffalo where I was trained in voice and dance, but was also exposed to a large amount of visual arts. In high school I took every art class offered and even though I definitely wasn't the best, it was an outlet for me that I needed to have in my life. This trend continued on through college, but I am self taught in graphic design and sewing. Thank goodness for books and online tutorials! I know that all those other classes though gave me the basic blocks to craft, no matter what medium I decide to use that day!
FG:Is this your primary business, if not what else do you do?
SSU: Well, aside from painting and graphic designing, I teach dance at a local studio, sell Usborne books, and care for 2 awesome little girls who are my youngest daughter's age a couple days a week. (I was an insurance agent, but the lack of creativity in the field was just not a good match!) I am also the Daisy Troop Leader and hold an office on the PTO at my daughter's school. Whew! I am tired just listing all that! While I don't have a full time 9-5 job, all these other things more than take up that time.
FG:Where/how do you sell your items?
SSU: Outside of Etsy I sell mostly to friends and family by word of mouth. My daughter just attended a birthday party where she gave the birthday girl a Fairy Door and an Usborne book about Fairies. I must have handed out 10 business cards that afternoon because all of the other attendees were so in awe that a fairy was going to live with Miss Birthday!
FG:What things do you do to market your business?
SSU: I make sure that people know who I am and what I can do by popping in the forums (but never taking part in anything negative), chatting with other sellers, and doing treasuries. While these activities seem more social, the positive impact that they have on your business is awesome! Anytime that you compliment another crafter, sincerely, that person will take notice and remember you. Outside of Etsy I blog which is probably the biggest thing that I do. People can shop right from my blog, see what is new, and also maybe learn a thing or two. I do Twitter and Facebook a little as well, but those aren't nearly as effective for me.
FG:What do you love most about running your own craft business and what do you like least?
SSU: I love being able to sell whatever I want, when I want. No one tells me what I need to make and since I am not doing all custom work I can list as little or as much as I want. However, I hate pricing my work and the shipping part of it. I wish I had a helper to just set my prices and then handle the whole packaging and shipping part of the program!
FG:What advice would you give to newbies who want to start their own craft business?
SSU: I was tell them to really decide on a look before putting items in their store. For me, since I am a very visual person like most artists, if a store has awesome items but the look is unprofessional and sloppy it is a huge deterrent. Either make yourself a high quality banner and avatar or hire someone to do it for you. And if you are in doubt about it, ask in the forums because people will tell you the truth!
Once you have the look of your shop down, learn how to take photos of your products that show them off in their best light. If you sell smaller items invest in a light box, whether you make one or buy one. (I made mine out of a box and tissue paper, it rocks!!) Because you are selling in a virtual place, we can't see your items up close. Photos are the only thing that you can do the sell yourself so don't skimp on good photography skills. There are so many tutorials out there, use them!Finally, shop on Etsy yourself so you can receive good feedback and give back to the community. You will be amazed at how many people will remember you when you shop there and soon the Etsy Karma will come back!