This month’s little chat is with the talented Natalie of Humblebea. I first noticed Natalie’s shop when one of her little gnomes was featured in a treasury and then, at Easter, she made some gorgeous, bright yellow chicks and Easter bunnies which flew out of her shop so fast I didn’t get around to buying one before they had all gone. The same thing happened with herLlittle Red Riding Hood series – I loved the Wolf but, again, left it too late! So, bereft (so far) of one of her little figures, I will indulge myself with putting lots of photos of her lovely items on here and be quicker next time.
What is your shop’s name & url? What do you sell there?
My shop name is humbleBea’s and my site is:
HumbleBea is like my own little gift shop. I sell clay figurines, baby shoes and clothing, home decor, jewelry, you name it. I love to create from many different materials and do not limit myself in any way.
How did you get your shop’s name?
I love bees and started collecting them when I got married because our last name is Kibbe. I chose the name humbleBea because it rhymes with bumblebee and also because it tied in nicely with my first Etsy shop, missbeahaven. I eventually combined both shops to make my life easier. Some of my first Etsy friends still call me Miss Bea and I really like that.
Recently, my husband opened a fabric shop, fittingly called humbleboy http://www.etsy.com/shop/humbleboy. My Mom also sells on Etsy under the name twolefthands http://www.etsy.com/shop/twolefthands. We are a true Etsy family! At this point I hope Natalie won’t mind if I slip in a photo from her mum’s shop as I also love her things!
What inspired you to create what you make on Etsy?
I find inspiration in everything! I am a girl with many ideas that I jot down or sketch in a little book as soon as I can. My latest obsession is my Bea’s Wees, a collection of miniature gnomes, birds, homes, and holiday collectibles. I started making little Love Shacks on a whim a couple of years ago and fell in love with polymer clay. One night, I was sculpting houses at the dining room table so that I could chat with my daughter while she was baking. I was playing around with my clay and created a little gnome quite by accident. I painted him and listed him a few days later and haven’t looked back. My head is filled with new ideas for my little figurines, I just need more time to bring them to life.
How many hours a day/week do you put into your shop?
A lot! I am very fortunate to be a stay-at-home-Mom and Etsy has become my full-time job. My kids are teenagers now and my husband works outside of the house all day, so I am able to work on my shop throughout the day until the kids are home from school. I have cut back on working at night, although I sometimes create treasuries in my Poster Sketch after my family has gone to bed.
What do you find most challenging about selling?
Balance. You cannot join Etsy and just sit back and create. You also have to
promote yourself, be a photographer, pack and ship, and be a business person. And because Etsy never closes, it is sometimes difficult to step away take a break.
How do you promote your shop? Do you promote off the internet too, such as craft fairs, etc.?
I promote mainly though the treasuries. I try not to spread myself too thin, but rather to concentrate on finding what works for me and doing it well. Also, I try to list new items as often as possible. That, to me, is the best form of promotion. Keeping your shop fresh makes it interesting for those who like what you do.
What is the most helpful piece of advice/tool/tip that you have discovered while selling on Etsy?
Be original. Do what you love and not what you think others will love. If you are passionate about what you do, it will show in your work.
If you could give any advice to newbie sellers, what would it be?
1. Believe in what you do and keep at it!
2. Be kind and quick to respond to convos.
3. Take good pictures.
4. Remember that there is always room for improvement, even after you have been around for awhile.
5. Do what works best for you. For example, I decided to stop taking custom orders after a very busy holiday season. It was a decision I did not come to lightly because I am a people-pleaser and have a hard time saying no. But, I was spending everyday making things to order and had no time leftover to be creative. It was really hard at first because I knew I was disappointing many of my dear customers, but I think it was the best decision I have made.
What shop goals do you wish to accomplish this year?
I am going to narrow down my product line and concentrate mainly on my Bea’s Wees. I hope to have a large selection of ready-made gnomes that can be personalized very soon and I plan to go into the holiday season more prepared than I was last year.
What else do you do for fun?
I am a bit of a homebody and little things make me happy. I love to sit and listen to high school gossip with my daughter. I play Super Mario Bros. with my son, although I spend much of my playing time in a bubble, which basically means dead. I love chatting with my husband and playing with our dogs. I talk with my Mom on the phone. I listen to audio books. I like to go to the movies and am looking forward to Eclipse and the seventh Harry Potter film. Most of all, I love having dinner with my family. It’s my favorite part of my day.
Thanks so much Natalie and I wish you and your family continued success with your lovely shops.