This weeks Featured Seller is Kay Leverton of Scratching For a Living
I'm sure you will find Kay and her work truly inspirational – I certainly did!
Please introduce yourself and your business
I am an English artist living with my husband and son in Tredegar, South Wales, a small valleys town near to one of Britain’s greatest National Parks.
Our nearest city is Cardiff.
I work in Pastels and Scraperboard although I have the occasional fling with watercolours and acrylics.
I sell my own creations from my Studio, in Galleries and now on Etsy
When did you establish your business?
My business in a small way has been around in one form or another for the last 10 years, growing bit by bit as my interests and confidence have come and gone.
It has been a long birthing process with all kinds of experiences along the way and it has changed me considerably.
What prompted you to start your own business?
Apart from having the house taken over by artwork (you know that one I bet!), I also need to have an income to add to a very small pension.
Then of course there's the desire for my work to be seen, to find its place outside in the world.
I used to find it hard to let it go but now I finish a piece and kiss it and say “now go make someone happy”: I love others finding joy in the images - They are me saying “hello world.”
I recently sold three large pastels to a lady for her children's nursery, a big wow moment!
I don't believe in coincidence and since I have put all this effort into Etsy I have had some great sales of original artworks and two offers from Galleries.
What is old work to you can be someone else’s treasure.
I enjoy selling cards of my work as not everyone can afford the originals – I by lots of artist cards myself
When did you first start working in your chosen discipline?
I've always been creative with home making, gardening, sewing etc but I got ill with M.E. and lost my secure job - I realised life had to change.
So in the 1990's I turned to my longing to do art and got better and better. As soon as I touched pastels I knew I'd found something, my hands just knew what to do.
Three years ago I needed to work sitting down. I got out a pack of Scraperboard from my hoard of art materials,
I'm like a magpie collecting things to try out sometime.
So, the sometime had arrived, I just did it, my hands knew what to do and I fell in love.
I have some linocut tools and boards ready and I look forward to trying this later in the year.
The moral of this tale is do what brings you joy.
What inspires you?
Art is a privilege; everywhere I look there is magic and subjects to inspire me.
I have done a lot of spiritual questing over the years and my love of the Earth and all her creations, humans and plants and animals and my relationship to them and vice versa - that's my way.
I have lucid dreams and many images are born there.
It's important to create beauty and to live in Beauty: it's taken me a long time to come to this and to live it.
Life is truly precious and every moment needs to be cherished.
I say no a lot more to things that I'm not truly interested in and use my time better.
I hope I am kinder, living is not easy, existing easier, count your blessings, be here, be present in your life.
How did you hear about Etsy?
I had made a website but had no regular sales outlet and I wanted a blog so I started looking at other artists’ blogs.
I kept seeing Etsy shops on these sites and thought let's check this out.
It was so simple compared with other ways to sell and looked friendly - so here I am.
How did you feel when you made your first sale on Etsy?
I put my shop live on a Thursday and had my first sale on the Monday. I stared at the emails in amazement then jumped up and down. I ran to tell my husband, phoned my mum, my son and my best friend.
Four days later I was still having trouble sleeping for excitement.
I think I may be converted to Etsy (ha ha)
What do you like about being part of Etsy
The sense of community.
I have had such a warm welcome and to have your work appreciated is always great. There is so much help to be found and to see the talent out there, wow; we are a potent force for good.
To create is magical, truly.
What advice would you offer other Etsy sellers out there?
From my vast experience of 6 weeks this is what I found so far.
Short version – check it out, lay it out and keep your standard high as you can, keep at it.
Longer version – I studied the site for days before starting my shop and I intend to develop a lot over the next few months.
- Do research on similar shops, not to copy them but to find what is unique about your work, your USP (Unique Selling Point) then promote that.
- Read all the ‘How to do it’ bits - advice is at hand so ask your fellow Etsians.
- Put in a good selection of work and keep adding - have stock ready to go.
- Be professional - this is a business I hope to make a living from and it needs to be worked on
- Make up trial parcels so you can work out weight and price then charge the actual postage. Postage costs are expensive - you're not a benevolent fund
- Be realistic with your pricing then add on a bit for your time. If you undercharge to start with it's hard to put your prices up later Bear in mind that galleries will charge you up to 60% etc plus materials and taxes.
Would you like to offer the British Sellers on Etsy Blog readers a special offer?
I plan to do this at Easter, It will be in my banner, look out for the Easter Bunny!
Where can we find you?
Etsy Shop : http://www.etsy.com/shop/KayLeverton