Monday, January 4, 2010

Featured Artist Terri Mosquera of Krystala Creations

This week’s featured artist is Terri Mosquera of Krystala Creations, Terri is our first non-Etsy NJ artist of the series (she hails from Massachusetts), so please give her a big welcome! Terri creates delightful and up-to-the-minute hats, scarves, and handbags (see here for a few stand-out samples). As the winter ripens into full force, you just may find yourself in need of some of these cozy pieces.

1. The Tote Trove (TTT): Who is Krystala of Krystala Creations?

Terri Mosquera (TM): The word “Krystala” is a combination of “crystals” and “angels,” both of which I have a strong belief in and connection to. The name just seemed to fit. I chose the “K” instead of the “C” because the “K” seemed to give the name a stronger sense of energy. I added “Creations” to capture all of my work, which includes clothing, accessories, and paintings.

2. TTT: According to your Etsy shop profile, you come from a long line of artists and creative people. Who in your family has influenced your artistic endeavors the most, and why?

TM: For generations in my family, from as far back as my great grandmother, we've all had a strong ability to create and make clothing and home decor. We each had different styles and strengths but shared the enjoyment of creating with our hands and minds. My mom taught me the basics of sewing and crocheting; the rest I figured out as I went. Now my strongest influence is my friends. When I told them my ideas for this business, they were highly supportive and helpful. Since then, Krystala Creations seems to have taken on a life of its own. I love what I do, and somehow a lot of my work finds a great home. This, to me, is a marvel.

3. TTT: A visit to your shop shows your love of accessories. What sorts of accessories do you prefer to wear? How has your interest in fashion influenced your art?

TM: I love to wear accessories!! I was known as the scarf girl in high school. I love interesting pieces of jewelry, fabulous hats, great shoes, and interesting belts. And, of course, handbags! When I started Krystala Creations I realized that I needed to stay fashion forward if my work was going to thrive. I also noticed that customers had a strong liking for natural colors and fibers. So each year I research the fashion trends of the season, including colors, textures, wardrobe must haves, and clothing styles. Then I produce a few items of each to see how they sell. I’ve realized that this is how to keep the business alive and interesting. For the business, but also for me! I want to make only one-of-a-kind items. And I love variety.

4. TTT: How did you decide to turn your passion for art into a business?

TM: It was when my son, who was my youngest, became a teenager. I raised my three children as a single parent, so I never had time for myself let alone my art! But as time went by I realized I had more time, as well as a strong desire to create something from my work. I really didn't know what to do, exactly. So I tried making a few accessories, mostly winter scarves, and orders were coming in faster than I could make them! One thing led to another . . .and voila, Krystala Creations was born! I chose accessories because I wanted to make something fun.

5. TTT: What is your favorite item in your shop?

TM: I have to say my hats! I always had trouble finding the right hat. Later I realized it was because I had a big head!! So I started making hats that would fit and flatter and not squash the hair. Then I had to learn to felt. Now, that is such fun!! I also love my Round Sweater. I’ve made about six of these, as custom orders only. I didn’t sell them on Etsy, but to buyers who’d brought friends over to see my work (I have a finished product room in my home). To me, the Round Sweater is my true creation. But they’re very expensive. I have so many other ideas, but they take time and the money, so hopefully I’ll get to them later!

6. TTT: What items, if any, would you like to add to your shop?

TM: I have so many ideas and so little time! Definitely more sweaters. And more creative scarves. I have tons of handbag ideas; however, I need better machinery. So that’s on the maybe later list. And I have done fabulous work for weddings. I would love to add a wedding section to my store! Totally!

7. TTT: Describe your creative process. Do you follow a routine, create when inspiration strikes, or a little bit of both?

TM: Well, the creative process has a life of its own, I think. I start with my research, looking in magazines and in high-end stores and boutiques for inspiration, then just start daydreaming. Sometimes I wake up designing something in my sleep and have to get up and grab a pen because I’m already doing the math for the item in my head and want to get it written down before I forget! Other times I simply shop for fabric, yarns, and notions and buy what is interesting; then the creating begins and has a life of its own. All the pieces just come together. See, this is such fun!!!

8. TTT: What is the best thing about running your own business? The worst?

TM: The best thing is the creative outlet! And my ability to just do what I love! The worst is when times are tough and you have to do it all, and there’s something you don't have the time or complete knowledge for. I would love to expand but need more capital. But I believe that in time, this will come also. I believe everything happens for a reason.

9. TTT: How did you discover Etsy?

TM: A few friends and some customers told me. At first I wasn’t ready. Then the business was so busy I had no time. I actually had to lose my day job to have the time to get my Etsy shop up and running. Now once again I’m working a full-time job in addition to running my business. I’m crazy busy, but so loving life!!!

10. TTT: Do you sell your work in venues outside of Etsy (i.e, other sites, craft shows, etc)? If yes, then how does selling online differ from selling in person?

TM: I do home parties and some craft fairs for the holidays, and my work is available in a couple of boutiques. Selling in person allows people to experience the full impact of your work. This is most inspirational. When someone admires your work, talks to you about it, has suggestions, or just compliments you, it’s priceless. Etsy is also fun because I’m making friends, networking, and building a customer base. These elements are so valuable to the business, and sometimes just provide some sanity in difficult moments!! So to me selling in person and on Etsy have great value.

11. TTT: Who is most (emotionally) supportive of your business?

TM: My family and friends. I have yet to have anyone discourage me. LOL . . . I don't think I would listen anyway!! I’m having a blast doing what I do. And when people acknowledge my work it fuels me with more creativity.

12. TTT: Are there any new artistic/creative skills you’d like to learn?

TM: I would maybe like to learn to make hardware for my handbags. I have the ideas but no avenue yet to achieve them. And maybe I’d like to learn to love to sew. I like to sew and am very good at it but don't have the same love connection with the machine!! So I figure that in time, I'll need to hire a staff . . . LOL!! I also wish I had more time to work on my paintings. I specialize in textured art. That's an avenue that I may pursue further someday.

13. TTT: Tell us about life outside of Krystala Creations. Do you have a job in addition to your business? Hobbies? Family? Pets?

TM: I have three beautiful children whom I could not be prouder of, a fabulous son-in-law, and four loving grandchildren. I work as a cosmetologist in a spa in an affluent town close to where I live. I do nails now and have for over 20 years, but did hair initially. I decided to switch to nails after developing allergies to all the hair chemicals. I love people and love the diversity. My hobby would be my art. Although, I may take up photography so I can take better pictures for Etsy . . . LOL!! I used to have a cat, Precious, whom I adored, so named because I rescued her from the animal shelter, but she has passed away. And strangely enough, I’ve since developed allergies to cats!

14. TTT: What are your hopes for Krystala Creations in the future?

TM: To keep it fun and interesting. I’d like to see it grow and stay creative. I dream of having five to seven artists working together designing new lines of accessories, each one of us with different talents. Who knows.

15. TTT: BONUS QUESTION. Just for fun, if you were stranded on a deserted island and had to eat the same thing every day, what would it be? You can pick a drink and a dessert, too. (I find that dreaming up a whole meal makes this game more entertaining!)

TM: On a deserted island. Ok, my guess and preference is that it would be a tropical island. Fruit and fish would abound. So, I’d want a steak!! Filet mignon with mashed potatoes, a fabulous Cosmopolitan, and crème brulee!! And can we have it by the case load, please? LOL.

Thanks for stopping by and meeting Terri! Be sure to check out Krystala Creations, often for new and exciting items for yourself and everyone on your gift-giving list!

We’ll see you back here next week. Oh, and if you’d like to be the star of our next feature or know someone who would, then don’t be shy! Just drop me a line at and I’ll make it happen!


Lori Citsay said...

Great interview! I love Terri's perspective. Much luck!

The Tote Trove said...

As always, thanks for reading :)