Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Featured Artist Kimberly Marquez of PoppyLuxe Designs

This week’s featured artist is Fresno, CA, craftista Kimberly Marquez of PoppyLuxe Designs, http://www.etsy.com/shop/PoppyLuxeDesigns. Kimberly offers a cheerful and eclectic selection of gifty items such as jewelry boxes, picture frames, switch plate covers, and more. All are great items to keep in mind for Easter and Mother’s Day, which are right around the corner!

1. The Tote Trove (TTT): According to your Etsy profile, you fell in love with decoupage by leafing through one of your great-grandmother’s craft magazines. What about the craft appealed to you? How old were you when you first started making things?

Kimberly Marquez (KM): There were a few things that appealed to me about decoupaging. The first would be that you could take something otherwise very plain and transform it into something beautiful. Another was the technique, being able to sit and pick out exactly what you wanted to use on your item from different mediums. I thought that was neat. I also liked that you could create layers; most times it made the objects very pretty. To answer the second part of your question, I’ve always been creative. When I was younger I remember decorating the door to my bedroom with wrapping paper and ribbon or making various little crafts. But I recently started making "serious" crafts. By serious I mean researching different mediums, experimenting to see what I like, and then finally showing my work to others.

2. TTT: Did you have any "crafty" influences in your life, or are you more self-taught? Where do your ideas come from?

KM: I didn’t have any crafty influences in my life. My inspiration comes from a few places. If I see a color I absolutely love, then sometimes I’ll just start with that. My “You Are Beautiful” picture frame started out that way. I loved the shade and went from there. Other times my inspiration comes from nature. Daffodils, poppies, cherry blossoms, and certain trees inspire me and influence the things I create.

3. TTT: In your Etsy profile, you write, "Sitting down and making a new picture frame or jewelry box really makes me happy and even makes me feel peaceful." That’s very inspirational! What do you think your life would be like if you weren’t creating things?

KM: Wow, if I weren't creating things, then I think first off I’d be bored! Crafting takes up a good part of my time, whether I'm buying materials, creating, or advertising. If I weren’t crafting, then I’d also have a lot of stress that I wouldn't be able to release. Crafting allows me to sit and focus on something other than housework, the dogs, or my husband sometimes. And let's face it, women need alone time! So, instead of getting a pedicure or my hair done, I sit down and create something!

4. TTT: What's your favorite item in your shop?

KM: Ooh, it would have to be a cross between my “All I Wanted” picture frame because of the colors and my “Vintage Royalty” Mason jar because of the versatility and colors.

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

KM: I’ve been experimenting with various kinds of flowers and actually have some magnets listed right now. I would like to put some of those flowers on rings. Those flowers are completely addictive, and I really like the way they add a touch of "cuteness" to just about everything.

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

KM: I definitely do not follow a routine. I think if I did that, then I’d probably get burnt out easily. I make something whenever inspiration strikes and sometimes, unfortunately, that means putting another project on hold. For instance, the other day I had the brilliant idea of making my own wreath (I've been wanting one for the past few months), and I put all my other projects on the back burner for the whole day. I'm pretty bad about that!

7. TTT: What’s the best thing about running your own business? The worst?

KM: The best thing about running my own business is the communication aspect. I love reading other people's blogs, talking to people, and meeting new people. Without PoppyLuxe Designs I’d never have met some great people. The worst thing about running my own business would honestly have to be the fact that I can't sell my items face to face. I can't really show a person how great my items are and how much love went into them online. I’m relying on my pictures and descriptions to do that.

8. TTT: How did you discover Etsy?

KM: Good question! I honestly don't remember. Before I ever started a shop I was buying on Etsy. I’ve always felt that it’s much more important to support handmade than big companies. I was probably looking for a specific necklace and stumbled upon Etsy through Google!

9. TTT: What have you learned from running an Etsy business? Do you have any advice you’d like to offer other artists looking to market their work?

KM: I’ve learned that it’s hard to run your own Etsy shop. There are a lot of great artists on Etsy. I’ve also learned to have patience, knowing that my time will come! So, my advice to others would be 1) Just go for it! In the beginning I was very hesitant about having a shop or creating things, but I’m very happy that I made that decision. 2) Just because you have great items, please don't expect that to bring customers in or bring them back. I won’t buy from someone unless it's obvious that they took time to create their shop and listings. Also, there are sellers who I’ve bought from that I won’t go back to simply because they didn’t tell me when they shipped my order or thank me for my purchase. When I sell something I try to be right on the ball, thanking the customer as soon as I see the order and letting them know when I’ll ship it. Just because you’re online doesn't mean that customer service goes out the door!
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?
KM: I do have a little shop on Zibbet. It's nothing too special and doesn’t even come close to what I have on Etsy. I haven’t had a chance to sell my items at any craft shows yet but am looking for the right opportunity.

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

KM: The most supportive person has been my sister, Kyla. She’s told me to keep going when I felt like giving up. She’s given me some great ideas for new projects and even uses for some things that I’ve already made. I turn to her whenever I need a little emotional pick-me-up or someone to bounce ideas off of . She's great; I don't know what I would do without her!

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

KM: Yes! I’d like to learn soap making! I love soap! Especially the really rich-smelling ones or ones that also exfoliate. I would love to experiment and see what I could come up with. I’d also like to take a class about paint mediums. I like to paint, although I don't think I’m that great at it. But I’d still like to play around with oil, gocco, or watercolors.
13. TTT: Tell us about life outside of PoppyLuxe Designs. Do you have a job in addition to your business? Hobbies? Family? Pets?

KM: Life outside of PoppyLuxe Designs is crazy at times! I have three dogs: Pixie, a mixed breed that I rescued from the SPCA; Kobe, a Yorkie/Dachshund that I got from a friend; and Shelby, an English Bulldog that my husband just had to have! I’m currently a stay-at-home wife, and between the housework, the dogs, my husband, and my crafts I stay pretty busy! I have a new niece, Madeline, and a new brother, Isaac! I’ll be seeing my niece soon and can't wait to meet my baby brother!

14. TTT: What are your hopes for PoppyLuxe Designs in the future?

KM: My hopes for PoppyLuxe Designs are, I'm sure, like the hopes of most other artists with shops on Etsy. I want to be able to make this something that I can do permanently. I hope that my shop will take off and that I’ll be the next great shop on Etsy that started from just an idea!
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!)

KM: If I were stranded on a deserted island, then I’d eat my mother-in-law’s chicken tacos every day! She makes the best tacos, along with Spanish rice and refried beans. And to top it off, I’d have Sprite and Boston cream pie. Now, that’s something to dream about!
Thanks for stopping by and getting to know Kimberly and PoppyLuxe Designs! Lusting for more Luxe? Don’t fret; there’s more waiting for you:

Blog: http://poppyluxedesigns.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/PoppyLuxeDesign
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fresno-CA/PoppyLuxe-Designs/373312192942?ref=nf

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