Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The SteamTeam is Going to Sunnyvale!

As a team, SteamTeam is still a fairly new group, still growing and learning. This leads to a lot of exciting firsts, and this weekend will mark a huge one! The Etsy SteamTeam will be having its first group sales event!
The team will be vending as a group, at Steampowered, a steampunk convention being held in Sunnyvale, CA Friday Oct. 31st - Sunday Nov. 2nd.

Members have mailed their work to the organizers, who will be manning a group of tables at the convention, and selling team members work. So members from far off places, like, say, the East Coast, can join us in spirit and show their work at one for the first Conventions of its kind!

In addition to the group tables, and entire section of the Dealers Hall will be occupied by individual Team members who will have tables of their own. This makes the SteamTeam the single largest presence in the entire hall!

Members represented on the group table include:,,,,,,,,,,

If you're in attendance, come see us and say hi! Just look for the SteamTeam banner!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Grandma Was A Floozy

Name: Evie Manieri
Shop Name: Grandma Was A Floozy
Shop Link:
Location: New York City
Ships To: Everywhere

What inspires you?
Stories inspire me more than anything else, and in many forms. I'm fascinated by the way pieces of information somehow converge into a narrative. I love the stories that people tell, and the stories that emerge from people's lives. When I create something, it's with the idea that it's going to become a part of someone else's narrative, of their story. I find a modest but meaningful kind of immortality in that.

How long have you had your shop on Etsy?
I listed my first pieces in October, 2007. At first I only had a few of the long scarves, and they didn't seem to attract too much attention. But when I listed the long cuffs that have since become my signature piece, I started to see lots more hits, and soon I was making sales.

Is this a job for you or a hobby?
I consider it a job, although it's not profitable enough to be my only job. I'd love that to be true someday, but the daunting amount of time it takes to create my pieces makes that very difficult, unless I were to significantly raise prices. I'm trying to find ideas that will help me grow the business and make it more profitable, but without sacrificing my intimate connection to the work.

How did you get into your craft?
I've always wanted to "make things". When I was a little girl I spent hours and hours in our damp (and creepy) basement, tinkering around with tools and bottles and jars of things that I had been expressly forbidden to touch. (The basement door creaked, so I always had fair warning!) Every Christmas I asked for crafting kits and supplies. I learned to embroider when I was about eight, and I did that for years and years. When I became pregnant with my daughter about six years ago, I decided to learn to knit. Of course I became completely obsessed. Then one day in the craft store, buying yarn, I saw a pattern book for the most intricate and impossibly fussy crocheted doilies. I bought the book on the spot, along with a steel crochet hook, and a ball of thread. Then I found a web tutorial on how to crochet, picked the most complicated doily in the book, and got to work. It was an utterly ridiculous project to start out on, but a little overconfidence can go a long way! I must have pulled out that first one a hundred times, but when it was finished, I sure knew how to crochet.

Do you have any advice for fellow Etsy shop owners?
Think long and hard about pricing your items! It's much easier to lower prices and have sales than it is to raise prices. Pricing is very tough, as you'll see if you spend any time at all in the Etsy forums. I've found that having a memorable shop name has served me very well. And personally, I find that shops with a particular focus make the best impression on me. I get very excited when I find a shop that does one very specific and unlikely thing - like a shop that only sells cravats. I mean, really - cravats! I think that kind of dedication deserves to be rewarded.

What do you love about Steampunk?
I love that steampunk honors and rewards ingenuity, creativity, and craftsmanship. Of course I love the strong narrative aspect of the characters that people create, and the way their objects, inventions, and dress are such an integral part of that narrative. But what I love most is that Steampunk rejects the idea that objects are necessarily mass-produced and disposable. In Steampunk, everything we touch or that touches us is precious, the product of human hands and minds, and worthy of our care and respect. And that challenges us to treat ourselves and each other with that same degree of respect.

Anything else you would like to add?
Steamteam rocks!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Atelier Choklit: Adornments for Tarts

Name: Choklit Chanteuse
Shop Name: Atelier Choklit: Adornments for Tarts
Shop Link:
Location: Sonoma County, CA
Ships To: Anywhere at all!

What inspires you?

Oh, so many lovely things! I'm absolutely inspired by the textures and colors and quality of my materials - sometimes I wonder if I didn't start all this just so I could buy excessive amounts of luxurious ribbons and shiny things.

I'm inspired by my dearest friends and family, the people I love who surround me, many of whom are just as shameless about their appreciation for ridiculously fine costuming as I am, and who endlessly inspire me to new heights of beauty in the things I make by being so inventive, gorgeous, and stunningly creative themselves.

I also sing in a rock band, so I'm inspired by constantly coming up with new things to wear on-stage as a tribal neo-Victorian quirky rock diva.

I'm inspired by soiled doves and seductive mermaids, sideshow freaks and street thieves, by secretive alchemists and elegant dandies, by traveling minstrels and ladies of ill repute, by gypsy puppeteers and mad poets, burlesque dancers and absinthe drinkers and airship pirates and workshop tinkerers.

How long have you had your shop on Etsy?

I joined Etsy as a buyer in 2006, but listed my first item for sale in May of this year, 2008. Not long!

Is this a job for you or a hobby?

I have a full-time day job, so it's definitely not a job, but it's more than a hobby. I'm one of those crafters who is driven to squeeze in my sewing and beading late at night after the days' work and band practice is done. It's something of a constant juggling act. How I long for a 24-hour craft store to fill my midnight crafting needs!! And just one more free day in each week, please?

How did you get into your craft?

I've been a maker of things for as long as I can remember. As I child I spent countless hours painstakingly hand-sewing miniature Victorian ball-gowns for my dollhouse dolls and making up inappropriate risqué stories about them, which I found far more satisfying than playing house with those same dolls. By the age of twelve I had discovered beads and was selling beaded jewelry at local crafts fairs. I've always loved to do tiny and detailed work with my hands, and I love especially to make things out of beautiful materials. For many years I sewed and beaded only for myself and for friends, and it wasn't until about eight months ago that the current manifestation of my craftiness came about.

For years I had been making Victorian and Edwardian - inspired costumes for myself, and people kept telling me I should sell them. But I knew there was no way that I could make that sustainable on top of a full-time job, and that the amount of time I put into making each costume rendered them virtually impossible to do for someone else without charging an unmentionable sum. I had rather recently discovered and fallen in love with the Etsy community and was overtaken by a desire to be more than a consumer in it. So I started thinking about what small piece of my aesthetic, and my love of neo-Victorian costuming, I could re-create and share with others on Etsy... and the idea for the adornments was born. Once I realized that I could justify collecting more and more pretty ribbons and jewels and feathers if I kept making things for the shop, I was hooked.

Do you have any advice for fellow Etsy shop owners?

Take really beautiful pictures. That's what draws me to a shop more than any other single thing. On the level playing field of the Etsy interface, really stunning photos will make me look twice. And definitely get involved in the Etsy community, that's the most rewarding part! The more active you are, the more exposure your shop gets, so get out there and make some great connections.

What do you love about Steampunk?

I love the hybrid nature and cultural fusion of the Steampunk aesthetic, which allows for all sorts of delightful freedoms when creating costumes, environments, and stories - there's magic in that melding of the historic and the futuristic.

I've always been an inhabitant of the places where the sub-cultures intersect - a boundary dweller, one might say. I love taking pieces of vintage circus and vaudeville couture, the style of Burning Man, tribal cultures, Gothic Lolita and neo-Victorian fashion, and mashing them all up into one un-classifiable freaky aesthetic. So Steampunk was a natural fit when I realized it was all about re-imagining the refined but somewhat restrictive style of the Victorian age, which I've always loved - but through the lens of technology and modern progressive thinking, with a dash of adventure.

I also adore the Steampunk movement's appreciation for hand-crafted things, the challenge to mass-produced and homogenized culture, the individuality that comes out when people strive to make truly original artwork and designs. I love to see what is born of that passion for making things by hand.

Oh yes, and corsets and goggles. I can't get enough of either - and when worn in combination... *sigh*.

Anything else you would like to add?
I'm quite honored to be part of such an active and madly talented team as the Steam Team, and I'm so grateful for all of the connections and new friendships with like-minded souls that being part of the team has afforded me. Thanks so much!