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!!


Winona Cookie said...

Great interview! It's so fascinating to learn how people become so very masterful at their craft and how they developed as artists.

TotusMel said...

I came at tatting in a round about way too, yet it is my favorite craft. Lovely interview.

Wenchie said...

Very interesting how the crocheting came about, perhaps my baby will inspire me to take sewing more seriously.

Sarah Dungan said...

I'm still astonished by your crochet skills, it takes me hours and hours just to crochet a single thing!

. c h o k l i t . said...

Lovely! I adore the snippet about how your pieces will become part of someone else's narrative - as a lover of stories myself, I found that notion quite fascinating.

Evie said...

Wet, sloppy kisses for all of you!
xoxo GWAF