Today I have another special shop to share with you. Elizabeth Creations is run by a sweet grandmother who I'm sure could teach all of us many things. Come read her story, check out her shop, and be inspired!
How and when did you become interested in your craft?
I've been in crafts most all my life. When I was a kid, I learned to sew, crochet, and knit from my grandmother. Later, while raising 5 children, the crafts were limited to "have to's". After they were grown, I started making quilts to keep my life active and productive. The first quilt I made and then quilted on my sewing machine, was a large one. and as I sat at my sewing machine, quilt rolled and laying over my shoulder, hanging back over the chair... I thought "I'm in way over my head". I was determined to finish it.. and did. If I had that to do again, I'd begin with a smaller one!
One thing led to another and handbags became another of my creations. I made my first one because I never could find a purse to suit me, often looking for hours for a purse that fit my needs . I dreaded when I had to Purse Shop. One day about 15 years ago, I was walking through the mall and saw this navy blue quilted handbag for sale, it had compartments, zipper closure... it fit what I was looking for. I bought it and when it was time to replace it, I could not find another like it... so I thought "I can make that myself", and I did. Using no pattern, I just tried to make it like the navy blue handbag I had carried. Along the way, I found ways to improve my bags...I learned how to easily add those elusive zippers for closing, what to add to the bottom for support, how much interfacing to use and what kind worked the best, quilt or not to quilt, comfortable straps, those many pockets for organizing (most who bought my bags, liked the pockets), and just all 'round style.
I've since added many craft items to my daily ideas and accomplishments. All of which I enjoy, as it affords me to be able to switch from one craft to another, and keeps it from ever being monotonous.
What inspired you to open your shop?
Family and friends were buying my bags, so I figured there must be a market for them. I didn't realize the many many talented ladies who were also making bags to sell, until I opened my shop. It's a challenge to do one's best and see others interested in my creations.
Where did your shop name come from?
My middle name and the fact I make so many different things.. I never know what else I'll find to craft/create. I see something and first thought is "I can do that".. until I sometimes find out it's harder than I thought. I wanted to keep the name open to whatever craft I was into at the time, or added later.
What inspires you to create your work?
A picture, an idea, seasons, sunshine, family.... all inspire me to create. Not being creative is a dull day. It's just something I do.
Have you taken any courses or classes?
No courses, no classes.. I am self taught. I was raised by my grandmother and she was a great example for my creative juices. I do not like to read instructions, nor follow patterns... I'd rather work it out myself. I use patterns for ideas and examples, but that's about it. When I make my bags, I start with a square.. and design as I go, decide which is best or not as I go. I have a creative son who can "see" what he is making before it's finished.. I do not have that talent, so I put it together and then see if I like it... if not, I change it before it's finished. I have a container filled with unfinished designs, fabric, that did not turn out. Always thinking that I will find a use for it later.
Describe your creative process. What inspires you?
A picture, seeing something that someone is carrying or using, an idea from out of nowhere... and then I rummage through my fabric or craft stuff.. to see if I can work it out. I like to go the library and look in their craft section. I look at books available in craft stores... run through the pattern books... computer searches ... as I said earlier, I am always thinking "I can do that" until it's proved that I can't.
What are 5 things that you could never do without in your craft?
If you could see my craft room.. actually 2 rooms.. you'd wonder what all this stuff is for. I have "stuff" for more than one craft... more than one idea... I am always thinking, planning, looking for anything that is new or perfect for this or that. I go through Lowe's and look at things that I can use for other than it was made for... I see items and think " what can I change that into"... I can shop for hours in a craft store or any store.. looking for things that I can use for something else.
What I could not do without: Those little sissors, the seam ripper, an 18 or 24 inch ruler, walking foot, computer
What is your favorite item in your shop?
Probably my handbags... I do them well and they are all made with experience and care. My wallets are super nice also.. I make them from one I have carried and liked a lot.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given in regards to what you do?
My brother has a successful Ebay store.. he says "volume" is the answer.. I think he may be right. Of course, volume takes capital. The best advise from me to me... is to not give up.. keep at it if you can and something will click.
Do you take custom orders? If so, how do they work?
I do custom orders, however I would rather design and choose the "ingredients" myself. There are pros and cons to custom orders .... Doing custom orders would eliminate the extras one collects when making items to sell. Time and supplies are tied up in items that do not sell right away .. and I do not have room for storage of large items. I think having the fabric in photos available for those interested, and then making the handbag with their choice, would be a plus... but I have so much fabric to choose from that it's not possible to take photos and do it that way. I'm still open on custom orders and the success of such. I feel more pressure on custom orders.
Besides crafting, what else do you do? What are your other interests?
Why do you do what you do?
I am retired and I do need something to do every day that is both profitable and stimulating... I just have to keep my hands busy. I spent many years raising children and had no time to do these extra things... but had it all in my head for later.
How do you make time to craft?
What advice would you give someone just learning your craft?
Don't give up when it doesn't work fast enough... testing and trying leads to success... if it doesn't work out, chalk it up to experience and try it again. Eventually you'll hit on something. Nothing worthwhile comes easy.
What advice would you give someone new to online selling?
I wish I had the answer to that question.. but... make good photos (it's the first thing customers see), prompt service, honesty, follow through, treat a customer like you would want to be treated, believe in yourself.
Nina, at Elizabeth Creations, is offering you a 10% discount for her Artfire store! Just use the coupon code: 6D3B493048-ADB51E3BDF Come and take a look around. You can also find her on Etsy or on her blog.