Friday Feature – Amy McDowell of Amy Did It

Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.

Today’s feature is all about Amy from Amy Did It on Etsy!

Tell me about yourself and your shop.

My name is Amy, and I live in Houston, Texas.  I have a “cake face.”  The story behind that is that once, my husband noticed a sweet expression on my face, and – thinking that I might be thinking something lovely about him – asked me, “Sweetie, what are you thinking about?”  My answer was, “Cake.”

How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?

I’ve been making crafts of one kind of another for years – since I was a kid in grade school.  My mom and I used to make things together, and she has taught me so much about handmade beauty and presentation.  I get easily hooked – she once showed me how to make a florist’s bow, and I started spinning them out like crazy.

Fast forward to today, and I love to work on all kinds of things.  My latest obsession is making jewelry out of ribbon flowers.  I make necklaces, bracelets, and rings by arranging the ribbon roses, rosettes, daisies, and leaves that I create with this gorgeous authentic French ribbon I have found.  I loved the ribbon first, learned how to make the roses second, and had the idea to make them into wearable art jewelry third.  Now I’m obsessed, so I decided I might as well sell them and see if I can get anyone else hooked as well.

Autumn bib statement necklace: French ribbon flowers in fall hues -- a beautiful gift for her (or you)

Autumn bib statement necklace

What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)

My mom is one of my primary influences – I create something and wonder if she would like it, if she would wear it.  She has such amazing taste, and a sincere appreciation for handmade items.  She raises “crafting” to “art.”

What do you do when you need a little bit of inspiration?

This is a tough one.  If it’s a specific project I’m working on, and I’m just not loving it, I step back and try to give it some time and space.  Stepping back and coming back to it later often gives me a fresh perspective.

What is your best achievement?

My best achievement is probably having learned to grow from a shy person into someone that can be proud of her work and accomplishments and then, further still, into someone that can even promote herself.  Self-promotion goes against all my instincts of modesty.  It still pleases and surprises me when others are interested and even appreciative, but I’m coming around to accepting the support instead of dismissing it.  It all comes down to believing in yourself, really, and I’m getting better at it.

Knitted, Felted and Beaded Deep Sea Blue Teal and Gray Bangle Bracelets -- Don't go wacko

Knitted, Felted and Beaded Deep Sea Blue Teal and Gray Bangle Bracelets

What does handmade mean to you?

Handmade equals special care, thought, uniqueness, individuality, and loving attention to detail.

Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?

I do.  I’ve had good and bad experiences (like anyone, I’m sure), but the best experiences come when two people can come together to create a common vision.  That can be a challenge (particularly when you have to get there through electronic communication and not face-to-face), but when it works, there’s nothing better.  I like to try to help others develop their ideas – to collaborate and be inspired by the other into creating something beautiful.

What plans do you have for the future of your business?

I’m taking it a step at a time.  I try to focus on my efforts instead of the results – my efforts are the only part I really have any control over.  It’s easy to get carried away and grow obsessed over things like page views and how many people have “favorited” the items in your shop.  But it’s not really productive.  The piece I can control is to create beautiful work, display it in a pleasing way, tell a story about each piece, and “put it out there” and promote it however possible.  So I try to stick to that.  And then what will be will be.

Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?

Go for it!  Have no fear.  Do good work, take great product photos (learn how to make your own light box!), and promote, promote, promote!

Loose ribbon flowers: 12-piece garden of roses, daisies, flowers & leaves -- make beautiful accessories for your hair, belt, shoes, or purse

Loose ribbon flowers

Many thanks to Amy and be sure to check out the rest of her shop!

Stay tuned for more Friday Features, crafty tutorials, and other joyous posts!  If you’d like to stay up-to-date on happenings here at Homegrownjoy, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  Thank you!

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