5 Questions – Erika Kern, Crafter

19 Jan

img_1981.jpgErika’s crafting career started with her scrounging gems inside a dumpster for her amazingly creative grandfather.  How creative, you ask?  Well, when she was only 4, he made her a working miniature ferris wheel made solely from trash and a few screws, nuts, and bolts. His creativity – combined with her mother’s amazing skills as a stitcher and stained glass artist – means that Erika has crafting in her genes. You name the craft, Erika’s probably tried it, but her true craft love is embroidery. She’s been stitching since she was 8; two years ago, she discovered the fun of working with wool felt. In 2005 Erika began my imaginary boyfriend, integrating her love of classic crafts, laughter, and whimsy into her home decor and personal accessories.

How did you get started doing what you do?

I’ve always made things, but the business itself started in 2005 when I decided to take a break from the acting career I was pursuing.  Still wanting to do something creative, my roommate, Cindy, suggested I sign up as a vendor at the first Bust Magazine Craftacular.  I didn’t even have a name for my business!  But I applied on a lark and actually got in.  That show went so well that I decided to do more shows and to start my web shop on Etsy.

What is your biggest joy and what is your biggest headache?

Biggest Joy: Having an idea and watching it come to life, and then selling.  I love looking a piles of log pillows  and robot softies when they’re all done!

Biggest Headache: Making the same thing over and over.  It’s the other side of having a successful product.  Sometimes it feels as though I’ll never make anything but log pillows ever again!  I’m not complaining, I love them, but since I’m the manufacturer and designer I often find that the manufacturing takes away from the design time.

Where do you spend most of your time online (business-wise)?

You mean Television Without Pity doesn’t count?  I spend most of my business time at Etsy.   It’s where my shop is located but they also have a great community and great resources.  I also visit The Switchboards, which is a great resource and message board for all sorts of creative women.  The mix of experience there is really helpful.  Other than that, I love checking out other craft and design sites like Design*Sponge, Craftzine and CraftStylish, [Disclosure: I blog for CraftStylish but I do love to see what my other contributors are up to] to see what’s going on in the craft world.

What is the one thing, person, service or resource you can’t do without?

Oh there are so many things I can’t do without!  One thing?  I suppose it would be my super patient and understanding housemate who doesn’t complain about the piles of craft all over the house and who picks up the slack for me when crafting isn’t quite paying all the bills.

What do you wish someone had told you the day you started your business?

That it’s more than just making things.  That the business part is hard and confusing and always challenging.  I don’t think I have ever really mastered the business of my business, it’s an everyday learning process.

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