Name: Melinda (Mel) Beatty
Shop: Poor Robin - http://www.etsy.com/shop/PoorRobin
How long have you been doing your craft?
I started fooling about with felt and buttons last spring (2008) while I was awaiting a long overdue shipment of silver. (I'm a silversmith, actually) It was such a fun diversion being able to use vibrant colors and having a giant candy box full of buttons to paw through!
When did you start selling & what inspired you to start selling?
I started Poor Robin in August of 2007 to separate my felt and button endeavors from my silver shop, My Aphrodite. As there is such a huge volume of lovely silver jewelry on the site, it was nice to be able to sell some lower priced and easier to make items. I VERY much enjoyed working with color, something I hadn't really had a chance to do with my silver jewelry. Since my husband, daughter and I (and bump due in March!) share a rather small two bedroom flat, it's been much easier to find space to work on Poor Robin since I lack a permanent space for my silver equipment. I have no doubt that I'll go back to working on silver in conjunction with Poor Robin once we move back to the US next year, but for the moment, I'm quite happy to immerse myself in buttons!
Is this your full time job?
Ah, the crafty "Quit Your Day Job" dream! I work as an office manager for my father-in-law who specializes in GPS navigation. However, with a maternity leave coming up, I imagine I'll try to get as much done as possible before #2 arrives!
What are your hobbies?
I love to read and write. I adore snowboarding, (we're lucky enough to live near two "real" indoor slopes here in the UK) music, jewelry making, theatre, art and crafts of all sorts.
What is your favorite color?
My Mr. always gets in a flap when he asks me "favorite" questions, because I always come back with qualifiers. "Like, favorite color for clothes? Favorite color to look at? Color that makes me happiest?" I'll say, at which point he'll throw up his hands. However, I suppose for the sake of brevity (too late!) that I shall simply say...red. :)
What is your favorite color combination?
I've gotten to think a lot about this since starting Poor Robin and pawing through my button box, looking for colors that look fantastic together. One of my favorite bracelets is "Kiss Me Kiluea" (http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=21512587) which is orange, teal and black. Also loving teal and brown, the colors of a shirt that I love on my daughter. A lot of people separate materials into colors in little drawers, but my button box is huge and full, so I can constantly be surprised by the chance meeting of two or more colors.
Which colors do you use most in your work?
Absolutely all of them! Although, since Christmas is sneaking up on us, I've been hitting the old red, white and green fairly hard.
What is your number one tip for success?
I've been truly delighted at how well Poor Robin has done since I began last year. Etsy is such a fickle mistress, but I suppose the old standby "have great photos" is the one that seems to work the best. Great photos make for inclusions in treasuries, features, front pages, etc. I don't have an expensive camera or lightbox; I just tinkered a bit with my standard point and shoot's settings and wait for decent, natural light. (Not so easy when it gets dark by 4 in the winter!)
What do you think is the most fun way to promote?
Teams (Woot CIC!) do a fantastic job of keeping their members in the spotlight! I also spend a bit of my budget on web advertising as well as craft shows. (members of the UK Street team have done a spectacular job of putting together different craft shows around the country that are affordable and are great exposure.) I'm hugely grateful to members of all of my teams!