For today’s interview, please welcome Laura from LaLau Land.
1. Firstly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you are based, for example in which country and part of that country? My name is Laura Weiller. I am 28 years old and married. My handsome hubby, Drew, and I have 3 very special ‘Alley Katz’ (Haru, Ryo, and Twitter) and an oddly assorted Boxer, American Bulldog, Beagle mix named Georgi-Boy. I’m from the United States, and currently reside in rural North-Eastern Georgia (Georgi is named after this state), near Athens, Georgia.
2. Please tell us a little about the nature of your craft/design based business. As cliché as it may sound, I just love making things. The unique thing about it is that I have no one single focus, but an ‘across-the-board’ approach to crafting. I crochet and knit. I make metal jewelry. I make dog leashes and other survival gear out of paracord. I draw, scrapbook, blog, dabble in photography and web-design. I love upcycling things into utilitarian art. My favorite medium is paper, though I love absolutely everything I do. Recent favorite projects have included colorful eternity scarves, ribbon boards, and paper books. I’m currently learning about crochet bags, earrings, and appliques. I’m also looking forward to making my first jar lamp very soon. I’m always learning and studying for something new to further grow my business.
3. How did the idea for your business come about? I have always been very artistic and creative, but second-guessed myself and my work; often questioning if anyone would be interested in buying my goods. After years of wanting to have a business but never committing to it, I resurrected the idea, polished up my work, and posted it to Etsy. I’m satisfied in that I continue learning new and exciting things about each product I offer, and over time, it will only make business better. Probably the most intriguing thing about my business is that I’ve built it on pennies and dimes. I had a lot of crafting materials gathering dust, and decided to make some use of them — otherwise, we are pretty much broke. The story behind the business is slowly making it’s way to my blog more and more as I learn that it is okay to open up.
4. How long now have you been established? As a blogger, I’ve been online for almost 7 years. I tried starting my business in 2010, but found I was unable to fully commit at the time. I refreshed the blog in 2011, to give my business it’s fresh start in 2012. I’ve been crafting since I was twelve years old, and my family has always been very supportive and are impressed with my work. I’m particularly appreciative of my husband’s love and support throughout this time.
5. How do you decide what to make, and how do you come up with your great ideas? While in my teens, I found a book in a Cracker Barrel Country Store. The book taught how to make friendship bracelets from embroidery floss. Today, I’m still inspired by books, magazine publications, and ultimately other bloggers. My decisions for what to make are usually based on inspiration. I see something and want it, so I research and work to try to make it out of materials we already have. If I can’t do it, fine. But if I can, then perhaps I’ve helped someone out who couldn’t afford it in the store. I often work with projects until I can make them my own, and that’s always fun and exciting.
6. Do you undertake your business on a full-time basis or do you have other work/family commitments? My husband and I each have household responsibilities. Beyond that, we each work full-time in some crafty capacity, and my husband is seeking other work as well.
7. Tell us a little about your typical day and what is involved in running the business? I find that starting my day with reading is a pleasant, gentle way to put myself in a mood for creativity. I have office hours with a writing focus during the first half of the day. If I find I’m stuck on what to say at any point, I’ll switch over to doing some household chores, or reply to some personal letters. My afternoons are filled with chores, cleaning, cooking, and coming up with new ideas. I also use some of that time to search the Internet for more bloggers to connect with. I complete each day with crafting or scrapbooking, usually while my husband and I share time together watching movies.
8. What advice would you give to others who are considering running a craft based business? Love what you do. Understand that owning a business does cost, but that cost need not skyrocket through a credit card. Collect your tools and materials over a period of time; remaining open to the temporary use of unorthodox methods (i.e. using a knife instead of a paper cutter, or a butter knife instead of a folding utensil). Create rules and boundaries for yourself and stick to them. Network. Invest your time and talents in others, and they will return the favor. Don’t be afraid to request the opportunity to be featured, but be polite and graceful in the asking.
9. As this is Art of Crafts I have to ask, do you enjoy any crafts yourself in your spare time? If so, please tell us more. Indeed I do. I created my business out of ‘spare time’, so everything displayed in my Etsy shop is something I would wear or use. In my additional spare time not devoted to my business, I can be found scrapbooking or making paper books for myself. I’ve been studying mail art and trying to find my own voice within it. Letter-writing is my newest ‘thing I used to do’, and I’m enjoying the opportunity to re-visit it and truly invest in others.
10. Finally, if people want to learn more about your business/website do you have a web address, Facebook page or Twitter profile where they can find out more ? I can be followed on multiple accounts directly from my blog’s page (http://lalauland.tumblr.com) I can also be found at my Etsy shop (http://etsy.com/shop/