We have lots of EcoEtsy team members that manage more than one shop, today I’d like to introduce you to Laura Dyck from Canada who opened her first shop on Etsy in 2008. She is the owner of PrairiePeasant and PrairieThreads; both shops have a 5-star customer rating. I’m sure there is a lot we can learn from Laura, let’s start by finding our more about her story and her shops.
Can you share with us a little about your personal story?
I have been a maker of things for as long as I can remember. I am very curious by nature and love to know how things are made. As a result, I have tried many different crafts and art forms, but always come back to my favourite materials of paper and fabric. I live in the geographic centre of Canada in Winnipeg, Manitoba, land of big skies and wide open prairies. I have a very supportive husband who is patient when my supplies overflow into all areas of the house. We have two teenage daughters who are very artistic and creative individuals, and I love watching and nurturing where their creativity will take them.
What is your craft? And what products do you offer in your shop?
I am a bookbinder and a sewist. In my PrairiePeasant shop, I offer blank books of all kinds, envelopes and cards, and in my PrairieThreads shop, I have fabric coiled mats and baskets and hand-knit mini stockings and mittens. Most of my items use reclaimed or recycled materials.
What were you doing before you started your Etsy shop?
Before I discovered Etsy, I was working part-time as an Occupational Therapist and raising my two young daughters. My creative pursuits were primarily in making gifts for friends and family. I had friends who sold crafts at local sales, but didn’t think I could ever have enough stock to fill a table. Opening a shop on Etsy allowed me to start small with just a few listings, and increase as I gained confidence and skills in operating an online business. Now I average around 100 listings in each shop, and sell at local craft sales regularly. And I am still working part time as an Occupational Therapist!
How did you get stated in your chosen craft and what do you enjoy most about it?
I learned to bind books through my local calligraphers’ guild and was hooked after my first book! I learned to sew through a children’s club, Home Ec classes at school, and from my mom, who sewed a lot of our clothes when we were young. I love the process of creating and the sense of accomplishment with the final product.
Where do you get your inspiration for your products?
Usually I have far too many ideas, and not enough time! When I’m not sure what to make next, I’ll look through my materials and feel a pull to use certain books or fabrics.
What makes Your Business Green?
I use primarily recycled and reclaimed materials for all of my products. For example, I love to take a once loved thrifted cotton shirt, and upcycle it into a set of coiled mats and coasters. I can transform the “uglies” (i.e. wild or dated prints) into beautiful baskets, where you see the colours and not the prints. Obsolete computer paper with tractor feed perforations becomes the pages for my recycled map travel journals. Once loved books become new blank journals and envelopes.
In one word, describe your creative process.
Where do you craft your products?
I have a basement studio, a large bedroom that I laid claim to when we bought this house 13 years ago. This was the first creative space I could call my own and I love it! It rarely gets tidier than this, despite my best intentions, but in the picture you can actually see parts of the floor, so that’s not bad!
What advice do you have for Etsy shop owners who are interested in making their business eco-friendly?
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Look around you with a new and creative approach and you will likely see materials you can use in your creative process. Let your friends and family know what you are doing, and you may find unlikely sources of materials closeby.
What is your biggest challenge running an eco-friendly business?
Since most of my items are one-of-a-kind, it’s a lot of work to list items on Etsy. Every item must be photographed separately. I try to make my descriptions usable for all products in the same category with just a few changes for each individual product.
Where else can we find you?