Thursday, April 23, 2009

Crafttastrophe: An Etsy Shop That's Anything But

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In my near-daily meanderings about Etsy, I found an incredible little shop that, if you aren’t familiar with it yet, you need to bookmark. The shop is called “Crafttastrophe,” and it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Rachel, the creative hand behind it all, takes beautiful shoes, bags, jewelry, and other odds-and-ends and puts a paintbrush to them. The result: quirky, elegant, lovely pieces of art you can wear, assured you’ll get your share of compliments. Since Rachel free-hands her designs, you’re guaranteed that what you’re getting is something truly one-of-a-kind (and, yes, she’ll also make custom orders if you message her). You can also guarantee that by shopping at Craftasttrophe, you’re supporting an artist who makes the effort to be green: orders are packaged in recycled boxes and paper.
I contacted Rachel to see if she’d like to do a brief interview with me to be posted on “Chicken Soup for the Dorky Soul.” I was delighted that she said “yes,” because I really wanted to share her shop with you in a more personal way than simply posting pictures and some links. So without further ado....
Name: Rachel

Age: 21

Location: Cleveland, Ohio

How long have you been painting shoes and accessories?: I've been painting shoes and goodies for several years now, but have only been selling my creations publicly since last September.

What inspired you to start your Etsy shop, Crafttastrophe?: I had begun to accumulate so many beautiful shoes and bags that it was overwhelming. A friend recommended Etsy to me and after one look at the site, I was hooked.

Where do all these fabulous shoes come from in the first place? (Do you buy them new, get them from friends or family, etc.?): My shoes are all purchased brand new. Whenever I'm shopping and see something that catches my eye, I snatch it up and try to make it something beautiful.

Can you tell us about the process of painting one of these art pieces? Do you ever listen to music and dance around? How long does it take?: I usually either watch movies or listen to music while I work (sometimes there are indeed dancing breaks!). I never plan out any of my pieces beforehand. Everything is done 100% freehand, so it really varies on how long it takes to complete an item. It all depends on how caught up I get into each design.

Have you ever had any bizarre custom orders?: I don't think I've ever had any completely bizarre custom orders. I have however had quite a few custom orders for unusual wedding shoes, which are always so much fun to do!

Do you ever wear your own designs?: Absolutely! Many times if I like a certain style of shoe, I make an extra similar pair for myself. It's sometimes so hard to resist!

So, when you’re not painting shoes and accessories, what do you like to do? Any other interesting hobbies?: When I'm not working on items for the shop I love going for walks, watching cheesy horror movies with my husband, playing with our three ferrets, bargain shopping, cooking, and taking exceedingly long naps!

Who are your style inspirations?: I don't know if there are any people in particuliar who have inspired my style. I'm more inspired by the objects of everyday life. I'm inspired by things you see every single day, but may never really notice; traffic signs, food labels, graffiti.

Do you see yourself pursuing a future in fashion?: When I was younger I always wanted to design clothing. I have sketchbook upon sketchbook full of designs! Fashion, in all aspects, is still a huge passion of mine. Only time will tell how far it will take me.

I can tell you like to keep your shop as green as possible. Do you have any advice for people who would like to start to be more environmentally conscious?: By just taking a few small baby steps, it can make a huge impact. For me, I try to keep my shipping and packing supplies as green as possible. Shoes are wrapped in saved paper and packed in clean rescued boxes. If there is a visible label on the box, then I wrap it in thick 100% recycled wrapping paper. I try to encourage my customers to save their packing materials and reuse them as well.

What about for people trying to start an Etsy shop in general?: My best advice would be to find something you love and stick to it. It may take a little bit of time, but if you are passionate about your work it will show through.

Tell us one random fact about yourself: I have ALWAYS wanted to be on the show, "Legends of the Hidden Temple". I could definitely kick those kids' butts. They always got so baffled putting together the Shrine of the Silver Monkey!

And one last very important question: chocolate or vanilla?: Always Chocolate! Yum!

A big, huge "thanks!" goes out to Rachel for taking the time to let me interview her and share her a little bit about herself and her business with you. Now I hope you all go over to Crafttastrophe and buy yourself something nice!

[See something you like in the banner? From top left: Gossip Wedges, size 6.5; Quirky Hearts Boots, size 5; Pink Swirl Tote; Blue Skies Heels, size 9; Blue wedges no longer available upon checking back this morning (sorry!); Frozen Lace Cocktail Ring]

3 comments:

saturdayjane said...

Those are gorgeous! Way to go, Rachel! I would wear those boots in a heartbeat. :)

amanda said...

Those shoes are giving me heart palpitations. I must get something from the shop, especially since she's a "Legends" fan!

Maverick Malone said...

AHAHAHAHAHA-Legends of the Hidden Temple!!! That is SOOO Hilarious!!!

What a fabulous interview and feature!! Her stuff is so gorgeous! I have a friend who thrifts heels and repaints them and they're so gorgeous! I've been inspired to do it for so long, but just haven't!
This was fabulous to read, definitely inspirational!

xox, mavi

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