Friday, April 24, 2009

Interview with Karramandi/JuniperJournals

Part of an ongoing interview series profiling EtsyVeg members.
Interview presentation by Kylie of

Meet Yvonne of Etsy's

Yvonne's enthusiasm and passion for creating is both inspiring and contagious, as is her evident compassion for animals and Earth. Her ever-expanding shops (lol) are filled with products that have been artfully-crafted, prepared with careful attention, and infused with love.

Q. Etsy is a unique blend of artists with many different creative styles and approaches. What is your own "philosophy" or approach to creativity?

I've always held the approach that I should make things that people want to buy, rather than what I like to make. I prefer soap made with essential oils, but I always thought that if people could imagine what a fragrance smelled like, they'd be more likely to buy it. For example, it's easier to imagine a strawberry fragrance than one of Lemon and Juniperberry. Since joining Etsy I've realised that this isn't the case. People should make what they're passionate about. I'm passionate about natural health, which is why I became an aromatherapist and reflexologist. I also trained as a crystal therapist, although I don't practice. Anyway, with this in mind I'm currently trying to sell out of the fragrances I've got, and am in the process of making soaps with all-natural ingredients and lip balms with natural flavors. I'm also passionate about animals and climate change, so the products I make are all suitable for vegans (even the lip balm now) and my packaging has been changed to use recyclable materials where possible.

Q. What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

Hmm, I've got three shops all selling very different things.
Karramandi sells soap and body products, Juniper Journals sells journals, and Collar Me Gorgeous sells dog and cat collars. I love creating different things.

Q. What are your creative inspirations?

Animals, nature, my kids, my mom, travel, different cultures, color.

Q. How did you get started creating?

When we moved into our new home in Warrington, UK, I didn't know anyone at the time and was looking for a hobby. I hate TV. A search on the Internet brought up a soap making website. I ordered a Melt and Pour kit and have been addicted ever since, although I don't make Melt and Pour soap anymore. I took three courses in alternative therapies, too, and found that this was an area that I really feel passionate about. I am able to incorporate the aromatherapy I learned there into
my soaps and skincare. However, I've created things since before I can remember. At infant school I made table mats with cross stitch. My mum taught me to use a sewing machine at 10, and I've been making stuff ever since. She introduced me to patchwork when I was young, and although I haven't got the patience for patchwork, I love the fabrics. They're so colorful, and the patterns are amazing. That's why I enjoy making the journals and collars. It just took me a while to find my outlet with this media.

Q. What other artistic tendencies do you have? Do you have other crafty/artsy skills that you already do or would like to try?

Erm, I make my own clothes, but in my case, it's more of a practical thing rather than an artistic thing.

Q. What would you like to try to make, that you haven't already? What is your dream project?

I fancy having a go at fusing glass. I booked myself into a course late last year, but unfortunately had to cancel. The course specifically uses a microwave kiln, which is the only one I could afford, so I'm hoping later on in the year I'll get to go.

Q. Do you have any other hobbies/interests/passions?

Reading. I'm addicted to reading. I could spend a fortune on books. Last year I wanted to do a course on cake decorating. With money being tight, my husband wasn't all that enthused. I promised him I wouldn't buy a book for the whole year if I could go. It was an absolute killer, but I did it. No one in our family has to ask what I want for my birthday or Christmas- book vouchers it is.

Q. How long have you been on Etsy, and are you an Etsy addict? :)

I've only been on Etsy since the beginning of the year. But yes, I'm already an addict.

Q. Is Etsy a large part of your business? How else do you market your work?

I also sell at a local market and farmers market.

Q. What are your future plans for your shop/business?

There's a line from my eldest son's favorite movie, 'Bee Movie', that I think is absolutely fantastic and mirrors me to a tee: "One job for the rest of your life? What an insane choice to have to make!" I've gone from job to job without finding something I'm at all passionate about. My family keeps asking what job I'm going to do when the kids start school. The idea of going back to something I hate and working in an office, which I can't stand, horrifies me. I've discovered that I am passionate about creating. I want to grow this business to a level where it will bring in a sufficient enough income so that I don't have to go to work in an office again. I've got 3 years to figure it out until my youngest starts school full time.

I also want to grow my new website, Handmade Designers. I'm in awe of the amazing creative talent that people have. I'm not an expert at Internet marketing, but I do know a bit. I thought it would be nice to give something back to the people who inspire me with their amazing art work.

Q. How long have you been vegan/vegetarian? How does being veg play into the rest of your life?

I've been vegetarian for 15 years now. I became a veggie because I was sick of telling people that I only liked certain types of meat. I was a very fussy eater. It was just easier to say I was vegetarian. One day, my boyfriend at the time told me that if I was going to tell everyone I'm veggie, then I should BE veggie. I've been a veggie since. But my whole perspective changed once I became one. Rather than not eating meat because I didn't like it, I learned about the awful treatment of animals, and the killing of them for food became a disgusting idea to me. Now I can't walk past the meat or fish counter without holding my breath- I hate the stench of dead animals.

Q. What is the last recipe you made? What are your food vices or cravings?
I always cook. It's very rare we get take out. I like to make things from scratch, although since starting my business I find I've got less time and tend to buy pastries and quiche and ready made pizza. I don't buy anything else ready made, and I always check for artificial additives. I've discovered that my kids behave better when they've not got artificial additives inside them. My favorite all time meal is a simple macaroni cheese. I love it.

Q. What is your favorite vegan/vegetarian store/restaurant/blog/website?

My husband has always said, "Vegetarianism is a fad. It'll wear off". I ignore him, but it's hard when you're the only veggie and the rest of the family keeps asking, "When are you going to start eating properly again?" Until I came across EtsyVeg, being "vegetarian" was just something I was. Now, having joined the EtsyVeg family, being vegetarian is who I am and means a lot. I can't tell you how much of an impact meeting other vegetarians/vegans has had in my life. It's like a lifeline, so a BIG thanks to everyone here.

A recent photo of Yvonne with her children.


mvegan said...

Wonderful, animal friendly crafter and person!!! ;0)

auclairdelalune said...

Lovely shops and it's nice to meet another book loving, vegetarian mommy!

Heather said...

Awwww Yvonne! I'm so happy to be part of your lifeline! It's wonderful to see you & your adorable boys. I love reading your emails & hearing from you on etsyveg! XOXO Heather :)

JulieWebb Photography+Design said...

Great to read about you Yvonne! Nice to see you smiling face and your gorgeous kids. :)

JulieWebb Photography+Design said...

*your* :)

FireHorse3 said...

Yvonne - I love the variety of your work - you have so much energy - glad you have found support for your veggie lifestyle here at EtsyVeg :D Best Wishes Julia x

Yvonne Hands said...

Thanks everyone for such amazing support and wonderful comments. I'm humbled :)