Monday, January 6, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Diane Babin of Cruisin' Creations

Welcome to another edition of Artist Spotlight. This week’s artist is Diane Babin  and her shop is called Cruisin’ Creations! Here is one of Diane’s beautiful items:

Tell us a little about yourself and your creative business
Crafting began at a very young age as my mother, grandmother, and aunt taught me how to sew, knit, crochet, and embroider. I was drawn to all of it immediately and over the years honed skills in the crafts that I enjoyed the most. At the age of 9 my mother enrolled me in a 4-H club. While not the most popular club to belong to at the time I thoroughly enjoyed it and believe it had a lot to do in forming me into the person I am today. I also taught myself other crafts that interested me. Some people are simply born with the talent to create in different ways. I believe I am one of those people.

What I enjoy most about crafting and working with my hands is being able to see what I have accomplished in a given period of time. It is so rewarding to visualize the amount that has been completed in a project.

My career has been varied. I have been a teacher, interior decorator, business owner, clothing designer, and tailor. In 2012, as retirement from teaching was approaching within the next year, I realized that it was time to find another avenue for my creativity and my Etsy shop, Cruisin’ Creations, was born!

How did you get your start?
In October, 2011 a friend told me about a new craft called loom knitting. After much discussion I realized that this wasn’t new at all but a variation on a craft I was doing at the age of 4. I purchased a set of looms and began knitting hats and scarves which I donated to various local charities. I loved the speed with which I could complete these simple items and the ease in working with the looms.
A couple of months later a colleague showed me a beautiful wool scarf she had knitted with seed pearls on the ends. That got me thinking about adding beads to the yarn I was working with.

After much experimentation with beads and yarns I began creating the traditional, infinity, and short beaded nylon scarves that are found in my shop. Adding the beads slowed down production time, but added so much to the design that I had to keep making them. Realizing that the cost of the scarves would be prohibitive for some and that a scarf is not always the right accessory, I began designing a line of necklaces and bracelets which are very popular.
I’ve always had a desire to be a business owner. It seems to be in my blood. I don’t know where it came from because no one in my family while I was growing up had owned a business. I think I just love the challenge of growing a business and thrive on the thrill of it all.

When I started creating these beaded scarves I wasn’t sure where I was going to sell them until another friend showed me the Etsy shop of a former colleague. I was immediately drawn to Etsy and all that it offers and after some research opened my shop in April, 2012. Soon after opening Cruisin’ Creations on Etsy I began participating in craft shows which are where a bulk of my sales come from.
So, while all of this was developing I realized that I had to come up with a catchy name. After much discussion, my husband and I decided to combine two things that I love to do – go on cruises and creating; hence, Cruisin’ Creations!

Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration for my creations comes from nature, observing people, fulfilling needs and wants. Some of my designs have come from my interpretations of ideas from friends and relatives. These “designers” are always rewarded for their help with one of the originals!

What has been your biggest successful moment so far?

Beating 2012’s sales by four times in 2013! This was accomplished through Etsy and local shows that I participated in. While we always want to make more, if I can continue this trend I will be very satisfied with the success of Cruisin’ Creations.
What challenges do you face selling online?
Being discovered. Marketing. The economy.

There are so many talented artists online today and so much competition on Etsy that sales seem to be an exception rather than the norm. I spend a lot of time promoting Cruisin’ Creations by developing treasuries, posting on team pages, posting on facebook, pinning items, etc. Marketing seems to take a major portion of my day leaving little time to create. This can be frustrating but is necessary for business success.

What advice would you give someone just starting out on Etsy?
Find a way to set yourself apart. Develop your own brand. Create something different from what is already out there. Take clear photos and provide detailed descriptions of your items. Find other outlets for selling your product because, at least in the beginning, Etsy is not going to pay the bills. Good luck!
Thank you Diane for sharing your interesting story with us! 
Well that wraps up another edition of Artist Spotlight.  We try and run this column every Monday and we’re always looking for artists to spotlight.  So if you are interested or know someone that we would enjoy reading about please pass on the information.

Thanks for stopping by,

Until next time…

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