Thursday, November 29, 2007

Featured Crafter: Holly Tree Primitives

Interview with Michele of Holly Tree Primitives

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click on banner to visit Michele's online shoppe

Tell us about yourself: where you are from, a little about your family, hobbies/interests, pets.

I currently live in Vancouver Wa. And have for the last 10 years. I have an extremely supportive husband and we have two awesome children, ages 5 and 3. As for hobbies, I love to craft, read, and decorate. We have a frog named Hopper and a fish named Flounder.

How long have you had your online business? How did you get started?
I opened my online business, Holly Tree Primitives almost
a year and a half ago, and I am loving every minute. I started crafting primitive wares for myself, because I couldn’t afford to buy what I wanted for my home. I tried selling some of my stitcheries on Ebay, and the rest is history.

What kinds of products do you sell - is everything handmade?
Most of what I have is hand made, but I do have some retail primitives, like tart burners. I started with my handmades, so I am making that the focus. My biggest sellers are my hang tags and prim necklaces, I get the most compliments on my hang tags, soaps, and my sewing creations.

What is your personal favorite item to craft?
I love to make lots of things, but if it is colonial inspired, I love it even more. Right now I am making a lot of prairie bonnets and sawdust pillows, which seem to be what everybody else wants too.

What inspired you to open an online store?
I was having some success on Ebay, but lacked control over the look and feel of my store, so I decided to go solo and open a webstore. I am very happy with my decision, and I still sell on Ebay as advertising for the website.

Do you have a workroom?
Yes, I have a workroom/keeping room. One portion is a work/ sewing area and the other larger portion is a display room for all my wares. I have local customers that like to see everything displayed. I LOVE my keeping room, so cozy and inspiring. I am so lucky to have a space that is all my own.

Do you sell at craft shows?
I don’t sell at craft shows, mostly because primitives don’t seem to do real well at the craft shows I have been to. I think a lot of people don’t get the style or can’t see the beauty. If things start to pick up for primitives in that area, I will be the first to sign up.

Do you do home shows? How long have you been doing them?
Yes, I do home shows. I started in May of this year and they are wonderful. I go all out, food, drink, and my house completely decorated with my prims. I have farmhouse antiques, candles and tarts, a large selection of hang tags, everything out and displayed in a way that the customer knows how to use it in there own home. It helps them see the potential and beauty in the item. Plus with all the good company and give away, it is a blast.

Do you sell your items for consignment / in a brick & mortar store?
I used to sell for consignment, but found that the cut into my profit was too high. Also, since primitives are slow in this area, I got kind of frowned upon for my art. I decided it wasn’t worth it to hear someone politely criticize my work, so I stopped. I have been happier ever since.

~I am so happy to be a part of the prim community. In addition to making and selling primitives, I also write for Primitive Times Magazine, which is an awesome creative outlet for me. I also have a blog called The Holly Tree Blog, where I get to encourage others and give decorating tips. The entire prim community is so warm and welcoming and I hope I can give to it as much as it has given to me.

Below is a slideshow of Michele's Home show and her crafts

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