Sunday, October 30, 2011

About MSTTeam

So you've joined the team, now what?
Here are some things you should know about this team:

*Our monthly newsletter (sent by email) tells what is happening each month with the team (dates to remember, useful links, etc). You can join the team email by contacting a team leader - see sidebar.

*We have a facebook page you can join, (the link is to your right), where your shop may be promoted to others and where ideas to help your shop are posted, (such as how to get free business cards!)

* You can sign up for Team Treasury Days (Every other Tuesday, 1-2 days per month,), where you make one treasury and get featured in 16 other treasuries the day you sign up.

*You can create featured item team treasuries anytime to help promote team members, who in turn, may do the same for you.

*We have the first-ever, (as far as I know!), "Rolling Treasury" on etsy. The treasury rotates with seasonal happenings, such as the "Christmas edition." You can shop other team stores from the link at the top of this blog.

*There are threads on the board where you can find others in your state or area to meet up with or network with. Post to those threads and get to know people. Networking helps get you sales.

*We have a team blog where you follow team happenings. Every month a new shop is spotlighted/interviewed so you can get to know them better. We also have the monthly "roundup" of gorgeous items spotted from team shops (maybe yours!).

*We have an official team tag that you can use when making treasuries or posting items in your shop. It is "MSTTeam" You can also use "mountain standard timers," as well.

*We are glad you are here!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Store Spotlight is Red Sky Designs

Today lets talk to Tim Trafford - Designer and Seamster EXTROIDINARE and  Lori Trafford - Marketing, Sales, Customer Relations, Packaging, Bookkeeper, Artistic/Creative Additive :) -

Infused Designs- How did you come up with the name for your store?

Red Sky Designs- I had a wonderful father who was in the Navy who took us camping every weekend and understood my crazy love of horses and the outdoors. I sadly lost him when I was 13 - he always said "Red Sky at night, sailors delight.... our shop name is in remembrance of my hero, my dad. :) The peaceful feeling of a beautiful Montana Red Sky in the evening is an incredible picture of creative beauty that is both inspiring and incredibly relaxing and makes some of the daily challenges we all encounter very worthwhile.
ID- That's a very touching story and makes for a great business name. How long have you been crafting, and who taught you? 

RSD- Tim owned a seat cover shop over 25 years ago and loved manufacturing, and using his talented, engineering mind to develop and create on his industrial sewing machine - We've been married over 24 years and he has always wanted to get back into industrial manufacturing and sewing the amazing designs that develop in his multifunctional mind - Tim is completely self taught and continually works to perfect every single design from the quality, functionality, aesthetic and good old great looks angles.

ID- Neat! Do you have any formal training in any craft/art subject? 

RSD- Neither Tim or I have any formal training in manufacturing or marketing. We are both completely self taught and we LOVE learning everything we can from others and sharing everything we have learned with anyone who wants to follow their creative, entrepreneurial dreams.
ID- When did you open your Etsy store? 

RSD- We opened our Etsy shop in June of 2009 - I woke up early and was reading the Billings Gazette in bed on my smart phone and came across an amazing story about Piper and Paisley and their amazing rise to fame after being discovered on Etsy. I was intrigued as I had never heard of Etsy so I researched and discovered this powerful site that catered to items that were handmade. Etsy was incredibly easy and fun to use and so I opened our "shop" that day featuring our handcrafted leather pillows, bling belts and our very first Red Sky Koozie designs. Etsy does an incredible job of promoting the shops and getting your "face" on Google. Even though it takes time to learn all of the angles and advertising opportunities - Etsy is right there with blogs, treasuries, community and help sites to aid you in your success.
ID- That's a great story and perhaps similar to many of us on Etsy.  :-) Do you have other venues you sell at, like craft shows or other online stores? 

RSD- Red Sky Designs is an official "Made In Montana" product as all of our items are handcrafted in our Montana shop. We are a vendor at the annual Wholesale/Retail Made in Montana Show in March in Great Falls, Montana and we also exhibit at all three of the Billings Wholesale Market shows in Billings Montana. We currently have 45 stores that we wholesale our Red Sky Koozies to and we also do a tremendous amount of retail business out of both our and our websites. We are very fortunate that Red Sky Designs is doing five times the amount of business that we were doing last year and we are continuing to get calls for very large customized orders from all over the United States. As of today we are very proud to say that we have shipped our Red Sky Koozies to over 43 states as well as to Canada and Australia and we have not received one single koozie back nor have we received one single complaint about our products. :)
ID- Wow!  That's awesome!  What is one of your favorite items in your store?

RSD- Our Red Sky Koozies !!!! My personal favorites are the Beaver Can Koozies and my Tri Colored Beer Bottle Koozie - I also love my coffee cup/pint koozie - Tim's favorite is his Bison Leather Beer Bottle Koozie or his Bison coffee cup/pint koozie - we literally do NOT leave home without them and we are constantly giving out business cards to anyone who sees our koozies.

ID- Where do you gain inspiration for your items? 

RSD- We both LOVE the look, feel and smell of leather and are constantly thinking of new ways to use this amazing natural product whether it is in koozies, cuffs or other durable items that just look and feel WAY cooler in leather !
ID- Do you feel like you have found a niche for the items you sell? 

RSD- Red Sky Designs has been very fortunate in the organic growth of our products and our company. Our Red Sky Koozies have been very popular in both the gift and tourist markets as it is certainly a very useful product that not everyone has and it a great gift to give OR receive! We are continually complimented regarding the quality of our craftsmanship and the extreme quality of the leather that we hand select for our products. Simply put, the quality of our Red Sky Koozies creates a niche that we are very thankful for.
ID- I can certainly say I've never seen anything like your Koozies. Where do you see your shop in 5 years? 

RSD- Red Sky Designs was started as a "fun money" and eventual "retirement money" business. We are very pleased and thankful to say that RSD has has grown so fast in the past year and a half that it has also become the "college fund money" for our two awesome kids. We take a tremendous amount of pride and pleasure in knowing that we create products that others are excited to give as gifts. On Christmas morning we are both beaming thinking about the number of people that will be enjoying our Red Sky Koozies with their favorite beverage that day. In five years we see Red Sky Designs as the single source of income for the two of us which will allow us to travel to spend time with their kids and their families and to truly enjoy a creative and fulfilling lifestyle that has always been our dream. We are always excited about every new order and we look forward to the opportunity to continue to play "Santa Claus" for a very long time.
ID- It looks like that is a very achievable dream.  Congratulations! What advice can you give your fellow team members?

RSD- I know that it sounds trite, but really....FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS. You can do whatever you set your mind to as long as you are willing to put the time and the hours into, making your dreams come true. Listen to the wonderful wisdom of others, ask questions, LISTEN again and most importantly WORK HARD so you can PLAY HARD. Life is too short to dwell on the "what ifs" so be sure that your focus is on the "What's next". It is SOOOOO easy to sell what YOU love and what YOU love using ! Make sure your customers are happy and that they feel the pure joy that you put into your products. Energy is a terrible thing to waste and if the first idea you have doesn't work, try your next idea, and your next, or your next and don't ever, ever quit!

Thank you so much!  Lori and Tim your advice and story are very inspiring!  We are glad to have you part of our team and to show our appreciation we will head over to your site to circle you.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Spotlight is contemporary art by Christine Krainock

Today we'll take a visit to contemporary art, by Christine Krainock. Christine creates her beautiful abstract, textured paintings in San Diego, California.

Infused Designs- How did you come up with the name for your store?

Contemporary- Well, "Contemporary Art by Christine" is my business name, it just represents the fact that I paint contemporary art. I paint modern, original, abstract, textured oil and acrylic paintings using a palette knife. However, my store name on here comes up as Christine Krainock, because my real business name, "Contemporary Art by Christine" has too many characters for Etsy Shop Names.

ID- How long have you been crafting, and who taught you?

CA- I have been creating art for as long as I can remember! As a small child, all I remember wanting to do was art! I drew, I painted, I drew, I painted more... My grandmother, who was an artist and a painter gave me my first lesson on painting using oils when I was just 13. My first oil painting was a still life, which I still have.

ID- You still have your first painting? Wow, that's neat! I'll bet it will be worth a lot of money some day! Do you have any formal training in any craft/art subject?

CA- This is the question that usually surprises everyone. I actually don't have formal training in the style of painting that I do. I honestly sometimes wonder how on earth I do know how to do it! I have never even watched another person use a palette knife to create paintings. I somehow just seem to have a knack for mixing paint colors and applying them in such a way to create vivid paintings full of texture and depth. Here's a bit of my story... I did take art a few times in high school, mainly drawing classes. I did very well, and my teacher was encouraging me to continue with art in collage, as I very much wanted to do. However, my parents very much did not want me to major in art, and strongly "encouraged" me to focus on a more "sensible" career. So, I became a teacher. I actually have my Masters of Arts Degree in Education. I taught 2nd grade and kindergarten for 13 years. Over the past few years that I taught, I started painting again, more and more. My paintings were selling and started to be collected all over the world (from another website, and locally). After going through some very big and difficult life changes... it brought me to where I am now, painting, and selling my art full time! Although I enjoyed teaching, art has always been my true passion! You could say I am addicted to it! I absolutely love what I do, I feel that passion is even more important than formal training in the arts.

ID- That's awesome! And I can see the passion in your art! When did you open your Etsy store?

CA- I actuall signed up for Etsy March 2011, however, I didn't really start filling my store with inventory until May 2011. Even then, I had to pretty much take all of August "off" as I was so busy with a move and getting my oldest off to start college. It is up and going great now!

ID- Do you have other venues you sell at, like craft shows or other online stores?

CA- Yes, I do sell at art shows, my most recent was one in downtown Denver. I will be participating in a few in the spring, and am considering allowing my work to be put into a good old brink and morter store. For the past few years though, selling online and by word of mouth has been good to me. I do MANY commissioned pieces for clients, for design firms, interior designers, and private collectors. I am kept very busy with commissioned custom pieces alone. I do have my paintings up on a few other sites, but they basically all feed into Etsy, like, I find it difficult to list each painting on so many different sites. My primary business website is . I LOVE my Facebook page! It is a great way for "fans" to "like" me and follow posts on my new paintings, etc. I love reading my fans comments! .

ID- Great! Thank you for giving us those links! I've liked you and I'm sure others from the team will like you too. ;-D What is one of your favorite items in your store?

CA- Gosh, this is a good question. My family giggles at me when I have to ship off a painting that I have become attached to. They are like my babies! Well, my favorite painting that I had done so far this year, actually sold about a month or so ago, it was called "Goodnight Sweetness". It had a special, touching, meaning in it to me. Out of what I currently have listed in my shop, the painting of three red trees called "Crimson Companions" is my favorite! It is truly stunning in person (photos can never capture how they look in person)! The background looks so "earthy" and organic, and the trees are HIGHLY detailed to give them a beautiful, almost 3-D effect. I love the color palette.

ID- Me too! They remind me of the trees we, as kids, called lolly-pop trees. Where do you gain inspiration for your items?

CA- My inspiration comes primarily from nature, and the beauty and organic textures found in nature. Using palette knives to paint allows me to capture not only the vivid colors we see in the outdoors, but the textures as well. Each day I paint though, a bit of my mood for the day, also of course goes into my work. This is probably apparent. A darker painting with a "lonely" feel was most likely done on a day where my mood, forever whatever reason, let's say, was not so upbeat. Other paintings might reflect my normally positive, cheerful, bubbly personality.

ID- And isn't that one of the beauties of art? That our mood can be captured in it? Do you feel like you have found a niche for the items you sell?

CA- Yes I do. I basically just paint what I love, and I am just so thrilled that others who come across my work either in person or online, have such a positive reaction when they see my paintings! I do feel like, my work is different, and unique due to my own painting style and technique that I use and continue to develop. I feel like I do paint abstract florals, trees, landscapes, which, unlike some artwork, actually DO look so nice displayed in a persons home or office!

ID- Where do you see your shop in 5 years?

CA- Well, considering I feel very new to Etsy, I see my shop just taking off! I really like how Etsy is set up. I hope to continue to get found on Etsy's site and to have even more repeat customers.

ID- What advice can you give your fellow team members?

CA- At the moment I am working to increase my inventory in my shop, the trick is finding that balance between having completed paintings or items, to sell in your shop, and filling custom orders. I find that setting aside days for custom orders, and other days to just "create" from your heart for new pieces, helps to maintain that balance. Try to connect with as many potential buyers as you can! Market yourself, and your name though the social networking sites and across the web as much as possible. It causes a chain reaction to bring buyers into your shop. Even if the person who say, "likes" your Facebook page, doesn't buy from you, THEIR Facebook friend might see their "like" or comment on their newsfeed, find you, fall in love with what you sell, and buy 3 items! Also, don't forget about your own social circle, let everyone you know know what you are selling and where to find you. Again, you never know who might know a friend who owns a shop who wants to display what you are making, or a new salon who would love to hang your artwork, etc. Most importanyly, HAVE FUN! Enjoy what you are doing! We are so lucky to be doing what we love and to be creating beautiful things for others to enjoy!

Christine what a pleasure it has been to get know you and some of your experiences! You've got an exuberant spirit that is catching! Thank you for being out spotlight this week.

To see more of Christine's wonderful paintings and add her to your circle go to her shop at:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Store Spotlight is Made 2 Order Tie Dye

Made 2 Order Tie Dye is run by Brian, who lives in Henderson, Nevada.  He's fairly new to Etsy, so lets she what he likes about running a Tie Dye store.

Infused Designs- How did you come up with the name for your store?

Made2Order- I came up with the name with the idea of making only custom tie dye shirts. The problem is each tie dye is very unique. That being said, about half of my orders are custom orders based on the designs I currently have for sale.

ID- Yes, I can't imagine being able to reproduce the same design twice.  How long have you been crafting, and who taught you?

M2O- I have been dying for about one year. I am self - taught; my tie dye experience began as a school project in my science department. I teach at the middle school level and I was invited to participate - one shirt and I was hooked! I have not had any formal training, most of my designs and patterns are through trial and error.

ID- When did you open your Etsy store?

M2O- I opened my store in May on 2011 on my birthday.

ID- That's great!  I guess you'll never forget what day you opened your store. Do you have other venues you sell at, like craft shows or other online stores?

M2O- I have an online school supply business ( that has some of my shirts posted but I have not set up that side of the business the way I want to yet - a work in progress.

ID- What is one of your favorite items in your store?

M2O- One of my favorite patterns is the double spiral; I also like the stained glass effect that has black running through the shirt. I have a picture on one below.

ID- Wow!  That is cool!  I love the rainbow colors.  A nice affect! Where do you gain inspiration for your items?

M2O- I gain inspiration from other tie dye designers on the site - there are some amazing designs out there.

ID- Do you feel like you have found a niche for the items you sell?

M2O- I don't think I have found my niche yet but I am patient!

ID- <laugh> Patience is key! Where do you see your shop in 5 years?

M2O- I hope I am a lot busier in five years! Tie dying is a hobby right now but it is something I really enjoy; I plan on sticking with it.

ID- What advice can you give your fellow team members?

M2O- Advice? Be patient while you are getting your name out there; it takes time to build a customer base. My school supply store only had $1500 in sales the first year; we are currently in our fifth year and we should do more than $30,000 in sales this year. It takes time.

$1500 is still impressive!  Thank you for giving us your time, Brian, and your advice!  OK, everyone now it's time to go pay Made 2 Order Tie Dye a visit and add to your circle!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Friday Store Spotlight is Bijouled Designs

Cynthia Johnson, hailing from Estes Park, Colorado is one of our newest members.  She runs a beautiful jewelry shop call Bijouled Designs.  Let's get to know this peace loving lady a little more.

Infused Designs- How did you come up with the name for your store?

Bijouled Designs- "Bijouled" just sort of came to me after seeing a street named "Bijou" in downtown Colorado Springs!

ID- That's so creative! How long have you been crafting, and who taught you?

BD- My aunt Kris taught me how to make jewelry when I was about 15 years old. I have been making jewelry for 5 years now!

ID- Do you have any formal training in any craft/art subject?

BD- I work at the YMCA of the Rockies in the Craft and Design Center's jewelry section, which I was trained for, does that count? :P

ID- That totally counts!  And I'll bet you get a lot of great experience working there.  When did you open your Etsy store?

BD- My Etsy store opened in August of 2010.

ID- Well then you just celebrated your one year anniversary recently.  Congratulations! Do you have other venues you sell at, like craft shows or other online stores?

BD- I sell some one-of-a-kind pieces in a few stores in Manitou Springs, Colorado, and hopefully at a Denver art fair this summer!

ID- What is one of your favorite items in your store?

BD- One of my favorite items is the leather "Marmara" earrings. As I was making them, I wasn't sure how they'd turn out, but I absolutely love them.

ID- Sometimes accidents are the best way to create.  I really like them too!  Do you feel like you have found a niche for the items you sell?

BD- I've been working harder on creating a unique niche for the items I sell. I am taking some time away from school to decide where I want my life to take me, and it has given me more time to focus on my business.

ID- Where do you see your shop in 5 years?

BD- In 5 years, I am hoping to have a more specific area of expertise in what I create.

ID- What advice can you give your fellow team members?

BD- The best advice I can give my fellow team members is don't give up!! I know it's cheesy and cliché, but it really is true! I have much more success when I keep up with my store and list every day, than if I do a lot one day, and slack off for a week.

Thank you, Cynthia!  It's been great learning more about you and your shop.  Go see more of her lovely jewelry at:

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