If there's ever a name that can get stuck in your head simply for having the perfect ring to it, it's Amy Cantini. I found Amy in the forums a while back, chatting about Etsy success, and I continue to see her there on a regular basis asking questions and helping other sellers with theirs.
Amy's shop, Things I Like, has been full of unique and handmade ornaments, jewelry and paper goods since mid 2008. "Raising my boys and maintaining our household is my fulltime job. Though it doesn't pay well in money, it has many benefits and is very rewarding." For being a part time seller, Amy obviously puts a lot of hard work into making her shop a fun place to visit.
"It's difficult to pin down what exactly inspires me. The world around me I expect, and all the beauty in it. I have been surrounded by vintage items and antiques nestled amongst modern day treasures my whole life. I've watched old movies and buried my nose in the pages of old books. I have a love of times past and far away places, I'm sure it's all very romanticized in my head. I love angels and crosses and old iron works, and the beauty of nature and the peacefulness of a cemetery. I believe you can find beauty all around you everyday...sometimes though, you have to really want to see it."
In all the items for sale on Etsy, I find Amy's to be quite a refreshing change. There are few sellers who can find the beauty that she does in a cemetery. Her vellum ornaments, pictured above, showcase her skilled photography in a format that is reminiscent of the past. (Does anyone remember when you had to submit slides of your work, instead of digital images, to enter art contests? See, I'm not as young as you think!)
When asked what she advice she would give new Etsy sellers Amy says, "I think definitely to love what you're doing, it's going to be a lot of work. That has to be reward enough sometimes. Knowing you did your best. People will come eventually and you need to be prepared for it to take a while. Don't ever invest more than you can afford to lose, and only you know what that is. Never undervalue your work...but don't price yourself out of the market either. It's a fine line to walk. Just leave yourself room to have a profit after a sale. Never sell anything that you would not purchase or use for yourself. It's a piece of you, people will get to know you buy your craftmanship and your customer service." All good things come with time.
Amy says the best part of what she does is that "I made it...that's the best part. It's so much fun to take a pile of beads and findings and turn it into something it wasn't before. Same goes for wood and paint and fabric and paper. I always have my hand in something and nothing is ever finished. Things can be worked and reworked a dozen times before they're right. All of it is worth it when someone loves it as much as you do."
And finally, some words of wisdom that make me smile: "Creativity is a gift. The ability to utilize it a blessing...you never know what you'll find." Thanks for the great advice, Amy! Be sure to visit Things I Like on Etsy. Amy would be also be ecstatic if you would add her on facebook.