I'm on an accessory kick lately. Hats, bags, belts, shoes... jewelry. You name it. So perhaps that's why today's Found in the Forums seller stood out this time around, as Tory of Tissage has the kind of shop that accessory lovers will drool over.

 Packed full of accessories with "vintage style and modern romance," Tory's shop has offered a variety of unique handmade goods since July of 2008. She has managed to make it her full-time job (which I envy) in that time while also working on her doctorate in Medieval Literature.

Tory says that working out of her own home gives her "the flexibility of being able to make my own schedule. In reality I work all the time; I rarely take a full day off. But I love what I’m doing so it doesn’t feel like work."

I can relate to the process Tory described she goes through when designing new pieces for the Tissage shop. "I’m often inspired by the materials themselves. If I find a fabulous vintage rhinestone brooch I start thinking of designs and I can’t wait to use it in a new piece. I often design pieces in my head as I’m falling asleep at night. I’m also inspired by the aesthetics of the late 19th and early 20th century, from the Belle Époque to Art Nouveau to Art Deco. Most of my hats are inspired by the fashion of the 1920s and 30s." I've often been told to keep a sketchbook on my nightstand for this very same reason, Tory! I find t's those times that you take a break from the rest of it all that you come up with your best ideas.

Tory has developed an ecclectic mixture of skills through instruction and self-discovery. "I decided to major in Literature in college because I knew I would always create art and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to read and talk about great books and poetry. As I child I made all sorts of things, from salt water taffy to paper mache creatures. I studied painting in France for a year and then went on to study glass blowing and metal sculpture in college. I taught myself how to knit from a book and learned how to make soap and candles the same way. Most recently I’ve learned how to make hats from a fabulous teacher and picked up embroidery on my own. So I’m a combination of self taught and formally educated."

It's quite obvious that Tory has done her research when it comes to photography. Every photo in the Tissage shop is impeccable! She advises other Etsy sellers to "work on your photos. Photos are really key to selling online and I knew nothing about product photography when I started. I got a ton of help in the forums; that’s part of why I like to help people in the forums now." She also mentions that having realistic expectations is very important. "Selling on Etsy is a lot of work and it doesn’t happen overnight."

I hope you'll go visit Tissage to see the hundreds of accessories Tory has to offer! Especially keep her in mind if you're looking for custom work: "I love doing custom jewelry for weddings and other special events because I get to work directly with the buyer." Thanks for being a part of Found in the Forums Friday, Tory!

Happy Friday, everyone!

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