Wednesday, September 10, 2008
MissKarina Blog Feature
Here is a really neat shop I ran across with very interesting Mardi Gras themed items. Check Out MissKarina's shop to see all she has to offer.
Who are you?
My name is Karina Nathan. I just turned 30 and am away from my home in New Orleans for a year of teaching in Korea. I am almost completely self-taught in fashion design and can't imagine a life without it.
How long have you been crafting?
At least since 5 years old. I had a children's weaving loom that I loved. My mother and father were artists in their spare time so they made every possible material available to me. I can't think of an art form we didn't try. I always loved sewing and drawing clothes the most. I liked being able to show off my creations once they were completed.
What feeds your imagination?
Almost everything that's happy or funny. I love things that are eye catching which is obvious in my creations. I love bright colors because they make me happy. I love to recycle, so upcycling materials excites me. My process usually starts with a material rather than a design or pattern. Then I imagine what I could make the material into. I use all kinds of materials in my work from recycled fabrics to mardi gras beads.
What made you decide to make your crafting a business? When someone offered me money for a costume I was wearing. That was about 6 years ago. From there I started wholsaling to boutiques almost immediately.
How did you find etsy? Two years ago I started noticing other crafty friends with the word "etsy" in their website addresses.
Have you ever been published in a magazine?
I've had several small New Orleans based magazines feature my work including DIY, Anti Gravity, and Southern Woman.
What is your most effective marketing venue?
I network through facebook and myspace. I blog a little. I make videos for youtube. I post sporadically on flickr and photobucket. I make a lot of trades so my work gets seen. I donate a little to charity auctions. I give gifts of my work whenever appropriate for holidays and celebrations. I hand everyone business cards and sometimes postcards of my work. I wear my own work or other etsians' whenever possible. I run a big dance troupe in New Orleans that dances in Mardi Gras Parades called the Bearded Oysters---they get a lot of attention. Honestly, it is so hard to figure out exactly what is working. My marketing philosophy is just keeping doing it anyway you can figure out. I also listen to a lot of podcasts about internet marketing strategy, SEO, and ecommerce. I try and be conscious and consistent all the time with marketing.
What is your goal for your business 1 year from now? I return to America on Monday and I plan to hit the ground running. My goal a year from now is to be a full time fashion designer with health insurance. I will try to find a new store each month to begin a wholesale relationship with. I also would like to have a full calendar of work all year, not just being bombarded at Christmas and Carnival. My other goal is to create a more balanced work day. Where I work M-F 9-5 on this stuff, not just when I'm in the mood. I also plan to organize my work schedule better. Time blocks set aside for creating, but also sales, marketing, market research, and photography.
Do you sell your products on other sites or businesses? I sell my work through craft fairs, craigslist, and two small boutiques that carry my work.