calling all feather + butterfly lovers! i have a new best friend for you: eisley. eisley sells beautiful hand cut butterflies and hand dipped feathers in her etsy, handmade for eisley. today she is sharing about her love for feathers + butterflies and finding surprise success!
what is your background?
my background is in fine art. i started drawing in high school, graduated to painting, and took fine art in college. i eventually was discouraged by all the amazing artists i was surrounded by and gave up fine art altogether for about ten years. when i picked it back up again my skills were unpolished, and in between re-learning the trade i started crafting.
how did you get started designing & selling?
after crafting for a bit, i thought i could make some extra money selling them. when i first started selling, i was just painting cute animal faces on white mugs. as i sold more, i got motivated and my ideas grew from there.
what are your influences?
my influences are from everywhere. fellow artists,crafters, store windows, friends... i admire so much about people and the world, i am newly inspired everyday.
what is your favorite item in your shop?
my favorite item in my shop is the feather curtain. it is my newest item and i got the idea from a customer! a lady who bought five hundred feathers from me for a wedding sent me pictures of a curtain she had made out of them. i thought it was so cool and asked if i could use her photos to sell curtains as an option in my store. from her photo i figured out how to recreate it and i've actually sold a few!
what do you love the most about your job?
i love that i can do it on my own schedule. i love that i can binge watch netflix while doing an order, but mostly i love seeing the photos that my customers send me after their weddings or parties.. i love that i can contribute to an important day for them and their families in this small way. and my customers are so clever! everyone does something different with my feathers and paper butterflies. for example, one lady made a mobile out of the butterflies for her daughter, and i have a long time customer that rebranded her entire perfume line around my glitter dipped feathers and uses them in her packaging. the perfume is called olivine and is sold on anthroplogie.com!
why butterflies + feathers?
wow. i love butterflies and feathers. ever since i was little i have, like any child, wanted to pick up every feather i found. but my parents always told me they were diseased! which can be true. but when i became an adult i thought, 'no one can tell me what to do now!' and i started picking up and collecting every feather i could find. i still do it to this day. i'm so infatuated with them that i have friends texting me photos whenever they find a cool feather and usually they will even send it to me in the mail! when i have a good deal of feathers gathered, i fill up a sudsy sink and soak & dry them, i still have my dads's voice in the back of my head saying "they are diseased!". the best in my personal collection are my peacock, flamingo, blue jay and eagle feathers. the feathers i sell are feathers that i buy from a free range farm in the south east. they are goose feathers that i sanitize, bleach and dye myself at home. sometimes i get chicken feathers from this farm as well and make dream catchers, i may start selling those one day.
the butterflies came from my love for real butterfly shadow boxes. i like the vintage ones best, but i also appreciate the new ones. when i printed and cut out my first butterfly i thought, 'this is a good idea...they look real!'. so i started out selling them in shadow boxes, but they didn't sell very well. so, i started selling my butterflies on their own, but i didn't think anyone would buy them. of course, they sold like hot cakes. i started asking for photos of what my customers were doing with them and everyone had their own ideas. they were all different and it was very cool to see! one girls sells them pressed and framed in her shop, which is in the netherlands.
what advice would you give to makers who are just getting started?
don't discount an idea because you don't think it will sell... try it anyways. i've been surprised so many times. two of my biggest sellers are things i just listed and figured they wouldn't really make a splash.