Thursday, November 14, 2013

Interview Series 2: Week 4 – Cass Crafts

My apologies about not having a post on Tuesday – I somehow lost a day or two in the insanity of things going on; preparations for Thanksgiving, caring for our little girl kitten and her mother, and making sure Mom is comfortable, as now that cold has descended to Georgia, her back hurts her more with each degree that drops, not to mention the last days of my eye healing, among other things caused by very sudden dry heat, such as the fish tank suddenly losing nearly half its water, even with humidifiers running, and my face declaring war as it shrivels up.  Ahh, Winter…

Either way, I wasn’t about to let this post go late, as the things that Cassandra of Cass Crafts on Zibbet has to offer are things you won’t want to miss!
As always, I’ll let the artist take the stage!

Name:
Cassandra Weiner
Craft:
Various Home Décor and Gift Items
Favorite material (or medium, whatever you want to call it!):
Book pages, scrapbook paper, hemp twine, mason jars
Your Most Popular Seller (whether it be online or at shows you attend):
Mason jar crafts! My most popular items are definitely my mason jar soap dispensers and mason jar wine glasses.

5217991-original[1] Mason Jar Soap Dispenser
Simple, with a country elegance.  No wonder it’s a best seller!

DWJ(am!) What got you into your craft?



CassCrafts I’ve always loved crafting. I started just making items for my own home décor. I got TONS of compliments, so I started selling on Etsy and doing craft fairs! Now I sell on Zibbet too!

 

DWJ(am!) How did you learn your craft?



CassCrafts I’ve learned a lot by looking at other items to figure out how they are made. I then put my own twist on the items to make them mine to sell in my store.

5410737-original[1]Silver Gumball Machine Candy Jar Terra Cotta
I’ve never seen one of these, but it’s so cute, I wish I had seen one sooner!
 

DWJ(am!) What about YOU? Who is the artist behind those wonderful items?



CassCrafts I’m a 21 year old college student living in western NY. My major is psychology with a concentration in cognitive neuroscience. I hope to eventually get my PhD and do research in the field of cognitive neuroscience. In my free time I run my business, read a TON, and I love crafting of course.

5316667-original[1] Key Holder Key Rack Pink Rose Print
Key racks aren’t “unique” per se, but I certainly have never seen any made like this.  With so many options, they’d be welcome in any home!

DWJ(am!) What is a typical "working" day for you? How does it usually start and end? How many hours do you spend crafting? How many hours do you spend on other things? What about distractions? I know we all have them! Do you usually accomplish all you wanted to?


CassCrafts My day usually starts when I get done school. I check to see if I have any sales, and if I do I get those ready to ship immediately. I usually spend about 1 to 2 hours a day promoting my shops. I spend an additional hour improving my shop by ways of pictures, key words, descriptions, etc. I usually craft a few days a week for a few hours at a time. I wish I had time for more! I definitely have distractions. TV is a big one. Especially because the new seasons of How I Met You Mother and Walking Dead are out!


DWJ(am!) What happens when you Oops? Everyone gets one sometime or another! Do you get frustrated and destroy/start over, or do you go with the flow and see what comes out in the end?


CassCrafts I guess it depends on the “oops”. Sometimes you have to start over. I try not to though. Actually, a lot of times when I think I’ve “oopsed” the things I do to cover the oops actually makes the item look even better! I’ve gotten a lot of great ideas this way!

5228489-original[1] Harry Potter Book Page Lampshade and Hemp Lamp
Oh now one of these would look wonderful on my bedside table, considering I’m listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as I write this post!

DWJ(am!) What is your design process like? How many tries does it take to be happy with the final product?



CassCrafts Unfortunately, I don’t usually have a plan before I start making a new item. I just go with the flow and if the finished product looks fabulous I post it in my shop, if it doesn’t I put it aside to possibly fix or give as a gift if it still looks okay. I would say it usually takes me one or two tries to get a product just right. Some take more, some take less. I guess it usually depends on how steady my hands are that day!

5388729-original[1] Redneck Wine Glass Set of Two
I can’t even express how awesome these are.  There are just no words!

DWJ(am!) What is your greatest roadblock, be it government regulation or that little frustrating thing that just likes to sneak up and stop you in your tracks? Broken needle? Jump ring jumping out of your pliers? Thread knots? Cats? Dogs? The family hedgehog rolled about in your yarn basket?

CassCrafts Hahaha I don’t have a hedgehog or any pet for that matter. I would have to say the biggest challenge I face is time. There’s never enough of it! My to do list is usually about a mile long and I’m lucky if I finish two inches of it!

 

DWJ(am!) All important pricing... Do you have a formula? Do you wing it? Do you feel your work justifies your prices?



CassCrafts I do not have a fancy algorithm When I price my items I take into account my supply costs, my time, packaging and shipping, advertising, and of course I take into account my competitor’s prices. I do feel my work justifies my prices. Some people don’t realize how much work goes into every item and make the mistake of considering handmade overpriced. My items are quality and are worth every penny.

5335753-original[1] Tile Coaster Brown Fleur De Lis Ceramic Coaster Set
A must for any sitting room, or computer desk, or wherever needs to be protected from a very hot, or very cold, drink.

DWJ(am!) And of course, is there anything else you'd like to say to our "viewers at home"?



CassCrafts As I mentioned above, many people consider handmade items to be overpriced. People need to remember that there is a real person behind that screen name who is giving everything they have to ensure that they are happy with their purchase. Handmade will always be better quality than something that is mass produced. Also, most of the time you will find that you get much better customer service from small independent shops.


I couldn’t have said that last better myself.  So few truly appreciate hand-crafted items, thinking them to be homemade junk that “anyone can make”.  Perhaps they are – but how many put the love, soul and time into a piece of art (as each one of a hand-crafter’s items are) that any seller found at shows or online do?  Very few; I’ve been gifted jewelry from those who feel their skill is masterful, and though I wore that jewelry and praised it, I knew it would fall apart quickly, or knew that it was not a precious metal, but craft-wire.  I’ve been shown woodwork that was tossed together quickly that was proclaimed to have taken weeks.  Perhaps it wasn’t as skillful, or perhaps it wasn’t done with care.
The sentiment was truly appreciated nonetheless, but such things pale in comparison with the things offered by those who brave craft fairs and shows and online marketplaces nine times out of ten.

Only when love, time, soul, skill and care combine with true love for the craft being practiced does the magical alchemy happen to produce amazing things – as  proved by every human artist I have featured, and will continue to feature.  It’s easy to tell which ones truly love what they do, and which ones don’t by way of the quality of the items, the customer service they offer, and the little look of sorrow as an artist parts with each and every thing they sell.

Thank you, as always, one and all for reading!
Until next week!

1 comment:

Cass Crafts said...

Thank you so much Geri for featuring my shop! I love what you are doing to promote shops that are TRULY handmade!!!