fredag 7. november 2008

Plask Design & Print

Welcome to my first in a hopefully long serie where I feature Etsy sellers.

Today I'll let you meet Nicole at Plask Design. Nicole is from Canada, but are now living at Askøy, a beautiful island at the westcoast of Norway.

Nicole is actually the first seller I contacted when I started at Etsy, and she gave several great advices that helped me when I opened my own shop. Thanks Nicole!! I am really honoured to be able to feature her and her shop in my blog.

1. Tell me about your store (name, products, etc)
My store is named Plask Design and I design and create fun accessories for cold weather – these generally include gloves, hats, and scarves though I am open to other ideas as time allows. The word Plask is the Norwegian word for 'Splash'. I love the sound of this word and think that it is just about one of the best words I have ever heard of. It also fits my store perfectly: on the west side of Norway we receive over 3 meters of rain a year, and are expecting more with climate change. It also rains most of the winter here, which makes it very important to dress warmly to keep away winter colds and viruses that make their annual migrations through Scandinavia. Finally, it just feels wonderful to be nice and warm even when it's cold and blowing just on the other side of your jacket.

2. What made you start selling your products and show your designs to the rest of the world?
Before I started making my own items, I sold a lot of Norwegian products on eBay, mostly to Norwegian Americans. I sold everything including Dale Sweaters, Bunads and Festdrakts, Pewter, Norwegian Literature and Norwegian Food items. As the fees from eBay began to skyrocket and my ability to make an okay profit began to disappear, I became disenchanted with just being a 'middle man'. I really felt like I wasn't dong anything substantial. It was around this time I discovered Etsy and it became very clear to me that this is what I wanted to do. I already had experience selling and knew the system. I spent the summer months making items and beginning my exploration of textile arts. The first day I began listing items and after 30 minutes one of them 'disappeared'. It took me close to a half an hour to discover that it had sold. Although it took me a number of weeks to sell my next item after that, but I was hooked. -- Concerning the original question – I want to make designs and show them off to the world because of my upbringing. Having grown up in North America, and especially because having grown up on the west coast of North America, I have an over exaggerated sense of self confidence and believe I can easily play with the 'big boys and girls.'

3. How do you let the world know about your products?
I actually don't do a lot of advertising. I renew my items daily on Etsy so that they are close to the top of the list of products. I try to create treasuries and hope that those I've chosen will remember me in the future one day. One thing that I really like to do is I like to help other Etsians. When I see members asking for help in the forums I actually do my best to give them good ideas. I do believe that I'm more creative than others in this area (ie – problem solving and seeing outside of the box). I'm also a firm believer in what goes around comes around, karma, or whatever phrase you would like to use. I'm more than willing to give away ideas or advice that might help others.
I am also working on a local level in my community – my friends and co-workers know what I do and most of them are quite impressed with my work. I often donate my items or gift certificates to my store for local fund raisers and this generates a lot of interest in my work and my store.

I also work on a blog (

Finally, in 2009 a girlfriend of mine will be opening a cafe and lunch bar. Not only will I be lucky enough to be able to market and sell my wares here, but I will also be using the same local to hold classes in crocheting and knitting with alternative materials such as fabric, plastic and metal.

4. How do you get inspired?
I actually get inspired by the materials I use. A lot of my materials are given to me by family members or neighbours who give them to me instead of throwing them out. It's incredibly inspiring to move through boxes of materials, having vague ideas of what each material might become, and then seeing the material transform into something even more beautiful than I had envisioned in the first place.

5. Do you ever get a creative block?
I work full time, take care of 2 young children, take care of most of the house as my husband works shift work and does a lot of landscaping work on our house. I make dinners and clean up most of the time. I do laundry most of the time. I drive the children to and from gymnastics training most of the time. I purchase food and household products most of the time. I also spend a lot of time with my children, reading to them and teaching them English, giving them opportunities to be creative with all sorts of different materials, taking them on weekend hikes and outings. In the end I simply do not have time to have a creative block. There is always circa 5 projects I am working on.... and as one or two of those reach the final stages, my mind has already thought of one or two more ideas that it would like to work with.

6. What is a normal day like for you?
At 5.30-6.30 a.m, depending upon my shift, I wake up, make lunches, make breakfast and prepare clothes for my children. After this, wake up kids, get them dressed and send them downstairs to start eating. Then I join them, clean faces and brush hair, send my son off to school (or the neighbours where he'll walk with his friend to school later) and drive myself and my daughter to the day care where I work full time. Do my 8 hour shift, collect my daughter, collect my son (who may or may not be at my sister-in-law's depending upon how late it is), go home and start dinner unless hubby has come home first. If hubby is home, I sort through the never ending pile of laundry. Eat dinner, spend time with hubby and kids, do one major piece of housework and then start getting the kids ready for bed. Read to kids and tuck them in, do some more laundry then check out Etsy and work on my Etsy projects.

This does not include the days I drive the kids to gymnastics training, have an evening meeting, or some other appointment.

I do a lot of my basic Etsy work during my «dead time». I knit and crochet gloves, hats, and scarves when I'm waiting for things: waiting for my kids during their lessons, waiting to start work (if I'm early), sometimes during my lunch break, if we're driving somewhere as a family and I'm in the passenger seat, when I'm at the mall waiting for my husband to get what he needs, etc, etc, etc. It's amazing how much you can get done during times like these. I then decorate them usually during the evenings on the weekends.

7. Do you do this for fun or for serious business?
A little bit of both. It is a lot of fun, and I really like the idea that I am creating something that someone, somewhere is going to wear and be happy with for a long time. But I do hold myself to a high level of professionalism. I am 35 now, and would like to have this hobby grow slowly over the next 10 or 15 years.... so that as I get older, I can perhaps work a little less in my 'real job' and spend more time working with textile artistry. I also take very seriously the reason why I'm making this a lifestyle. I believe that every time I make something and sell it to another person, it's a small hit against the big industries that are making hordes of money by paying very low wages to second and third world citizens. Also, when I sell and buy items on Etsy, I'm doing my part to keep alive a modern cottage industry market place, which will be open for other women and men around the world, who maybe need the this market place for personal economic survival. I believe in one of the founding principles of Etsy, that this could be a new way to do business that will level the playing field for anyone with access to the technology, but it will only grow if many of us use it regularly.

8. How do you see yourself down the road?
I see myself happily working at a 'real job' that I truly love, though perhaps working a little bit less. I look forward to be earning money from Etsy (or whatever will be popular in 10 – 15 years to come) that can be spent on things I like (as opposed to new rain suits for my growing children) and I look forward to start teaching my skills to others so that other can start making items for personal use/gifts, or to further open this fantastic marketplace.

9. What else interests you besides your craft?
I love building stuff – especially if it requires tools of some kind. At work, I'm the one with a big garden shovel building huge sand castles for 4 year olds. I'm the one who builds towering towers from wooden blocks. I love making bread from scratch. I'm the one who built our wooden porch at our cabin. Speaking of which, I do really like spending time at our sea-side cabin. My husband inherited it from his grandfather 20 years ago, complete with leaking roof, punctured windows and bug-eaten floors. He has been restoring it and building onto it, and I joined him in his project when I married him 10 years ago. When we're not working hard at this, I really like fishing, as well as some gardening, although I have not done this since my daughter was born 4 years ago.

10. Is there something else you would like to say as we end this talk?
Yes – It is really important for me to stress to people that they need to really start thinking of where their clothing, jewellery, and not to mention food comes from. People really need to start re-thinking the value of products that are very inexpensive and start considering the value of fair wages for everyone as well as considering the thought of exactly how many 'things' we need. How many shirts do we really need? How much food do we buy because it's incredibly inexpensive, but ends up rotting in our fridge, or is fast food and not good for us anyway? If everyone started small with these thoughts, it would create a dramatic change around the world.

Please take a look at all the beautiful products of Nicole in the shop: Plask Design
I'll be back next week with another lovely shop to feature.......

9 kommentarer:

ingermaaike sa...

That was fun to read! I love these features :0D

Kreativlink sa...

Gread feature, indeed!

ira sa...

Nicole works are beautiful! Great read VK!:)

ArtMind sa...

Great read! Busy woman she is! :)

kraplap sa...

great interview !

Gunnels blog sa...

Roligt att läsa, och fina saker att titta på! Och ja, jag tar mig friheten att skriva på svenska!

gina sa...

I love that first scarf- so pretty and delicate looking! The blue one is quite lovely also.

Nicole sa...

I must jump in here and thank VKnO for interviewing me. It was so much fun and I am truly honored to be her first. I look forward to reading her next interviews to come.

Thanks again VKnO - looking forward to sharing that bottle of wine with you!

Mannie Vincent sa...

Amazing feature! I'm give her shop a heart and now following your blog!


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