- Arts and Design
Etsy Seller Interview Series- Mixing Spirits
Check out Mixing Spirits shop here:
When did you open your shop?
"We opened shop in January of 2015, but have been doing local craft shows since November of 2014. Before working on glass etching full time Terry stopped shoplifters. I (Stephanie) still work full time as chemist working for a company that makes paint. I help come up with new designs, answer messages, and promote our shop on social media."
2. What do you make?
"We have a broad range of products, mostly we specialize in etched glassware, but wall art is really popular as well. There are so many options that it can get quite overwhelming putting an order together, but most of our customers are purchasing gifts. They pick which glass they want then design an etching that is perfect for the recipient. Frequently we will ship directly to the person receiving the gift and include a personalized note from our customer."
3. What is your favorite item in your shop?
"Terry’s favorite item is the Eagle Scout wall art. He is an Eagle Scout and he knows the work that goes into earning that very special rank in the Boy Scouts. Stephanie’s favorite item is the personalized casserole dish. Perfect for taking to potluck’s, it’s easy to tell which dish is yours at the end of the event."
4. What is your biggest challenge?
"Currently our biggest challenge is growing our online business. We have done very well for being so new, due largely in part to the wonderful people who saw us at craft shows before we even joined Etsy. There has been a lot of local support, now it’s time to transition that to an online presence."
5. Where are you from?
"We live in the greater Detroit area, Terry grew up here, but we also have roots in Wisconsin. Stephanie grew up there and that is where we met. We love both locations for very different reasons. In Wisconsin we lived in the Madison area and it was wonderful being in such a creative city. It has a lovely small town, eclectic feeling and is so close to countryside. Where we are now has a really great energy and is extremely supportive of local businesses. There is a lot of inspiration here, the beauty in the decay is difficult to miss. Detroit has seen some rough times, but through hard work and entrepreneurial ventures it will come back. It’s really exciting watching the city build again."
6. Why do you love Etsy?
"Etsy has been a great place for us to connect with customers in a way that craft shows don’t always allow. Because a lot of our work is custom we are able to have the one on one conversation that can be difficult with a busy table. With local shows it is also easy to get caught up making the things that are popular instead of creating new items. Etsy, like most websites, thrives on new content. This reminds us how important is to continue creating the way we love to create."
What is your favorite item from Mixing Spirits?
7. Tell me about your shop
"We make etched glassware, bakeware, and wall art. It has been an amazing journey that has allowed Terry to be a stay at home dad to our two year old. Terry regularly wonders how in the world his work has become so popular, but he has incredibly high standards for his work. If he feels something isn’t up to standards he will remake it. We do design work and conversations as a team; it has been a wonderful way for us to tackle projects together."
8. How did you get interested in crafting?
"Terry’s father is a contractor, so from a very young age he learned that if you make something yourself it can be made exactly to your specifications. That initial spark was nurtured through the boy scouts where he made it all the way to the rank of Eagle Scout. He also enjoys wood working; all frames for wall art are made specifically for the piece of glass the art is etched on. Stephanie has also been into crafting from a young age, starting with friendship bracelets, origami, and performance art. That transitioned into painting and photography, which has in turn become designing the glasswork in the shop."
9. What kind of craft would you like to learn next?
"We would love to get more woodworking pieces into the shop. Currently someone has requested a wood plaque in the shape of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula for a Euchre tournament; Terry is really excited to start working on that piece. In our personal lives we are looking forward to learning how to design and upholster furniture."
10. What's in store for the future?
"We have started working on fundraisers with local schools and clubs. This is a great way for us to participate in our local community and help support great groups of kids. We have also just received our first wedding order last month; our glasses will be the favors. These are both things we hope to expand. Also, we would love to start becoming a supplier for businesses that sell glassware with their logo on it. The best part about etched glass is the design won’t peel or fade the way a decal or silk screening does over time. This results in a better product that we are very excited to send to our customers!"