Etsy Seller Interview Series- TorreysTouches
Check out Torrey's Touches store here"
1. When did you open your shop?
"Torrey’s Touches officially opened on Etsy in September of last year (2014). Before that I had been making signs for over a year as gifts for family and friends, but I wasn’t selling them yet. In September I had someone I knew want to buy one from me, so I went ahead and opened an Etsy with a custom listing just for her, so that if one day I really had a shop that I would already have my first sale. I didn’t have many items until November and it really took off from there with the Christmas season approaching and everyone looking for gifts. I’ve been so blessed how things have turned out and it hasn’t even been open a year."
2. What do you make?
"Mostly I make distressed wooden signs that are painted with cute and quirky quotes, sayings, and scripture. I also repurpose cabinet doors into signs or shelves and hangers. I also handcraft shape signs where I use a saw to make the wood into a shape like a moon, heart, circle, star, etc. Most recently I have made mail organizers and a photo prop lemonade stand. I have started to fall in love with the woodworking side of things, but I love using repurposed wood and giving new life to something."
3. What is your favorite item in your shop?
"Every custom handwriting sign I have ever done is my favorite. I started doing these after my I lost my grandmother to congestive heart failure. I was very close to her and I missed her dearly. She loved to cook and she loved to eat. I replicated a recipe in her handwriting to hang in my home and remind me of her. I have since done these for family and friends as well as for complete strangers through Etsy. Every single one of these signs has a story. Usually it’s a story of love and loss. Someone that has died and is no longer here, but the sign helps give them a tangible piece of the one who is gone. Sometimes someone has one made in their own handwriting to leave behind with a loved one when they are gone and remind them how much they are loved. I am in the process of making one like this for each of my daughters. Life is short and you never know what is going to happen to you, so I want to have something special for them to treasure. It’s an honor to get to make these special pieces. I absolutely love making something that I know is very emotional and will be treasured for years to come."
4. What is your biggest challenge?
"My biggest challenge is balancing being a stay at home mom with my business. The time when I receive the most messages (during the day) is also my time with my girls. I’m busy dressing, changing, cooking, loving, snuggling, playing, watching, and adventuring with them. I squeeze in cutting, sanding, painting, designing, messaging, wrapping, packaging, writing thank you notes, etc in the early morning hours while my kids are hopefully asleep, during nap time, or when Daddy comes home from work. It never seems like there is enough time in the day, but somehow it all gets done."
5. Where are you from?
"I’m from the United States of America, specifically from Oklahoma. Country girl turned city girl. I love living in Oklahoma City and all that it offers (except the terrible seasonal allergies) and LOVE watching the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team. It’s a great place to live."
6. Why do you love Etsy?
"I got into Etsy as a buyer. I loved buying handmade. It allowed me to have items that were more unique than anything I could find at the mall or a chain store. I love getting personalized items for my girls to wear. As a seller I love the marketplace. There are so many people that are able to find my shop through Etsy that would probably never find it otherwise. Etsy sellers also tend to be Etsy buyers and they are very supportive of one another. It’s a great place to sell and shop."
7. Tell me about your shop
"I started Torrey’s Touches as a way to express my creative and to be able to make a little extra money so I could continue to stay at home with my girls, Aliana and Breysi. I love making things, so it’s more like a hobby that pays me to do it. I love what I do and consider it a huge blessing to get to do two things that I enjoy every single day (handcraft items for sale and play with my girls during typical work hours). My store is mostly filled with painted signs. I use reclaimed wood whenever I am able to scavenge it to turn it into wall plaques. They have funny quotes, inspirational quotes, Scripture, and other things on them. Some are wood cut into shapes or letters by a saw, some look like a piece of a fence, others are cut to be hearts or other shapes, and of course I make pallet style signs that are nailed together. Everything is distressed to look aged. I love the perfect imperfection of it. There are also repurposed cabinet doors and other things in my shop. I take custom orders and love designing something unique for my customers. It’s a lovely process and I love to dig deep and get creative. It’s always an interesting because I am finding something that suits their needs, which can be very different form what I like, but the final product is almost always something that I love too. My physical workshop is actually my dad’s garage. He has almost every tool imaginable and it really has made this whole process a lot easier. He’s really enjoy me opening shop because he has gotten to teach me a lot about his tools and how to use them. I think he loves to see me succeed and to learn things from him and I love it because I have the best teacher a girl could ask for!"
What is your favorite item from TorreysTouches?
8. How did you get interested in crafting?
"Are you kidding me?! When was I not interested in crafting would be a better question! I’ve loved art and crafts since I can remember. As a child my mom used to buy little craft kits that came in the mail every month and she would help us make little crafts. My sister and I had so much fun. I remember in elementary school my friend’s mom, Carrie, would make all kinds of sweet crafts for our class. I still have some of them. I have this little soup can that was painted blue with a snowman on it. It has wire that was curled to make a handle and I’m sure she filled it up with goodies. I LOVED stuff like this and I always wanted to be the one to make it someday. In fact, it’s one of the things I look forward to most as my oldest daughter gets ready to start school. I’m already brainstorming all the neat things I can make for her class. After general crafts I got interested in scrapbooking in sixth grade. I ended up in a scrapbooking class in middle school, which I took three years in a row because I loved it. At first I wasn’t very good at it, but I loved pictures so I kept trying. I eventually got really good. Unfortunately I don’t have a single album I’ve made because I made all of them for friends and family and gave every single one away, but paper crafting was my first love before I turned to wood and sign making."
9. What kind of craft would you like to learn next?
"I’m always learning new things, but I would love to really learn bow making. With two girls I can’t help to think about all the fun bows I could make. I’m just not sure I have the patience for that! Another thing that would be really fun to learn would be paper folding. Have you seen those books that you fold pages in patterns to produce pictures and words? I’m a book lover, and to some this might seem completely wrong to do, but I think it would be fascinating to learn."
10. What's in store for the future?
"I’m not sure what’s around the corner for Torrey’s Touches. My store really hasn’t been open long and it’s already evolved so much. I can’t wait to see all the changes that come. I’d love to add frames to my wooden signs and maybe even picture frames to my store. I love painting and designing, but as I approach new projects I can’t help to think there may be some more small furniture building in the future. Locally I want to start a workshop class where small groups can get together and make their own distressed sign projects. One big project I hope to tackle in the next year is a princess style tower for my four year old to climb and play in outside. It would have a spiral staircase up a few feet to the top where there’s a window and she can pretend she’s Rapunzel. I’m not sure if and when this will become a reality, but it’s an idea I thought of and don’t want to let go of it."