Buttons by Robin
I think this may be the hardest question to answer since I would like to be able to answer in a way that makes me sound exciting and intriguing. In reality I’m not really either of those so I guess I will just have to stick to the facts. I live in Toronto, Ontario Canada with my husband who is my best friend. I also have a grown son who I am also very lucky to say is one of my best friends. I am very lucky that way.
I have a day job as a policy analyst for the government. My day job is pretty much the complete opposite of my creative side so I really enjoy letting my creative side out. I can’t imagine what it would be like not to be able to create.
I have a full spare bedroom and most of my basement full of my crafting supplies (pretty much organized into bins) and the garage is full of all sorts of power tools (saws of various kinds, sanders, drill press etc.). I try to keep it somewhat organized but the spare bedroom which I call my “studio” in an effort to sound like an authentic artist is “off limits” to my husband who is a neat freak and gets upset at my creative clutter. It’s just better that he stays away from that part of the house altogether.
2. What made you decide to open your shop and why Etsy?
I think my story is fairly typical. I started out making items and brought some in to work one day to show a friend. Co-workers saw them, wanted to buy them and I started a small “at my day job” business. This was well before Etsy even existed. I moved to a new city where I didn’t know anyone so that “at work” business dried up. I found E-bay and started there and eventually heard about Etsy. Now Etsy is my main store and I love it.
3. Do you sell your items anywhere else other than Etsy?
Etsy is my greatest love and I have two stores here:
Buttons By Robin: www.buttonsbyrobin.etsy.com
I still sell a little bit on E-bay: primitive_pursuits
And I just started a store on Artfire within the last couple of weeks:
Buttons By Robin
You will see different button designs in each of these locations and the Robin42 store is for my jewelry. I mainly sell on venues other than Etsy to get my name out there and then eventually direct them to my Etsy store which, as I said, is my main love.
4. How long have you been creating/crafting?
I’ve been crafting and creating as far back as I can remember but I would say I really got into it about 15 years ago when I took a folk art or primitive painting class at a community college. From there it just sort of exploded and I started exploring all types of creative endeavours over the years.
Besides making buttons for my Etsy shop www.buttonsbyrobin.etsy.com which takes up most of my spare time I dabble in all kinds of things. I bought a kiln a few years ago so love working with fused glass and ceramics. I also continue to paint and I dabble in creating computer graphics. I recently bought a screen printing book and supplies so am hoping to get started in that and I have dabbled in metal work. I’d love to get into making more jewelry which I sell at a second Etsy store I have called Robin42 (the name was chosen before I realized it would also be your store name) www.Robin42.etsy.com. With jewelry being such a saturated market on Etsy and elsewhere I’m waiting until I come up with some sort of unique idea before I put a lot of effort into this store.
5. What are your other favourite things to do?
Honestly other than spending time with my family I live and breathe my art. I read about it and think about it all the time when I’m not actually able to work on it. Even the television shows I watch for the most part are shows I have recorded that relate to crafts. I’ve even started carrying a camera around with me so that I can capture any and all “artistic” moments I stumble across.
6. What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from many sources and is constantly changing. I started out with a very “primitive” or “country” aesthetic when I first started creating. Over the years I have become drawn more to collage and mixed media. Looking at the wonderful pieces of art out there often trigger a direction or a thought or a mood. Most recently I am enjoying nature and photographic images and trying to incorporate those into my art. I love browsing Etsy and seeing all the talented artists here. I have incorporated a lot of images and graphics into my buttons that have been purchased here on Etsy. Of course I make sure the artist has given permission for them to be used commercially and I always try to credit the artist with the images when I make my Etsy listings. I think it’s very important for those of us on Etsy to support each other.
7. Of all the items you make for your shop, what do you enjoy making the most?
I don’t make a lot of images over and over. That’s why you never know what you will find in my shop. I get bored easily so having my own Etsy shop gives me the opportunity to move from design to design as the mood strikes me. This means my buttons are very limited in number so you won’t see them all over. I do enjoy making my buttons and designing or purchasing new images always gets me excited to get working on new designs.
When I feel the need to take a bit of a break from button making I get out the glass or the clay and just create something beautiful just for the sake of making it without any end result such as “will it sell?” in mind. After a few days I get anxious to getting back to my buttons.
8. What are your most popular items?
I would have to say my buttons with bird images are very popular and they have been for quite some time. I know birds have been a popular image on Etsy and for me they continue to be very popular.
9. Do you use any of your fabulous buttons for any other projects?
The funny thing is I don’t sew. I would love to sew and aspire to sew but currently I do not so I rarely use my own buttons in anything that I make except perhaps sewing a button or two on a simple t-shirt to add a special touch. I have been spending some time lately thinking about using my handmade buttons in a line of jewelry. That idea is just starting to gel so we’ll see where that heads.
10. Name 3 other Etsy shops you love to visit
That’s a really tough question because I love love love so many of the Etsy shops but here are three from my favourites list on Etsy:
Bayin at www.Bayin.etsy.com
This seller sells images that are in what I call a Japanese or Asian style which I am currently drawn to. She’s a fairly new seller and she’s just so darn nice.
Piddix is one of the top sellers of images on Etsy and besides having wonderful images she has some of the best customer service I have ever seen.
Figs and Ginger: www.FigsAndGinger.etsy.com
I love the simplicity of their jewelry designs. Just beautiful!
I literally have a few hundred marked as favourites and my favourites grow every day. I really do wish there was a way to organize them better.
I would like to thank Buttons by Robin for taking part in my Favourite Etsy Shop Friday Feature this week. This is a shop that I discovered recently. I love to use unusual buttons on my bags and I love to collect buttons as well so this shop really appeals to me. Dont you just love the colourful wonderful images she uses. This was a great interview. I hope you all enjoyed reading it and check out this beautiful Etsy shop.