Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Interview With An Etsian: Meet Holly

I had the pleasure of chatting with the fabulous Holly of Beeper Bebe. I'm in love with her studio and her adorable handmade plushies (you will fall in love with her new Bitty Birdies...I want one!). I'm totally envious of her lovely (and super organized) studio! Meet the wonderful Holly...
In a nutshell, tell us about yourself.
Hi, my name is Holly Keller and I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I love learning, creating, beingin the woods, and drinking whiskey (really).

Apart from crafting and creating, what do you do?
I am married to the man I call Mr. Beeper on my blog - we've been married for 9 years now and I still think he's pretty rad. Also, we have a 5 year old son, names Julian - commonly referred to as Beeper on my blog. Why "Beeper" you ask? Well, because he is either sleeping or beeping (i.e. being rambunctious) - and there is not a lot of variation in between.

I am interested in about a bazillion things at any one time - but the constants seem to be growing herbs/veggies, cooking (especially breakfast foods), doing anything that allows me to be outdoors (biking, camping, hiking, cross country skiing...need I continue?), and well, enjoying a nice little glass of scotch on the back step in the evening.

And yes, I do have a day job. It is a crazy corporate thingie that involves me telling old guys in suits how to run their businesses more effectively (yes, for real) and traveling to obscure places like San Pedro Sula in Honduras to do that. Weird juxtaposition with the crafting life - I know, trust me. In reality, I always feel like a big fraud in my business-y life and keep waiting for them to figure out that I am just a girl who likes to make plushies from second-hand sweaters and drink whiskey...

What inspired you to open an Etsy shop?

I guess all the inquiries at craft fairs and art shows about whether I had an online shop. And then also because I found it really hard to make sales to retailers work for me while still making it worth my effort and time (what is wholesale when you are hand-making items yourself anyway? Is there such a thing? C'mon people - I am not making widgets here, nor do I have an army of adolescents in Guatemala pumping out these things for me...there is no economy of scale when you are hand-making something...can someone please tell the retail world this?) - so the idea of having my own shop in which I could make whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and price it accordingly for what I thought my time was worth (without someone acting like I was being ridiculous) - well, that seemed pretty nice.

And Etsy has been great for me. I have had items featured a few times in Storque articles and the community at Etsy seems to appreciate my work. Plus - Etsy is just so cool. How can you not want to be a part of it? I shop there all the time.

What is your favorite creation in your shop?
Right now? My Kindie Garden Plus Doll. It is made from reclaimed wool sweaters that have been felted and is based on a drawing I made when I was in kindergarten. It makes me smile just to look at it knowing the 5-year old me really deserved the design credit.

I also just designed a little baby chicken I call a Bitty Birdie that I am kind of in love with - it has a little diaper and hat and blankie and stuff. You see photos of them on my Flickr here (none in my shop right now - but give me a couple of weeks...)

Where else can
we find you?
Well, I have a blog called Chez Beeper Bebe that I started about a year ago where I blather on about plushies and cooking and my son and on occasion, I make little crafty patterns and tutorials you can download - you can find it here

Here is my Etsy shop - Beeper Bebe - too, if you want to stop by and browse.

And if you want to email me about whatever may be on your mind, try this email address: beeperbebe@yahoo.com

I do have a Facebook page - but really, I pretty much ignore it, so don't expect to find me around there too much.

Oh, and I forgot about my Flickr account. I am crazy about taking photos - actually, add that to my list of things I love to do. So there is plenty out there to take a gander at.

Describe your studio and what you like best about it.
Well, it is quite tidy right now compared to what it was like 6 months ago. I actually just re-organized it. It is in a smallish room on the second floor of our house - but it has a door that opens to one of those perfectly impractical balconies for one you only find in old houses. We painted the room a color called asparagus cream (a sort of pale green color) and I have used a lot of red accents. There are shelves almost to the ceiling to house my recycled and reclaimed materials I make plushies and other stuff from.

I also have the best little craft closet with lots of cubbies and shelves and jars and paper rods for storing all that crafting miscellany that can take over if you turn your head for a moment - handy Mr. Beeper built that for me - and then painted it sunny yellow to contract with the green color of the room.

If you are really interested in the particulars, I did a blog post of my studio reorganization- that can be found here.

What is your favorite Etsy shop?
This question is almost unfair. I mean, one favorite shop on Etsy? How could I ever pick one favorite? That is like telling the world one of children is your favorite...so here are a few I am in love with:

E. Soule - is there anything cooler than her photography? It appeals to big and little people both.

Moop - so in love with all of the bags in this shop.

Elsie Marley - I just love Meg's work - the kids messenger bags, the plushies, the clothing.

November Moon - something about those folksy dolls Cathy makes continue to attract me even though I already own three.

- and this jewelry - really into this right now and obsessing over some pieces to buy.

List your favorite book, movie, song & website (other than Etsy of course).
Again, with the request on favorites. As a girl of many passions - this is too dang hard. I'll do my best here...

Book: Fiction - White Oleander by JAnet Fitch because it is so mind-blowingly beautifully written. I could eat the words. Non-Fiction - The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert because I could not put it down and it too blew my mind but for completely different reasons - namely, Eustance Conway. Cookbook - The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider (love her food, her banter in her books, the free style way she approaches cooking...)

Movies: No movies really. BUT I am crazy about Weeds on Showtime and Big Love on HBO.

Song: Really? I have to pick one song? I love "Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplic. And anything at all by Built to Spill.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Now I have to get serious. Well, honestly? Not working at my crazy corporate job. I would like to work part, if not full time (meaning not just all my spare time as it is today) on just doing Beeper Bebe stuff. I have so many designs I want to create yet - and I want to make patterns for some of my designs that I can sell, and expand into doing more paper craft and create a book of paper craft projects, and teach some workshops on how to make your own plushie from reclaimed materials...and then take over the world.

Beeper will be 15 years old in 10 years. Holy crap - I cannot think that far ahead when it comes to him or I'll have to go pour myself a whiskey right now.

What is your favorite birdie (as in species of bird)?
I love finches - how teeny they are and that weird little peeping sound they make.



Anonymous said...

Just browsing blogs today and came across yours. Loving it:O) So hello!!

Couture Carrie said...

Nice interview and very cute items! I love that Holly drinks whiskey!


BeadedTail said...

Fun interview! She creates very cute items and just sounds like a fabulous person!

Holly said...

Hey Vanessa. Thanks again for featuring me in this interview. Best of luck with your blog, shop and everything you do!

Nannieflash said...

Oh Vanessa I love her bitty birds to, its gorgeous, and I would love one to, I also like her kindergarden kid as well. Love and hugs Shirleyxxx

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh that little doll with the black hair is so cute.

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Splendid Little Stars said...

The bitty birdie is SO adorable! excellent interview!

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