I’m pleased to introduce Dirtsy’s first featured seller: Pixiebell!
I love browsing Etsy for incredible handmade items and stumbled upon Pixiebell’s gorgeous collection of hats a few years ago. Pixiebell is a wife and husband team of Etsy veterans who have knitted hats for celebrities like Nina Dobrev and Ty Pennington! They actively engage with fellow sellers on the Etsy forums and recently launched a collection of felted bracelets.
Diane Serviss, Pixiebell’s designer, graciously agreed to an interview and talks about her experiences selling on Etsy, the hat she wishes she never sold and three pieces of advice to those who are just starting out:
Hi Diane, you started selling on Etsy in 2007, just 2 years after it was launched. What was it like selling then?
On the positive side, there was less competition. On the negative side, there were less features to help sellers run their shops.
What 3 pieces of advice would you give to someone who’s starting out on Etsy?
2 – Embrace change and roll with it. Etsy tends to make a lot of changes and updates every year. These changes are designed to help Etsy, and YOU, grow as a merchant. Don’t fear them, USE them.
3 – You don’t need an expensive camera to take good photos. Just learn to use the one you likely already have. Learn about white balance and lighting, it makes all the difference. Good photos make for good sales.
One thing I love about your hats and scarves is the bold use of colors, especially on this one: What inspires them?
Accessories are a way of showing off your personality! Most people own a base wardrobe, their coats and boots and warm clothing tends to often be neutral ..so the accessories can really sing. I love being able to completely change up a look that way. One of my favorite clients is a lady who works in a very conservative job, but she wears a bright green cat hat to work. Even if she has to leave a bit of herself at the door, to and from work she rocks it!
You take a lot of custom requests each year, what’s the weirdest one you’ve ever gotten?
It was a zombie cat hood for a Halloween costume last year. It was great fun! (I‘ll attach a photo.)
What’s the one item you wish you’d never sold?
I made a wool felted Damsel hat. It came out really cute but it was how I realized I have a severe allergy to wool. I’ve never made another.
On your about page, you credit the Afghan your grandmother made for instilling a love for knitting. How did that inspiration carry over to Pixiebell?
My grandmother, a mother of 9, was fearless! I always admired her “can do” attitude, her sense of colour and shape and her ability to show her love thru her work. I hope that my work shows the same care and attention to detail that hers did. Like her, I try to jump into a project head first and running a shop on Etsy is the biggest jump I’ve ever taken.
I’ve always been curious about the story behind your style- how did you start knitting gnome and pixie style hats?
It all came about when I wanted a pointy little hat for myself and I could only find them in baby sizes. I played around with a couple of different ideas until I found one I liked. One day friends asked me about the hat ..they wanted one too. Before I knew it I had orders for several of them. It’s just a coincidence that my shop name is pixiebell, I never really intended to sell pixie/gnome type things ..but I will take credit if someone thinks it’s clever ?
10 years ago, if someone asked you what you see yourself doing in 2013, what would you have said?
I went to college for medical assisting, I always assumed I would be working in the medical field in some manner. I certainly never thought I would be knitting for a living.
Where do you see your shop in 10 years from now?
The plan is to continue to design until we have enough revenue from just patterns that can sustain us and we can phase out the actual made items.
What’s the best purchasing experience you’ve had on Etsy?
Oh there are so many! Once or twice a year I love to purchase Maple Candy from my friend Amy Raymond. I grew up in Vermont and this is just a little piece of home. She is always so wonderful and gracious and the candy is divine!
Fill in the blank: If only I knew __________ when I first started.
Accounting! Oohhhh, don’t get me started.
What feature do you wish Etsy would add?
A shipping calculator would be a dream!
And last question for the day… if you wrote a memoir, what would it be called and which part of your life will it focus on?
“A Riot Of Colour In a Dreary Grey World” ..it would focus on these years, how my craft took my family from merely existing to really living and thriving.
Thanks to Diane for the awesome interview! Please check out Pixiebell on Etsy for more of Diane’s work and her new felted bracelet collection.