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click to enlarge LEANDOGPOTTERY :  Rectangle soap dish, $13 - PHOTO COURTESY OF LEANDOGPOTTERY
  • LEANDOGPOTTERY : Rectangle soap dish, $13
Kelly Rae Feaster, SLO

NEW TIMES How long have you been on Etsy?

LEANDOGPOTTERY I just had my two-year anniversary (aka etsy-versary) on Nov. 6! I came across Etsy one day on accident when I was thinking about selling my artwork online.

NEW TIMES How would you describe your experience on Etsy?

LEANDOGPOTTERY It has totally been a positive experience for me. I have learned so much from being on Etsy and handling my own shop online. I have also met a lot of really cool artists out there from joining groups and through the forums.

NEW TIMES When and how did you start working with pottery? Did working with jewelry begin about the same time or later?

LEANDOGPOTTERY I started creating pottery when I was going to school at San Francisco State. I ended up getting my art degree with an emphasis in ceramics. My jewelry came after I graduated, and I was experimenting with clay and glass together in a kiln.

NEW TIMES Where do you create? Do you have a studio?

LEANDOGPOTTERY I have a studio in my backyard. It consists of an indoor area (which is basically a shed) and a covered outdoor area that my husband recently built for me. It’s fantastic and has everything I need. I can choose to work indoors or out depending on the weather or how I feel.

NEW TIMES What is your goal for your Etsy store? Is this a full-time job? A hobby you enjoy?

LEANDOGPOTTERY My Etsy shop is my full-time job and I hope to keep it that way. I think that even if I won a million dollars I would continue to create and make my work available.

NEW TIMES Where did your Etsy seller name come from?

LEANDOGPOTTERY The name “Lean Dog” comes from a wonderful mentor of mine—a Cuesta College art teacher—who helped me to realize that I can create and that I have talent. He actually went to high school with my dad and his brothers and they called themselves the “Lean Dogs.” I decided to dedicate my work to the Lean Dogs.


TUXANDTULLE :  Green and paisley style men’s necktie, $22 - PHOTO COURTESY OF TUXANDTULLE
  • TUXANDTULLE : Green and paisley style men’s necktie, $22
Jane Johnson, SLO

NEW TIMES How long have you been on Etsy?

TUXANDTULLE I’m new to Etsy. I opened my shop in October 2009. I became involved with selling on Etsy after my daughter Lauren’s success selling vintage-inspired hairpieces and veils.

NEW TIMES When did you start making neckties?

TUXANDTULLE I started making neckties after my daughter Chelsea was married. We tried hard to find just the right color and fabric/print to match her bridesmaid dresses and found it difficult. I experimented by taking apart an old tie I found at a thrift shop and refined the process from there. I love picking up vintage fabrics or checking out new vintage-style fabrics to make ties. I used primarily 100 percent cotton fabric, but also started making more elegant ties from dupioni silk. These are really classy, and the huge assortment of vibrant colors available is amazing. I also love custom orders; brides send me pictures of their wedding colors (flowers, dresses, etc.), and I hunt for fabric options. Many of my ties are perfect to wear every day as well. 

NEW TIMES What is your goal for your Etsy store? Is this a full-time job?

TUXANDTULLE I currently work full time but am looking forward to retiring soon. I’m hoping to have my store as a part-time retirement opportunity.

NEW TIMES Are your products available anywhere else?

TUXANDTULLE Right now, my products are only available on Etsy.

NEW TIMES Where did your Etsy name come from?

TUXANDTULLE I came up with Tux and Tulle after surveying friends and family and trying to incorporate men and weddings. I hope to add some additional wedding accessories to my site in the near future. I will definitely be adding bow ties, and I’ve been making some fun cake plates from vintage plates.


  • POPEYES : Johnny Depp, $55
Richard Lossing, SLO

NEW TIMES How long have you been selling on Etsy?

POPEYES I’ve been familiar with Etsy for about a year now and finally we have gotten our little store together. Originally I found out from a friend—they said that it was right up my alley and that I should check it out.

NEW TIMES When did you start working with sunglasses?

POPEYES We started working with glasses about two years ago. Me and my partner Dana work on them together, and she actually does all the repairs. She works in an eye clinic, so she has access to tools and suppliers for replacement parts. We find glasses all over the place, mainly thrift stores and estate sales. When we get a pair of old frames, we completely detail them. We replace any old pieces such as the nose guards, ear covers, and sometimes old screws. The frames are cleaned from top to bottom, and then finally we add new sunglass lenses that match the overall feel of the shades. We can do any color or shade on the lenses, and can even add gradient to the tint.

NEW TIMES What is your goal for your store? Is this a full-time job?

POPEYES Our store for now is part time, but we would very much like to be full time by next year.

NEW TIMES How do you handle pricing?

POPEYES For pricing, we try to keep the prices really fair, especially with the economy the way it is. We don’t think you should have to pay hundreds of dollars on a nice pair of sunglasses when you can get the same quality and an even cooler pair for half the price. Our price range is from $40 to $60, which isn’t bad considering they’re basically brand new, one of a kind, and they have a story to tell.

NEW TIMES How did you come up with your name?

POPEYES We came up with our name because our glasses speak for themselves and really have character, so we say they’re poppin’ . Since we deal with eyes, we added the two together and we got Popeyes. We realize there is a food chain with the same name, but we figured our product is different enough.


click to enlarge ONASMALLSCALE :  Cupcake hats, $24 - PHOTO COURTESY OF ONASMALLSCALE
  • ONASMALLSCALE : Cupcake hats, $24
Janice Kitamura, SLO

NEW TIMES How long have you been on Etsy?

ONASMALLSCALE I heard about Etsy from my daughter-in-law and my niece, who also sells on
Etsy. It took me a while to take the plunge to start selling, but in June 2008, I put my first few items in my new shop.

NEWTIMES When did you start sewing? What are the primary items you sell?

ONASMALLSCALE I have sewn and crafted for years—well over 30! I sell a variety of items on Etsy, mostly rag quilts, knit cupcake hats, children’s clothing, tea towels, knit scarves, and neck warmers—I don’t like to make just the same things all the time. For the quilts, I use quality designer cotton fabric, which I get from local fabric shops and online. I get my yarn locally or online. My most popular items seem to be my cupcake hats, which I make as often for adults as for children, and my rag quilts.

NEW TIMES Where did you get the idea for the cupcake hats?

ONASMALLSCALE I saw a picture of a cupcake hat in a magazine, but didn’t like the way the hat was made, so I made up my own pattern. I love bright colors and decided to turn the yarn colors into “frosting” and “cake” colors that people could combine into their own custom creation.  The cupcake hats were one of the first offerings in my Etsy shop and have continued to be very popular. I have had several wholesale inquiries for them, but they are very labor intensive, so I can’t make a large quantity for a shop.

NEW TIMES What is your goal for your Etsy store? Is this a full-time job? A hobby you enjoy?

ONASMALLSCALE Right now, my Etsy shop is supporting my fabric and craft habit. I love making so many different items, but don’t want to keep them, so Etsy is a great outlet for my creativity. I would love to make a profit from my shop, which would probably happen if I didn’t keep buying fabric and yarn!

NEW TIMES Anything else?

ONASMALLSCALE I also have another Etsy shop called yarnstudio for more knitted and crocheted items, but I don’t have as many in that shop.


  • U2ROBLES : Felt monkey, $5
Candy Bello, SLO

NEW TIMES How long have you been on Etsy?

U2ROBLES I’ve created handmade goodies on Etsy since June 2008. I started using my own handmade gift tags on the presents I would give away. My friends and family and coworkers really enjoyed how unique they were and encouraged me to sell them. Then my friends informed me about a website where you could buy and sell handmade items, called Etsy.

NEW TIMES How would you describe your experience on Etsy?

U2ROBLES I love to buy and sell handmade items, and every experience has been positive. I love the personal touch of the sellers! Whether it’s the handwritten thank you note or the cute packaging, they really take the time to let you know that they care about the crafts that they are making for you.

NEW TIMES When did you start doing creative projects? Do you have a studio that you work out of?

U2ROBLES I found a scrap-booking magazine with step-by-step tutorials. After I read it, I went to the library and read a book with altered art techniques. I love the look of upcycled items in the altered books. I made a few books for myself, and had a lot of leftover scraps, so I began to make mini altered books/notebooks. Materials can be found anywhere. I find a lot of broken jewelry pieces at the Goodwill store or garage sales. I also benefit when my friends and family decide to clean their homes and donate their unwanted lace, ribbons, gems to me. I carry my sketchbook, felt, and paper with me everywhere, so my studio is my tote bag. I stitch and craft on my lunch break at work, or when I’m riding in a car. I do have a little desk at home.

NEW TIMES When did you start making the felt animals and food?

U2ROBLES I wanted to learn how to make little felt toys and play food for my niece. I made a felt chocolate chip biscuit for her. I made one for myself afterwards, because it was so darn cute.

NEW TIMES What is your goal for your Etsy store? Is this a full-time job?

U2ROBLES My goal for the Etsy store is to continue to experiment with new crafts, post them, and see if others like them. This is definitely not a job. I’m grateful for one sale every two months! It’s simply a hobby that I enjoy!


click to enlarge GWENDOLYNFOREVER :  Honey and glycerin cleanser and mask, $10 - PHOTO COURTESY OF GWENDOLYNFOREVER
  • GWENDOLYNFOREVER : Honey and glycerin cleanser and mask, $10
GWENDOLYN FOREVER, Gwendolyn Smith, Arroyo Grande

NEW TIMES When did you start working with plants? What kind of products do you make from them?

GWENDOLYN FOREVER I really started working with plants when I was 20. My first garden consisted of a patch of sunflowers surrounded by a border made of crystals and semi-precious minerals. The kind of products I make from plants are the kind of products I want to put on my skin. They are gentle, pure, natural, and consisting of the therapeutic values I wish for them to impart. Some of my favorites are my cleanser, toner, body oils, and body butters. 

NEW TIMES What kind of materials and tools do you use?

GWENDOLYNFOREVER The materials I use are high-quality expeller or cold-pressed oils and butters; olive oil made from olives grown on the ranch where I live; raw, unfiltered honey from local sources; organic apple cider; vegetable glycerin; anti-oxidants from natural sources; and plants mostly gathered from the wild or from my garden. The tools I use in my processes include all the tools that come highly recommended in any herbal you might read. They include my vintage Pyrex double boiler, my ceramic soup pot, my porcelain-lined cast iron pots, all my flip-top glass jars, wooden spoons and bowls, ceramic bowls, baskets of varying shapes and sizes, and hemp or cotton twine. These tools are also my treasures. Undoubtedly, my favorite plants and flowers to work with are the wild ones: black sage, elderflower, plantain, red clover, nettle are among these. I also use calendula, lavender, rosemary, rose, comfrey, lemon balm, and many others, all from my garden.

NEW TIMES What does a day of harvesting look like?

GWENDOLYNFOREVER A day of harvesting might resemble something captured in a classic Monet painting. I go out in my colorful cotton sundress, wide-brim hat, and sandals with a basket on each arm, pushing my babe in her jogger stroller, and my dog running around me on the lookout for squirrels. I will usually hike around for several hours trying to take a little from each of my favorite spots. I try to go out every day while the plants are at the height of their season. Once I’ve filled my baskets I go home and prepare the plants for drying or for use in a preparation that highlights fresh plant essences.

NEW TIMES Where did your Etsy seller name come from? 

GWENDOLYNFOREVER My seller name, GwendolynForever, is a reflection of Etsy’s username policy. Once you pick your name, there is no changing your mind. Therefore, I knew once I chose Gwendolyn I would be Gwendolyn forever.


SPOOKYLANE :  Hail to the King, Elvis Day of the Dead cross, $30 - PHOTO COURTESY OF SPOOKYLANE
  • SPOOKYLANE : Hail to the King, Elvis Day of the Dead cross, $30
Traci Lynn, Los Osos

NEW TIMES When did you start crafting shadowboxes and pendants and earrings?

SPOOKY LANE I started crafting shadowboxes about five years ago. The jewelry is more recent. I’ve been doing that for about one year. Wood, acrylic, and paper are my most often used materials.

NEW TIMES What are your top sellers?

SPOOKY LANE My trinket boxes and pendants are pretty popular.

NEW TIMES Where do your ideas come from?

SPOOKY LANE My ideas come from things I like: Mexican folk art, Halloween, music, vintage posters and postcards, pop culture.

NEW TIMES Where did your Etsy seller name come from?

SPOOKY LANE The name “Spooky” was a nickname given to me about 10 years ago. The name Spooky Lane refers to the street I live on. I am a fan of the Munsters, who lived on Mockingbird Lane. I decided to use lane as opposed to street, drive, avenue, boulevard, etc. I figured it just sounded better.


  • INKLINGPAPER : Odelay, $10
INKLING PAPER, Kayla King, Arroyo Grande

NEW TIMES When did you begin working as a graphic designer?

INKLINGPAPER I began working as a graphic designer in 2007 when I got engaged and could not find wedding invitations that I liked for a price that fit my budget. I knew how to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, so I decided to make my own. The response I got was overwhelming, and before I knew it, I was getting various graphic design jobs for weddings, businesses, and personal projects for friends. I special order all my materials online, but do enjoy an occasional Michaels run now and again for small quantities of specialty items. My ideas stem from a never-ending stream of images in my head absorbed from both the natural and manmade world. I grew up drawing and illustrating, and I am so thrilled to be able to apply that to my work and my shop.

NEW TIMES What sort of items do you sell?

INKLINGPAPER I sell lots of paper goodies, from note cards to note pads to limited edition art prints in my shop. I also have available a variety of wedding invitations and gifts. I love custom work as well; if a customer can dream it up, I love to take a crack at creating it!

NEW TIMES Where did the cootie catchers come from?

INKLINGPAPER I came up with my version of the cootie catcher after reminiscing on childhood games one day. I wanted to make a fun adult version with some style that would be great for parties and general merriment. These are also great customized for weddings with trivia about the bride and groom for guests to play with during cocktail hour before the reception! I am currently working on a silly line of photo booth props for a photographer friend of mine. There will be mustaches, lips, funny eyebrows, and noses on sticks to hold up in the photo booth. They will be available in the shop in January.

NEW TIMES What’s your goal for your Etsy shop? Is this a job? A hobby?

INKLINGPAPER I currently run my shop as a part-time job, but my goal is to someday make it a full-time gig. It’s funny how when you are doing what you love, it doesn’t feel like work. That’s the ultimate goal.

NEW TIMES Are your products available anywhere else?

INKLINGPAPER My products are currently available on Big Cartel and Etsy. I am working on a wholesale catalog and would love to be able to have my products in local shops next year!

NEW TIMES Where did your Etsy name come from?

INKLINGPAPER My shop name has kind of a double meaning for me. The definition of Inkling is “a little hint or desire.” That’s how my business started out, as a tiny desire of mine to do something I love that grew into something wonderful for many to enjoy. There is also the word “ink” in the name and as a huge part of my medium, it is fitting for it to be a part of my shop name as well.


COCOABEADDESIGNS :  Coin pearl and crystal dangle earrings, $25 - PHOTO COURTESY OF COCOABEADDESIGNS
  • COCOABEADDESIGNS : Coin pearl and crystal dangle earrings, $25

NEW TIMES How long have you been on Etsy?

COCOABEAD DESIGNS I’ve been on Etsy since July 4, 2009. I heard about Etsy through a friend and thought that it was such a great concept! A place that you can buy and sell all things handmade sounded like a wonderful place to me—something that I wanted to be a part of.

NEW TIMES When did you start making jewelry? How would you describe your jewelry? Where do you get materials?

COCOABEADDESIGNS I started making jewelry about three years ago when my college roommate took the time to sit down and teach me the wonderful art of jewelry making. I’ve been hooked since then! I’d describe my jewelry as feminine, dainty and elegant. I love to work with pearls, crystals, cubic zirconia and other precious gems. I get my beads lots of different places, but I mostly buy them locally at craft and bead stores in the area. I’ve also recently started to buy beads and findings through Etsy suppliers.

NEW TIMES What is your goal for your Etsy store? Is this a full-time job? A hobby you enjoy?

COCOABEAD DESIGNS For right now, it is just something I love to do, something that brings me joy and therapy. If my business took off, that would be wonderful, but for right now I’m still planning on continuing my education and becoming a speech and language pathologist. However, I will admit that in the future I’d love to open up my own little jewelry boutique, and if my Etsy shop took off, I would not be opposed to making this a full-time job! I love making jewelry, and I love to see people wearing my jewelry. It really instills a sense of pride in me to think that someone loves and is wearing something I have created with my own two hands.

NEW TIMES Are your products available anywhere else beside Etsy?

COCOABEADDESIGNS I sell retail at my parents’ flower shop (Albert’s Florist) and my aunt and grandma’s tailoring business (Rose and Henry Tailors) here in San Luis Obispo on Monterey Street.

NEW TIMES How did you come up with the name for your shop?

COCOABEADDESIGNS My sister actually came up with it because her nickname for me is Cocoa. She suggested the play on words, “cocoa bead designs,” and it stuck. That is how I got my name.

NEW TIMES Do you plan on expanding your items?

COCOABEAD DESIGNS I think I will eventually, but for now I think I’m going to stick to just making earrings. They are a lot less time consuming and a lot less expensive to make, too, which is good since I’m just getting on my feet. I am, however, totally open to custom orders, so if there is a pair of earrings that you love and must have a matching necklace or bracelet for, I’d be happy to accommodate.


Jim Amberg, Los Osos

NEW TIMES How and when did you start selling on Etsy?

JAMBERG I have had my shop on Etsy for six months. My daughter is on Etsy, and she got me set up and still helps me maintain the site.

NEW TIMES When did you start woodworking?

JAMBERG I started woodworking 35 years ago and have continued ever since in one form or another. I work out of my own customized home/shop studio. The wood I use is from reclaimed sources. My suppliers are forgotten out of Atascadero and pacific coast out of SLO. I make everything from jewelry boxes to custom furniture. My big seller lately has been cedar chests.

NEW TIMES What’s your goal for your Etsy shop? Is this a job? A hobby?

JAMBERG My goal is to grow my Etsy business as an ongoing store for as long as I possibly can. I have physical limitations, which prevent me from working full time, but I spend most of my day involved in the process.

NEW TIMES Are your products available anywhere else?

JAMBERG I sell out of the front of my shop at 631 Mar Vista Drive (528-8389). Next year, I plan to have my work displayed in art galleries and home furnishing stores.


click to enlarge SIBLINGSTUDIO :  Copper and silver ring, $57 - PHOTO COURTESY OF SIBLINGSTUDIO
  • SIBLINGSTUDIO : Copper and silver ring, $57
Aaron Gomez, SLO

NEW TIMES When did you and your brother start making jewelry?

SIBLINGSTUDIO My brother and I have made jewelry off and on since we were children. Having a father in the business our whole lives gave us great access to all the tools.

NEW TIMES What types of materials and tools and processes do you use? Where do you create your jewelry?

SIBLINGSTUDIO We work out of B. Anthony and Co. Jewelers. All of our jewelry consists of silver, gold fill, and copper, all of which we forge and solder into shape. We do put the occasional stone or gem in for aesthetic flair, but most of it relies on the metal itself.

NEW TIMES Do the two of you each create different pieces or do you ever collaborate on the same piece?

SIBLINGSTUDIO We do have very different styles, although many of the pieces we have both made for a lot of years. But when we make something new, we generally go on our own tangents to get there, which is great. We end up with more designs that way. From that point, we can both use them.

NEW TIMES Are your products available anywhere else?

SIBLINGSTUDIO Yes, you can find my stuff at Gold Concept, Bloke, Ambiance, and Miss Holiday (Bakersfield). 


click to enlarge BEARGALLERY :  Swine, 18-by-24-inch, $45 - PHOTO COURTESY OF BEARGALLERY
  • BEARGALLERY : Swine, 18-by-24-inch, $45
BEARGALLERY, Tommy Nickerson, San Luis Obispo/Moorpark

NEW TIMES How long have you been on Etsy?

BEARGALLERY I’ve been on Etsy for about half a year now. One day, my sister (who is a graphic communications major) told me about Etsy and how I can sell my artwork on there for less than a dollar a month, so I went for it.

NEW TIMES When did you start painting?

BEARGALLERY I started to confidently paint during sophomore year of high school, starting out with graffiti styles and learning how colors look together. My style tends to be towards conceptual art, where a viewer may find a different meaning than I intended. You can almost always find an element of anguish somewhere in my paintings, as well as some phrase such as “you can’t miss what you forget” on my work. As for materials, 95 percent of my art is painted on 18-by-24-inch canvases due to Michaels deals. Lately, I’ve been using a lot of watercolor with oil-based markers. However, I always find myself going back to spray paint with stencils and markers.

NEW TIMES Where do you paint? Do you have a studio?

BEARGALLERY I end up doing all of my painting in my room. Although I have considered a minor in art, I’m currently a music major at Cal Poly.

NEW TIMES What is your goal for your Etsy store? Is this a job? A hobby?

BEARGALLERY My goal is to introduce artwork where people can relate to the concept being portrayed. And of course, I’m just another starving college student looking for some pocket change. It can be sad to let artwork go, though.

NEW TIMES Where did your Etsy name come from?

BEARGALLERY Ever since I was little, my parents have called me “Bear” for some reason. I don’t know if it’s because I loved the Berenstain Bears books, but this led me to setting my art alias to Bear. So, then came along Bear Gallery.

Arts Editor Ashley Schwellenbach is an Etsy fiend. Send tales of magical fingerless gloves to


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