Introducing Hazelrah - Plain Folk Crafts!

Posted Thursday, October 20, 2011

Today we introduce you to Sarah of Hazelrah - Plain Folk Crafts

  • what motivated you to start your shop?

When my first son was born back in 2005, I went back to work after six months, but after considering how much we spent on daycare versus my income we made a decision that I would stay at home and I've been ever since. However, I've never been one to sit still and I began looking for way to make a little something from home to keep myself busy. I had previously been considering a career in illustration, but unfortunately that took far too much time and then I started tinkering with cloth dolls. I remembered how much I loved my rag dolls as a child and I started working on creating soft dolls that incorporated that love combined with my interest in pioneer life and clothing. I also have much admired the Amish culture I grew up around in New York and, living in Oregon at the time, wanted to make their wonderful dolls available for those who may be many miles from an Amish settlement. My children motivated me to incorporate the children's clothing, as I became more confident in making clothes for them, I ventured into new territory and now really enjoy using vintage patterns and the challenge they bring.

  • what is the story behind your shop name?

When I started the shop I simply wanted something that alluded to the content of the shop. I have heard of the Amish people referred to as the "plain people" and this inspired the name "Plain Folk Crafts". Not wanting to limit myself to just dolls, I included the "crafts" part because at the time I was also creating gourd birdhouses as well as prints of various illustrations I had done prior to opening the shop.

  • do you have a favorite Etsy Shop (non-child related)?

Well, even though this one is arguable, I absolutely love the illustrations here: While they are based in fairy tales and folklore (a personal passion), there is certainly a dark twist that caters far more to adults than children.

  • what surprised you most about having your own craft / online shop?

I think the thing that surprised me the most initially was that anyone bought anything! Mostly though, the biggest surprise, and the most pleasant, has been the feedback and wonderful e-mails I have received from my buyers. I know that my sales are comparatively low to many other shops, but those people whom I have had the pleasure of working with have really become the primary reason I continue to do this.

  • what do you find most challenging about being an Etsy seller?

The most challenging issue I think I've had is pricing. When I really take inventory on how much time I spend on an order or a ready-made item and then figure in fabric costs, gas, etc. I know I'm coming up behind. But at the same time, I want to be affordable, it's a tough call sometimes. The other challenge I've had is not being able to afford an adjustable mannequin, as I know it would be a nice touch and give a bit of continuity to the shop images, someday!

  • what's your personal philosophy behind your shop / products?

Simply, to make a product with the kind of craftsmanship I would want to receive, at a reasonable price.

  • how would someone (other then you) describe you?

I think they'd say I was pretty driven, perhaps trying to do too much, but definitely passionate about all the hats I wear.

  • what music do you have on while you are creating?

When I work, the music needs to be soft and mellow, so I mostly listen to soundtracks or instrumentals. Discovering Pandora has been a Godsend the last year! I have always been an artist so the music I listen to now is pretty much the same music I worked to at 12!

  • what do you do when you aren't working or volunteering?

My three children (6, 4, and 1) keep me busy 24/7! And I’ve recently added school to that, as I attempt to finally finish up my bachelor's degree. I also try to volunteer as much as possible at my sons' school, and this year I'll be helping with Cub Scouts as well...phew, is that enough?

  • anything else you'd like to tell us or share?

I'm just really glad for the opportunity to answer these questions and share a little bit about me and my shop. I look forward to reading everyone else's responses as well, during nap time of course!

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