Today we sit down with Anne from Creatures Northwest (http://www.zibbet.com/creaturesnorthwest). Anne creates these quirky, loveable creatures that I cannot get enough of. I'm always in her shop to see who the next creature is.
I initially started my shop on Etsy in 2008. However, when Etsy began allowing mass-produced items on their site, I moved to Zibbet. It’s important to me to sell on a site that honors true handmade. My shop name combines the creature aspect with the Pacific Northwest where I've lived for the last 13 years. So, it’s a combination of two of my loves: creating creatures and living in the Pacific Northwest.
2. I love your creatures. How did you start making them?
I’ve been sketching monsters and creatures since I was in the second grade. About 15 years ago, when I was in my late 20s, many of my friends started having babies. I wanted to create something special for the kids’ nurseries and decided to turn my creature sketches into multi-media plush monsters. My friends loved them and—in fact—often took the kiddo’s creature and put it next to their (the adult's) computer as a companion. (They said the kids were too little to appreciate them!) I realized that there is a market for teens and goofy adults to have plush companions. We all need someone to keep us company throughout the day. And they’re like pets: They listen, they don’t complain, and they offer their goofy happy presence.
3. Who are your favorite suppliers?
Because most of my creatures consist of 60-90% recycled materials, I don’t rely on traditional suppliers. Rather, I love thrift stores and garage sales where I can find wool sweaters, unusual buttons, old hardware, and costume jewelry. I like component parts (like vintage buttons) that have character and history; they help create a really unique end-product with a lot of personality.
4. You take wonderful pictures of your creatures. What is your secret?
Thank you! What’s interesting is that my creatures are like people—some are photogenic and some are not. When taking photos, I try to capture the essence in their eyes. I spend a lot of time playing around with button combinations to make sure their eyes have light and depth and personality to them. So, when taking photos, I attempt to capture them as I would a good friend—trying to capture the essence and personality more so than the physical reality.
5. Do you take custom orders?
Yes, I do. I ask that people give me two or three colors, a facial expression (goofy, sweet, crazy, happy, caffeinated, etc.) and a short description of the personality of the person who will be receiving the creature (their hobbies, interests, background, etc.) This helps guide me in the creation process. I really enjoy working within creative parameters given to me by others.
6. Do you sell outside of Zibbet? If so, Where?
Not currently, although I do promote my creatures on a variety of sites.
7. Any sales coming up?
I hope so! Sales come in clusters and there doesn’t seem to be a science to it. Sales are wonderful, of course, but making the creatures is a passion and a meditation for me, so while sales help cover my time and supplies, they are secondary to the pleasure I get from the creation process. Right now, I have too many creatures in stock and I am in the process of donating quite a few to a local organization that serves children and teens who have experienced the death of a parent or sibling. It makes me really happy to offer something like this to people who can use a goofy companion during difficult times.
8. Any last words for the reading audience?
I’d say two things:
~ My creatures are like people: Perfectly imperfect in their weird & wonderful eccentricities.
~ If you want to create, create. If you think you can’t, you’re wrong! Get some crayons or fingerpaints or clay or yarn and play, play, play. Be silly, be goofy, take risks, and act like a kid. Don’t worry about the final product. Whether you sell your creations or not, the creative process is good for the soul.
Thank you so much, Anne for taking the time to sit down with us. Best of luck to you and your shop (http://www.zibbet.com/creaturesnorthwest).
If you would like to be a featured artisan, please feel free to contact me.