While I love technology, one of the things I truly miss is snail mail. Not the bills and adverstisements, but the letters from a loved one or friend. In my 20s I corresponded frequently with my grandparents and my best friend. I looked forward to their personal touches–homemade stationary, a photo…something that made them come to life in my hands.
The name represents her and a few of her favorite things. “I knew I wanted the name to represent me, and my favorite color ever is green, so that’s where the Emerald part came from. Emerald City was a place in the Wizard of Oz, but to me, Emerald City is something from my imagination. The color green has come to represent earth-friendlyness to most of us, and I love to incorporate that into my work. To me, that represents harmony, compassion and happiness. Lastly, the word ’emporium’ was suggested by my boyfriend, and I love it. It’s whimsical and fun, and pretty unique.
Her start came from encouragement from friends commenting on her creations for her home. “The first time I considered selling things I had created was after friends and family saw a few things I had made for my home and said “wow! You should sell that!”, which got my wheels turning. Creating has always made me happy, and I also love the thought of being my own boss, and treating customers the way I want to, which is the right way. I’d had some bad experiences working in a retail environment, and I’m pretty much disgusted with big business.”
Her talent comes from lessons learned. “I supposed my knowledge came mostly from trial and error, playing around with paint and whatever else I could get my hands on as a kid. I took lots of art classes throughout highschool also.”
Not just stationery, Rachel feels her product is different from others because “I think my work has a unique style to it that I haven’t seen in other places. One thing I love about buying something that is handmade is that when you use it and see it and feel it, it’s like you can feel the hands and the soul of whoever made it. I think that we each put a little piece of our hearts into everything we make, and it’s something that can’t ever be duplicated.”
Family is the cornerstone for Rachel. She used this love to create her absolute favorite creation. “Even though it was a group effort of my sisters and I, was a set of two huge family tree scrapbooks we made for our Mom one Christmas. They looked great when they were done, and it will help us preserve our family history. My older sister did a great job of compiling family photos, notes from our Grandma, as well as things like school degrees and certificates. “
Always a thinker, Rachel puts her thoughts to inspiration. “Sometimes I’m inspired by the need to solve a problem, other times it’s by a photograph I’ve taken, or taking a walk through an art gallery, or a beautiful piece of paper. Usually ideas come to me out of nowhere, and fairly suddenly. I keep a sketchbook in my (giant) purse.”
With those ideas come the creating process. “The way it usually works is I decide what I feel like working on, perhaps a garland, so I dig through my supplies and pick my first material. Say it’s some cool patterned paper, I keep digging and find something that coordinates with that paper, and so on. After that I might use the dye cutter to make some letters, and after an hour or two I’ve assembelled a project, and I can sit back and admire it. It’s hard to describe, because most of the time I don’t think ahead too much about what I’m going to use. I just go in my art room and pick up the first thing that appeals to me, and work from there. “
When she’s seeking ideas and not creating, Rachel says “One of my favorite weekend things to do is get in my car and drive wherever I feel like going that day. I love to drive out to the Blue Ridge mountains and find antique stores, and talk to whoever is there, and maybe get a bite to eat. I love to take pictures. Most of the time my boyfriend Andrew goes along with me, and we have a fun time discovering whatever comes our way! I also love to play guitar and hang out with my cats. “
Someday, “I would love to learn glassblowing. There are several studios locally I go into every once in a while to oggle them while they work. Someday I will learn!”
Rachel is dedicated to her business. When she realized there weren’t enough hours to keep up with all things she set to make time to craft. “Previously, I worked 40 hours a week, went to school at night, and crafted, and that was tough. Recently I’ve cut back on my hours at work so I can spend more time crafting and promoting my business.”
With a life in front of her Rachel adds, “I think my greatest accomplishment thus far has been taking a leap of faith and trying to start my own business. I’m only 20 years old, and not many of my friends can say that they have done that! Kudos to all you etsyers who are young, and not intimidated by owning your own business. “
There are plans for the future. “I would love to own a brick-and-mortar business by then. I sort of long to be part of a local community and be a part of this movement that is bringing back main-street businesses. I would love to be in a stable relationship, have lots of pets, a huge garden, and lots of happiness. So much will change by then, I can’t really wrap my head around it!”
Right now focus on Emerald City Emporium is a top priority. Her customers support her with impressive feedback:
“The BEST Etsy seller” allicatOU
“AMAZING! Super seller! This wall hook is absolutely beautiful” sarahcatharine
Additional Optional Entries:
Eligible after completing mandatory entry above: You can do any or all of the following for one entry each. Please leave a separate comment for each that you have done.
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—FOR 5 EXTRA ENTRIES – Blog about this giveaway, with a link to my blog. Come back and leave the link to your blog post. Post FIVE separate comments that you’ve blogged about this. EXTRA ENTRY if you post a picture of an “Emerald City Emporium” Product!
Giveaway ends 11:59pm (MST) February 22, 2010 Open to US addresses. No PO Boxes. Winner will be chosen by random.org and contacted by email. Please respond in 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. To be fair to everyone, comments not meeting requirements will be deleted.
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was offered or accepted for this post. The opinions above are my own and were not in any way influenced by the sponsor. Other’s experience may vary.