Who is the woman behind the madness?
My name is Karen Tapahe and I live in Utah now, although I grew up on the Oregon coast. I'm in my 40s and married to a Navajo guy who has been wonderful about sharing his culture with me. We have two sons who are now adults (barely). When our family was younger, we went to a lot of powwows and we worked hard to keep up with making their outfits/regalia as they continued to grow. In 2001, we got to be part of the Winter Olympic opening ceremony in Salt Lake City, Utah, representing the Navajo tribe as part of the "Native American welcome" segment. High school had our kids going in different directions and my husband and I decided to finish our college degrees. My husband is now a licensed PE and special education teacher and I have my bachelor's degree in business management. That degree is coming in handy during this Etsy adventure. While one son plays Magic the Gathering and hangs out online, the other son is involved in choir and drama. That has kept everyone very busy and entertained! The downturn in the economy led us to search for ways to supplement our income. That's what brought us to Etsy. I also have a more personal blog on random subjects: The Spirit Bead Journals.
My husband and I both know how to do beading, but he does more of the free hand stuff. Most of my experience is with loom beading. Sewing is one of the areas we work together a lot. My husband comes up with the designs for things, especially applique, and I sew them up. I learned shuttle tatting from a friend in 1990 and found out about 10 years later that my great grandma used to do some tatting. Graphic design is new and I've had no formal training. My dad was quite the artist and designer and I was sure I didn't inherit any of it. My dad is gone, but I started playing around with design on the computer in my current job and was hooked. I've learned a lot along the way and taken a few small classes. My job has given me a lot of opportunities to develop this skill and I'm glad that being on Etsy is taking me in new directions. Because my husband has done some great things using a Cricut Expression, I have now dubbed him "Cricut Man."
Our Etsy shop is moving along and I am learning a lot. Researching online business is taking up time, but it is definitely worth it. The great thing about this is meeting so many new friends. I'm finding some wonderful new resources for my tatting and my husband's beading and I'm getting to practice much more graphic design in styles different than I use at work. Sharing my crafts and talents and connecting with others who share my passions is making my life complete right now.
WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU?
If you are selling handmade items online, whether on Etsy, Artfire, Folksy, 1000 Markets, or wherever, you'll get the benefit of my experiences and mistakes. I also try to share any resources I find to be helpful. Blog features like Etsy Wednesday and Feature Friday give you opportunities to promote your shop and share what you love.
There are plenty of resources for those who craft, whether or not you end up selling the items you make. In addition, I will continue to share my love of tatting, my intercultural experiences, and my husband's Native American arts and crafts.
Come join me on my adventure and feel free to contribute your bits of "madness" along the way...