Grey Girl Designs
Welcome to the It's a Madcap Life blog. I guess this year is almost halfway over, can you believe it? It sure does go by fast! I better introduce our featured Madcap shop for June- before the whole month is gone. Please join me in welcoming Melissa from goodmarvin.
Melissa Nannen- goodmarvin
Hi Melissa! I'm so glad you could join us today! Why don't you start by telling us a bit about you and your life:
Oh boy. Where to start? I am wife to an eccentric rock n’ roll drummer husband, mother to a beautiful 18 month-old daughter (no bias there) as well as two rescued pit mix pups and two rescued cats. I have a BFA in photography, an MFA in painting, make plush sculptures, teach pilates, teach various foundation art courses at a local community college, and run my etsy shop in my “free” time. I also love to play the guitar and garden. I love my various jobs because they allow me to work from home or close to it so my husband and I can spend most of our day with our daughter and numerous pets.
I'm curious about the name of your shop- what's the significance of goodmarvin?
When my husband and I first started dating he had been living with a neurotic little Jack Russell terrier named Marvin who he adopted from a local shelter. He could be described as anything but “good.” One year I made him a silly t-shirt as a Christmas present with an iron-on photo of Marvin’s snarling teeth on the front and the phrase “good marvin” on the back. When it came time to name my etsy shop, poor Marvin had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and I decided to name my shop after him in tribute.
|Sunglasses Case in Psychedelic Pink Olive Green by goodmarvin|
How did you get started designing handbags and accessories?
I got the idea in 2009 when I met Katie Henry of madebyhank at a craft fair at a mutual friend’s studio. At the time, my art studio neighbored a sweatshop that had the most amazing fabric scraps in their garbage. I had been collecting stuff for ages, so I thought I’d try out designing my own purses and accessories. I moved out of my studio when I became pregnant with my daughter and my shop had to evolve since I no longer had access to free recycled materials. The yoga bag part of my business started because I worked at a health club where I constantly saw people schlepping their yoga and pilates mats around without a bag. I thought it would be nice to design pretty homes for their mats. It turned out that there weren’t a ton of sellers on etsy making yoga bags, so it became an important part of my business.
|Clutch Handbag Black and White Floral from goodmarvin|
I just love the designs of your clutches and the fabrics you use, what's your secret for designing the perfect clutch?
I like designing things that are simple, functional and beautiful. I try to create clutches that hold just about everything you would need for a night on the town, which in my case includes a full-sized wallet! When I go to the fabric store, I usually pick the fabrics that draw my eye first or that have a pattern I think might look good coupled with the shapes I sew for my bags.
Which of your items is the hottest on Etsy?
In terms of sales, my top-loading yoga bags are very popular. In terms of hearts, I recently sold an adorable handbag I’d made from recycled scraps almost three years ago. It had beige and white gingham wool combined with a turquoise plaid overlaid with a cream lace and recycled belt handles. It was totally OOAK. It was my most hearted item and I am so happy it finally found its ecstatic and rightful owner!
|Yoga Mat Bag in Berry Pink by goodmarvin|
Give us your tip for finding success on Etsy:
Perseverance and an ability to look at your own work with a critical eye have been helpful. That and knowing when something works to go with it! My shop really didn’t take off until I found a product that not a lot of other people were making - my yoga bags. My business also increased when I started taking the suggestions of my customers - I started making top-loading bags with zippers, adjustable straps, pockets etc. and diversifying my best-selling product. The best part for me about having at least one product that does really well is that it sustains my more creative side that wants to experiment.
Any other tips you would like to share with our readers about Etsy, or selling a handmade product in general?
Learn to take great photos of your products (or hire someone who can) because I think that is one of the most important ways to get someone to look at your work. Online shopping is all about selling the product to the customer through photography since you can’t do it in person and while having good product descriptions is a close second, people consume images first and foremost. Desire is first experienced through the eyes and you need your products to look appealing!
|Large Tote Bag by goodmarvin|
You have really great product photography in your Etsy shop, what do you use for a camera and your lighting?
I shoot with a Canon Rebel XS with an 18-55mm lens. I use natural light and a tripod and usually shoot at a 1600 ISO since everything is indoors. I have to stand really still for some of the shots!
Please list everywhere you can be found-
All of my products are sold exclusively through my etsy shop: www.goodmarvin.etsy.com, but you can find out more about my artwork through my personal website: www.melissanannen.com.
I am also on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/goodmarvin/89401387117
I’m on twitter but I’m not much of a tweeter @goodmarvin and I’m under pinterest as goodmarvin as well.
I occasionally post musings on my own blog: www.goodmarvin.blogspot.com
|Melissa havin a little fun!|
What's your idea of a perfect day?
One where my daughter sleeps in (and so do I), I get to eat a delicious meal that I didn’t cook, and I spend a few hours in the studio and there are no major disasters while I’m in there. I end it by drinking a beer and hanging out watching Office reruns with the hubby. I would say with the exception of the cooking thing this describes most of my days, so I must be living the dream. :)
Thanks so much Melissa! It's been fun getting to know more about you!
I hope you all enjoyed my interview with Melissa. If you get a chance, pop in goodmarvin and check out her cool bags and accessories. I think it's great getting to meet our teammates and finding out what is behind the Etsy storefront! Thanks so much for visiting the Madcap blog. Be sure to come back in July to see our next featured shop. Until next time...
Keep singing your Madcap songs!