Hello all out there in craftland! This week Stitchy sat down for a fantastic interview with Naimah from The Dreamery - Photography With a Vision (http://dreameryphotography.etsy.com/)
Pictured here is Stitchy's favorite photography of Naimah's called Hills of Green.
Now for the interview!
Stitchy: Some basic information, how long have you been at your craft and what originally brought you to Etsy?
Naimah: I have been working with photography since my sophomore year of high school. I was actually taking a course in photography. It was so much fun but very hard because we were using manual, film cameras, not digital. Our teacher wouldn't allow for digital cameras because he wanted us to get used to learn the functionality of our cameras and how to take the perfect picture by hand--not with state-of-the-art technology. We also developed our own film by hand which was an amazing experience in itself. Unfortunately, after the class was over, I didn't continue photography until now. I have been using digital cameras ever since but I have found a deep appreciation for those using manual, film cameras.
When I first met Etsy, I was 12 years old. I was interested in web design and coding and traveled the web to find people much like me who shared the same passion. I cam across a website that linked to etsy and when I clicked on it, I saw this cluster of handmade goods that, for a 12 year old, was fascinating, yet confusing. So, I told my sister about it and she too thought it was nice but did not know how to use it--mind you, she was 13 at the time. Years later, at age 20, my sister returned to etsy, and began her online business called Flowers From Fatima (http://flowersfromfatima.etsy.com/), where she sells floral hair accessories. She inspired me to begin my craft, which at first was graphic and web design, but now is photography. I have enjoyed every moment of it.
Stitchy: Where do you find your inspiration for your creations?
Naimah: My inspiration comes from nature. I love the way things in life are viewed naturally. I like the way the petals on a flower fall and the vibrant and fresh colors of fresh produce at a grocery store appeals to all of our senses. All those experiences are involved in my work and I want my customers to know that the moment they click into my shop. I am not just some ordinary photography shop--I awaken the senses and offer photography with a vision.
StitchyWho has been your biggest supporter and is there anything you'd like to be able to say to this person?
Naimah: My mother. My mother has encouraged me to stay away from the idea that "this is just a hobby". She wanted me to know that this IS a hobby but even more than that. This is a lifestyle. Do what you love and love what you do. It makes no sense to commit yourself to finding a "real" job while trying to make more money on the side from a hobby. That's too hard. Instead, immerse yourself in your loves because it isn't a job that gets people money--it's a deep satisfaction and love for what they do, a deep wanting to be involved in their passion, that sends prosperity their way. To my mother I want to say thank you and your inspiration and endless support has not only made me a better photographer, but a more confident and understanding human being.
Stitchy: How was your experience with your very first sale on Etsy?
Naimah: Believe it or not, my very first sale happened the day I opened my photography shop. I was so exited! It made me so confident in my skill as a photographer and made me realize that my work does have potential to be a success.
Stitchy: What is the one thing that you don't have, but would love to have that would greatly assist you in your creations?
Naimah: A more profesional digital camera. I always wanted a DLSR camera that takes great macro shots--but I have no funds to purchase this. I was so surprised at the quality of my photos from my small sony camera at the moment. It does such a great job and I love it but I think having a more professional camera would greatly assist my photography.
Stitchy: What is your most favorite item in your shop and what makes it so special to you?
NaimahMy most favorite item in my shop are my Fresh Bell Peppers!
This photo is so special to me because of the vibrant and mouth-watering colors! All of my customers say that it makes them want salsa. It makes me so proud that they feel this way--that from ONE photo you can feel so many emotions and senses come alive. It was such a beautiful photo that most of my customers could relate to. It embodies my motto--photography with a vision.
Stitchy: What do you feel are your best marketing tools?
Naimah: I have a website (http://dreameryphotography.com/ ) where I WILL be posting my blog eventually and I have a twitter account as well (http://twitter.com/dreameryphoto ) where I constantly update my customers on my whereabouts as well as on any shop updates. I feel like the best marketing tool thus far is my twitter account--as I do not have my blog up yet. It will be up soon. Look forward to it! Follow me on twitter for updates!
Stitchy: What suggestions would you offer to brand new Etsy sellers?
Naimah: It's funny because I was actually offering critiques to various shops in the forums (http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6594760 ) where I gave FULL critiques of shops for free! :) A suggestion I would offer is: Don't look at Etsy as a "get rich quick" method. I am serious. You don't understand how many people go in the chat rooms and forums complaining that they haven't made a sale when they haven't even began promoting themselves! There are so many steps to becoming successful. When you are new to crafting, it will seem like it's costly and that there will be no return for you, but there is. You are in the learning process. Take this time to learn about different forms of promotion, making friends, and lastly making money. The odd thing is, it isn't the bigger orders that get you rich fast. It's the combination of many small orders that make you a profit. Think of the Dollar Tree. $1 for every single item. Again, many small orders can make you more of a profit th an one person buying your whole store. Besides, which do you think is more likely anyway?
This has been such a wonderful interview with a great young artist! Naimah's eye for beauty and photography is indeed great and her photos truly show her unique personality.
Keep up the good work Naimah!
Next week's blogpost will be a 2 part article. Primarily it'll be a new segment called Stitchy Brags, where Stitchy gets to showcase finished projects, however, this time it's even extra special because it is also the first in Stitchy's new line!
Until next time ...