Monday, May 30, 2011

An Interview with Ashley Pahl of Indie Pretty Projects

An excerpt from Ashley’s blog page; About me:


My love for the handmade community has its roots in my childhood. My Grandma Peggy taught me at a young age how to work that construction paper with glue and cotton balls, while she was always working on a new sewing, embroidery, or baking project.

After years of painting, knitting, photography, screen printing, sculpting, sketching, and attempting to sew, I found my true love, paper, when I made my own wedding invitations.

I've been selling my own paper creations online since 2007, and began blogging shortly after. I discovered that people around the world are turning their passion into a career, and by simply making the conscious choice to buy handmade and share your finds, a whole industry can be kept afloat.

Indie Pretty Projects

The Interview:


Foundation: I used Bare Escentuals for a long time, but it became too pricey for my budget. Now I use tinted moisturizer, such as Neutrogena.
Blush: Benefit - Dandelion
Mascara: Dior DiorShow - I'm currently on the hunt to find a comparable drugstore brand
Eyeliner: Wet N Wild
Primer: Smashbox Photo Finish
Eyeshadow: M.A.C. - I like something with a little glitter.
Lipstick or Gloss: I don't really have a favorite - I buy something new every time. Right now I am using tinted lip balm by Burt's Bees.

Q: What was the inspiration behind Indie Pretty Projects?

A: Indie Pretty Projects started out as "Ashleybug Designs", as a companion blog to my new business on Etsy in 2007. It used to be focused on my journey as a crafter and the business tips I was learning, but I realized I enjoyed writing about the work of others much more, and decided it was time for a name change.

Q: You mention on your site that your calling is paper crafting. Why did you decide on that particular for of crafting?

A: I've tried many different mediums, but it turns out I'm a pretty impatient person. For example, I tried knitting, painting, and sewing, but I would lose interested before finishing projects. I like paper crafting because the materials are easy to come by, and I can create something very fun before I lose interest and want to move on to another idea.

Q: What inspired you to try to decrease your reliance on mass manufactured products?

A: Studying geology and geography in college introduced me the concerns of the world - over-consumption, the affects of consumerism, the affect of certain ingredients on the environment, and the idea of peak oil and its affect on grocery prices in the future. My goal is to become a more self-reliant citizen, so that I can make environmentally friendly supplies myself, or know how to make certain foods if there are ever shortages, or prices become ridiculously high.

Q: What are you like the least about buying handmade?

A: A couple of times I have had quality issues with some items, but knowing that there is a real, single person behind the product, I know that everyone makes mistakes and I never like to leave bad feedback. I don't like hurting the feelings of business owners! I know if I ever had a "complaint" it would be meant as constructive criticism, but I know how sensitive some shop owners can be. I don't expect perfection, but sometimes when something doesn't turn out how I thought it would be... I've been bummed on an occasion or two.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for consumers who are looking to buy handmade products?

A: When I started my business, I had JUST found out about Etsy, and no one I knew personally had ever heard of it. No one I knew was selling their own creations, either. I felt like I had to find my own way through the dark when starting my business, and the more I learned, the more I enjoyed it and couldn't get enough. Any time I learn something new, or if there are tips that have helped me out, I have to share them. I feel like the handmade community is a team - we all need to help each other. The more successful one shop is, I feel the more successful the rest of us will ultimately be. I don't feel like other shops like mine are competitors, they are colleagues. If they do a good job with their product and sell well, it will only encourage more people to shop handmade.

Q: How do you find time to run your own business, manage your site, and make time for your family?

A: It's all about very careful time management. During the day when my girls are awake, that is their time with me. When they are napping, that is when I work on networking or on my blog, and at night when they are in bed, that's when I work on my shop and fill orders. My business is my hobby - it's what I do for fun, it doesn't feel like work at all. My husband has his own hobbies, and when we feel we need to spend more time together, I'm pretty good at putting the crafts away and turning off the computer. I also get some time each weekend for myself to do what I need to get done.

Indie VS Commercial brands

Q: There are a lot of handmade or indie make up brands in the community now. Have you tried any of them?

A: Yes, I tried a shop that sold mineral makeup. I was pretty impressed with the concealer, but I had a hard time matching foundation to my face.

Q: Would you prefer to purchase indie or commercial brands, and why do you prefer one over the other?

A: I know I need to give indie makeup another chance. When I run low, I tend to just pickup makeup while I'm already at the store grocery shopping. It's also hard to buy makeup online, because you can't see the shade in person or test it; however, I do believe in the makeup shops on Etsy, because I'm more willing to trust an individual that I can talk to one-on-one, rather than a big company that is in it for the profits. Lip gloss is actually the next purchase I have planned on my indie shopping list.

Thank you to Ashley for taking the time to do an interview for us!