Hi! My name is Becca Kacanda and I am the creator behind the shop Ultra Terrestrial. At this time I’m making mostly jewelry, mostly out of shrinky dinks. I do hope to include other types of items soon, like paper goods and art work. I grew up half in Queens, New York and suburban central Florida and then moved back to New York for college to study graphic design . A year or so after graduation me and my boyfriend decided to move to his hometown in Iowa. This is now our third year here. It’s nice to live in a place in which my surroundings don’t have such a huge impact on my daily life. Living in a less hectic town has done wonders to enable me to focus on my work, although I definitely miss the city at times. I’ve always wanted to have the time to just work on my own projects and see what happens.
Etsy Shop: Ultra Terrestrial
How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
I’ve always been interested in cats. It was never a question. Unfortunately I was never allowed to have a kitten growing up which felt so cruel to me at the time! I longed to have a kitty of my own in which to devote all my love and affection. Luckily I did have some friends who were allowed to have cats and we spent a lot of time playing/torturing them (not sure they enjoyed being dressed up with doll clothes and decorated with stickers…eep. I still have some scars from the cat scratches I got from some of those mischievous activities). However when I was in college and living in Brooklyn I did adopt a pretty calico kitten from a couple in Coney Island. I was 19 when I got her. I named her Seagrape. She was a really playful, boisterous cat and loved being handled, which was fun. When I moved from NY a few years later I couldn’t take her with me so my friend adopted her. Right now the only reason I don’t have a cat is that it’s very difficult to have a cat when there’s art projects happening all around my apartment that cannot be disrupted. I do feel cat-deprived.
Please describe your creative process.
My creative process usually starts with finding inspiration through books, videos, and the the internet at large. I spend a lot of time looking at blogs, flickr, and tumblr. I watch a lot of interviews and documentaries which inspire creation in general. Even though I try to keep an eye on popular trends I prefer finding source material that’s unusual, so I often dig through old books. Some favorite sources of inspiration are early 20th century advertising trademarks, russian circus posters, and outsider art. I often end up doodling in my sketchbook with words and images that capture my attention, and then turn my favorites into a finished design . I love the aesthetic of doodles or “naive” art styles- things that are quite graphic and colorful and aren’t trying to look realistic. I also share ideas and collaborate with my boyfriend, Victor Cayro quite a bit. Although I generally have to be alone to really get in the zone- I usually light a candle or incense, drink coffee, and play music.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
I was originally told about etsy through a really awesome professor I had at art school. The class was about “kitsch” and
obviously, etsy is a great source for kitschy things and beyond. I have considered other ways of selling and have prints and hand-drawn t-shirts in person at art fairs, which is certainly a lot of work. I’ve also sold things through stores on occasion.
Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
Right now I have some jewelry pieces up at a vintage store , Black Cat Vintage in Dubuque, Iowa. It’s the only store of it’s kind in this area, although as I make more I hope to get more pieces out to stores in other nearby cities and hopefully, in other parts of the country.
Have you been successful at selling your products on Etsy? Have you always been successful, or did you end up getting a lot
more traffic after being featured on a specific blog?
Well, my shop is brand new and literally just had it’s first couple of sales, so it’s too early to tell.
Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
I can’t answer that yet, but I hope so! I do plan on having listings for customizable items soon.
Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
Well, that’s an idea…especially If I decide to make small stuffed animals. Of course I’ll have to make it extra floppy.
Are you a one wo/man show?
Yes. I make and design everything myself, although I have some products in the works that incorporate my boyfriend’s illustrations.
Do you have a blog? Yes!
I loooove blogs. I started mine this year, it’s www.utbk.wordpress.com
Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
Haven’t done customer ordering yet but I am open to requests at this time. I hope I don’t need to deal with too many returns, but if it’s a reasonable situation I will do whatever I can to make my customer happy with his/her purchase and refund or replace if it is defective.
Can you share a story with us behind any of your products that you especially enjoyed working on? Maybe because of the story behind the kitty?
Well I have to say I am enamored with shrinky dinks. It’s such a fun, easy to use material with great results. My Kitty Face necklaces actually stemmed from a different design originally, and I was annoyed with how the pendant kept flipping over when it was worn. So I decided to do something different with the chains, and the result ended up looking like cat ears. Obviously, I had to make a cat necklace! The Cat Chandelier earrings are also very flattering and I think would be a great gift for any cat-loving friends.