Interview With Becca Of PurrPrints Etsy Shop
Becca (a.k.a. PurrPrints) is a Composition instructor, writer, artist, graduating-in-May-with-a-PhD-graduate student, and roomie four cats, one African Grey parrot, and one delightful husband. She draws, paints, sculpts, crochets, and generally gets crafty with anything else she can find. She also runs EtsyGiveaways.com, her PurrPrints blog, and shops on Etsy, Zazzle, and CafePress.
Etsy Shop: PurrPrints
All answers are copyright of Becca
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
I was around kitties even before I was born. I think what truly cemented my love of cats, though, was the cat who watched over me as an infant–his name was Russ. Apparently he followed me everywhere and was a kind of “guard cat”. Many of the pictures of me as an infant show him either in the background or curled up next to me.
2. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
I discovered Etsy through one of the big sellers on the site, The Black Apple–I first came in as a buyer, then realized I wanted to sell stuff to at least try
to cover the expenses of my buying habits – lol. I also sell my work on
cafepress and zazzle–I particularly like the latter, because it allows me to
sell larger archival-quality prints than what I can make at home. You can find links to all my stores from PurrPrints.com
3. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
Sometimes. I’ve also done some wholesale orders to stores further away in KY and in TN. I like wholesaling–big orders require lots of crafting and no picture taking–my favorite combo 🙂
4. 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?
I don’t promote my Etsy shop as heavily as I might because I’m super busy with my non-PurrPrints work too, so I’m probably not as successful there as I could be if I pushed my promotion more. I’ve gotten sales most commonly just from listing things and being found by someone searching for cat art. I’ve also gotten sales from twitter, my blog, giveaways (especially one hosted on moderncat.net), features on other blogs, and word-of-mouth from satisfied customers (which is the most satisfying form of marketing success!)
5. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
In a way–I’ve done several custom orders, where people send me pictures of their cats and point out favorite design styles and I then create a custom piece of art just for them. Sabrina and Friends started out as a custom order, and ended up becoming my most popular piece (and my logo) after so many people commented on it.
6. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
I LOVE Ragdoll cats. I wish I had one, but all my cats come to me by
accident–that’s kind of my policy for cat adoption. I secretly hope a Ragdoll
kitty somehow finds its way into my home someday though. As far as featuring one, my drawing Floppy Cat, although not fuzzy like most Ragdolls, captures the Ragdoll spirit.
7. Are you a one wo/man show?
Pretty much. Sometimes my husband helps me if I major guilt-trip him into taking photos (he’s a professional photographer), but usually I do everything on my own.
8. Do you have a blog?
Yep, though I go in starts and stops with posting – sometimes every other day, sometimes a week or two between posts. But I love it – I co created it with a wonderful blog designer – you can see it at purrprints.blogspot.com
9. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
I do custom orders, and I provide multi-stage digital proofs so that people have input into every stage of the process. That way there isn’t any concern about returns by the time we get to the end. I also insure original items when I ship them so that their cost is covered should they get damaged in shipping. As far as returns for just not liking something, I’ve never had that come up–I’m really not sure how I would handle that, to be honest.
10. 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?
The piece I mentioned before, Sabrina and Friends, was a delight to work on. I got to hear all these wonderful stories about the client’s kitties–she had 7 of them, one who had recently passed away, and she wanted this piece as a celebration of all the cats she and her husband cared for to give to him as an anniversary gift. Getting to see the pictures of their kitties and hear about their personalities was so wonderful, and hearing from her that I managed to capture each of their personalities in recognizable ways in the piece was even more rewarding.