Interview with Cat Albaugh of Sacred Cat Studio Etsy Shop
I have been an Artist/crafter since I was in first grade. My mom showed me my school papers where you were suppose to draw five birds to learn counting. Well, by birds were flying, sitting in trees, pulling worms out of the ground, LOL! Don't know what my teacher thought about that. Creating is so much a part of me that I have to create or go crazy. I am sure others will know exactly what I mean. I started out with drawing, then painting, then beading with seed beads. About 7 years ago I got into other forms of jewelry making and polymer clay. Then I discovered Needle Felting and never looked back. I still create with polymer clay and do seed beading, but I have gotten out of the other forms of jewelry making. Just so many people out there dong it nad my jewelry never did sell very well. I love animals, so it was only natural that a lot of my artwork was animals, especially cats which are one of my foavorites, along with wolves and ferrets. Not only do I have to create, but I have to have animal friends in my life. My furbabies are a very important part of me. I have had dogs, cats, ferrets and a calf over my many years.
My best sellers in my shows and my Etsy store are my needle felted catnip balls and mice. My cats are my testers and they have given their paw of approval.
Etsy Shop: SACRED CAT STUDIO
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
I have always loved animals and cats are one of my favorites. I got my first cat when I was in 7th Grade. We named her Bitsy because she was a little bit of every color. There is nothing like holding a purring bundle of fur and having then look up at you with adoring eyes. I have had many cats over the years but my most memorable one was Mistletoes, a big 18 lb polydactyl cat that was my companion and best friend for a long time. Right now I have two cats, Sammy and Isis, but unfortunately I have to give them up because of my husbands allergies and asthma. I am hoping once we make our move in about a month, I will be able to have a couple outdoor cats.
2. Please describe your creative process.
I work with wool and clay. Honestly, I just start forming them with an animal in mind, and let the critter emerge as to what it wants to look like. Sometimes I have a specific look in mind, but usually not. I love working with clay and wool because both are so forgiving and you can correct mistakes very easily. I also like to draw and paint. I think it is so cool to be able to take wool and sculpt it into a 3D creation.
3. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
I heard about Etsy from some friends on one of my Yahoo groups. I have sold my crafts at craft shows and fiber festivals. I have done okay, but you can reach a bigger audience through Etsy and reach people all around the world. I have also tried selling on eBay, but never could get what my product was worth. I like that on Etsy you set a price and that is what it sells for.
4. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
Not locally, but I do have a few items in a store in West Milton, Ohio. I do need to send some more items to them, because they are pretty low on my things right now. The store is called Really Cool Stuff. Once we move to WV, I may see if I can find a store there to carry some of my items.
5. 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 have done okay on Etsy. I have sold more there then any place else, but sales are a bit erratic at times. I have not been featured in a blog yet, so this is a first for me and I am very grateful to Jennifer for this opportunity. I will have to get busy and make more critters in case this makes sales skyrocket. One can hope! LOL!
6. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
I have not had that happen yet, but I am always open to suggestions. It would be nice to know what people are looking for. I usually make things because I like them, but would love to also make things because I know others will like them. I love being creative and learning new ways to do so.
7. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
Well, not specifically, but I have been wanting to try to do all the breeds of cats, so a Ragdoll would be included. I love that breed, unfortunately, because of my husbands allergies, Long haired cats were a definite no no. Maybe I will start with the Ragdoll breed.
8. Are you a one wo/man show?
Yes. I live in the country in an area where there does not seem to be any crafters, at least not that I could find. And my husband is definitely not into crafts IN fact, I rarely ask him what he thinks of my creations. I usually just get an "It's okay". Once we move, I will be even more isolated, and hopefully will have more time to create.
9. Do you have a blog?
I do, although I do not keep up on it the way I should and I will make that my New Year's Resolution. It is at http://sacredcatstudio.blogspot.com/ At first I used it for everything, but then I changed it to be for my crafts only. I have a separate blog for my everyday life stuff, shich I also do not keep up on.
10. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don't care for it?
Yes I do custom orders, and have done several. And yes, someone can return an item they don't care for. I want my items to sell because they draw a person to them. If once they get the item the draw is not there, they can send it back.
11. 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?
I would have to say that would be my "Best little Catnip Ball Ever" and my "Best Little Catnip mice Ever". I wanted a catnip toy that would hold up to my cats play. It seemed whenever I bought one, they would have it torn open within a few hours. When I learned needle felting, I deceded to make my cats catnip toys myself. They are layered with catnip throughout, and my cts went crazy for them. They are still playing with the ones I made them 5 years ago. They get fuzzy with play, but they seem to like them just as much then. These have become my best sellers, and I even have repeat customers on them. I had one lady ordered a dozen to put on the tables at a friends wedding reception. They take a while to felt, but knowing how much enjoyment a cat is going to get from them makes me feel good.