Interview With Heather Hardie of Handmade by Heather Etsy Shop
Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia but now based out of Montreal, Quebec, Heather Hardie is a lifetime maker of handmade things. Aside from being a gourmet cheeseburger chef and a full time art education student, she dabbles in jewelry, knitting, sewing, drawing, baking and gardening. YesPleaseBurger, started in the winter of 2010 combines a love of animals with a love of the homemade, and seeks enjoyment out of both the cat and it’s owner.
All answers are copyright of Heather Hardie.
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
Ironically, growing up, I was a serious Dog Person. I grew up with two dogs and a pony. It wasn’t until my second year of University when I cat-sat my friend’s cat, Waffle, that I fell for the furry critters. Basically I love all animals, and as much as I yearned for a pet, I was responsible and held off until last year before adopting my own. I have to say though, I have NO regrets!
2. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
A friend of mine was a jewelry seller, and originally I made jewelry to sell on Etsy too. (heatherhardie.etsy.com) I sell handmade things to friends, and I’ve considered craft fairs, but haven’t gotten my butt in gear for that stuff yet.
Another venture I haven’t explored. I posted about my cat toys on a local message board saying I could meet up for local deliveries, but most people said they’d prefer to get them at a store on their own time. The only issue here is that stores will mark up the price quite a bit, so some people might find it costs too much for a cat toy that will (as most cat toys do), become demolished eventually.
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?
My jewelry store didn’t see much success. There is simply too much of that type of product on Etsy. The catnip burgers were unique – (though there are a few other similar products on Etsy, if you search) so once they were mentioned on Moderncat.com they basically went viral. I was running a cheeseburger sweatshop on my living room couch for weeks. Catnip cheeseburgers paid my rent for the month of February. Can’t complain!
5. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
No, they don’t, but I wish they would! I made a catnip doughnut and experimented with a catnip eggplant, but it’s definitely time for a new product.
6. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat in some way? (Had to ask.)
I had to Google Ragdoll cats to answer this question, and perhaps if I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot with one, I would! haha. (Though my pretty girl does the job nicely I must say) 🙂
7. Are you a one wo/man show?
For the most part yes. During the first few weeks after the catnip cheeseburgers took off I employed my boyfriend to help cut cheese slices and tomatoes and sew buns. He was a good sport about it!
8. Do you have a blog?
This would be an opportune moment to mention one, if I did, but I don’t. I just couldn’t picture myself blogging about cat toys alone…it’d have to be a multidisciplinary blog for sure. Check back in the future!
9. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
I am open to custom ordering, but so far I haven’t had any requests, besides “hold the mayo”. I am also open to returns but I’ve had nothing but excellent feedback! Most cats, srsly, love cheeseburgers.
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?
Doing the photo shoot with my cat and a plate of three catnip burgers was pretty funny. After trying to get at the burgers a few times and me saying, “NO, Heidi” she grudgingly settled for resting her paw on the plate…the best she could get. I’m pretty sure she ate her cheeseburger; it’s nowhere to be found!