I am a mother, wife, martial artist, photographer and artist. I have been involved in some sort of art since I was a child. One of my many loves as always been photography. I have been living with fibromyalgia for several years and photography has been my lifesaver as I am no longer able to continue with other mediums. I have always loved animals and they have always loved me. It was a happy surprise that I found that I could combine these two loves into one with pet photography. One of my favorite things to do is to hang out in a pet friendly place and shoot as many happy faces as I can find.
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
I have always been an animal lover. My family had a cat named Lucy who was there from the time I can remember. I have always had cats, except for the 4 years I lived in a dorm at college. As soon as I got my own apartment, I brought out my cat from California and adopted a kitten. I’ve had up to 4 cats at a time but right now, we only have one, a big orange tabby named Ronald Weasley.
2. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
I was told about Etsy by a woman who was making custom childrens’ clothing. She hired my daughter as a fit model. A the time, I was selling my cards exclusively at the Vancouver Farmers Market in Washington. I later moved to the Portland Saturday Market and sold there for a year before retiring from the weekend market business. I still do occasional weekend events, usually dog walk and Humane Society events.
3. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
I sell my cards and some of my other art at a Artisan Gallery called Mystique in the Pioneer Place Mall in downtown Portland Oregon. I also have cards for sale at a coffee house called Bella’s Garage, also in Portland.
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 would say that I have been fairly successful selling on Etsy. I don’t sell a ton of cards but my sales are fairly steady. I run two other shops as well. www.recycledarts.etsy.com is a place where my daughters sell the journals they make. They use recycled items such as old books, magazines and movie cases along with recycled paper to make some really fun books. At www.zhuzhusworld.etsy.com we sell all of the other fun things we do that we can’t fit
into the photography or recycled store. We have t-shirts that I design and print myself with dog, cat and karate designs. We also have knitted items and some fun dog and cat toys that the girls make.
5. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
I am always getting feedback about what customers would like to see on my cards. As I travel more, I am able to capture images that I can’t necessarily find in the Pacific Northwest and I am constantly looking for some of the fun things people would like to see. Panda bears, frogs and turtles are frequent requests as well as specific breeds of dogs and cats.
6. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
I would LOVE to get a good image of a Ragdoll cat. In fact, I have been lobbying to own one myself for a long time. I only adopt rescue animals and I am looking…
I take many of my cat images at a shelter and have not yet had the chance to shoot a Ragdoll.
7. Are you a one wo/man show?
I am a one woman show in that I am development, manufacturing, sales, marketing and shipping. I don’t do it all alone though. I have 2 wonderful daughters (13 and 8 years old) and they help out quite a bit. I also have an amazingly patient husband!
8. Do you have a blog?
I do have a blog but I am embarrassed to say that I rarely write on it. I have recently started a Facebook page to support all of my artwork and I do run specials through there.
9. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
I am more than happy to take custom orders. I frequently make multiple cards with the same image or enlargements up to 16×20. I do not take returns on custom work as I have to pay my printer up front for enlargements. I am more than happy to replace images that have been damaged and returned to me and I will take returns on cards, although I have never had to.
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?
Most of my cat images were taken at a private shelter in West Linn Oregon called PAWS. Cats can be difficult to photograph and I love that I can go into the shelter and take photos of many different cats in their “home” environment. I am extremely thankful to the owner of the shelter and I like to support her however I can. Please, if you are in Oregon or SW Washington, check out PAWS for your next kitty. Otherwise a breed specific rescue or your local shelter can help you to find your perfect little ball of love.