Interview With Karin Lauria of Simply Cute By Karin Etsy Shop
Karin Lauria is a Massachusetts-based artist who lives with two Labrador retrievers, one sassy cat, and a loving boyfriend. By day, she is a marketing writer. In the evening, she likes to create cute stuff and watch re-runs of Star Trek Next Generation. Her favorite food is popcorn, her favorite beverage is coffee, and her favorite color is red.
Etsy shop: Simply Cute by Karin
All answers are copyright of Karin Lauria.
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
I was a teenager when my family got our first cat. She had a litter of kittens, and we kept most of them. However, I was too involved with my own teen angst to pay much attention. I really fell in love with cats about 4 and half years ago, when my boyfriend and I moved in together. He had two cats. I had two big dogs, so we had a bit of work to do to blend our animal families. But I fell in love with his kitties. We lost one of them a year ago—she was very sick. We were devastated by it. Now we have our one, beautiful kitty, who is very sweet and loving.
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2. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
I discovered Etsy about a year ago when my kitty died. I was searching for a locket to hold some of her fur, and came across Etsy then. I rediscovered it a few months ago when the New York Times ran an article about successful Etsy sellers. I thought I’d give it a try.
3. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
Yes. I sell some of my prints at the Post Road Art Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts. It’s a wonderful store with beautiful art and other handmade items.
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 just opened my shop in January 2010. I’ve had several sales, but I’ve worked hard for almost all of them. I use Facebook and my blog, I’ve advertised on Craftcult, I spend a fair amount of time in the Etsy forums, and I tell everyone I know about Etsy and my shop. I’m hoping to eventually see a few more “out of the blue” sales.
5. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
Yes. I’ve had many people suggest that I sell cards. I’ve started doing that. It’s been a slow start, but I’ll keep trying.
6. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
I have not featured one, but I would love to draw one!
7. Are you a one wo/man show?
Oh yes! I get a lot of loving support from my boyfriend, but I do it all. Little by little, I’m learning to run a small business.
8. Do you have a blog?
Yes. My blog is called Gospel of Karin (http://gospelofkarin.wordpress.com). I started it as a project for a class I took while I was earning my master’s degree in theology. It was once focused on theological topics, but now it’s all about art.
9. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
I don’t do custom work, but I will accept returns if someone really doesn’t like what they bought.
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?
One of my prints, listed as “Girl and Stray Cat” in my shop, is based on two stories. The first is my boyfriend’s story of meeting his cat, Delilah (the one we lost last year). She was a feral cat who used to hang out outside of his apartment and would spend time with him now and then, never getting too close. One clear evening, he decided to sleep out on his deck. During the night, she snuck into his sleeping bag and snuggled up next to him. They were together from that night until she died.
The other story belongs to my neighbors, who have five cats of their own, and who will take care of pretty much any cat who comes around. They have a side porch on their house where the cats hang out and come in and out of the kitchen. Their house is very colorful and cute. So in my drawing, the kitty is Delilah, the porch is based on my neighbor’s house, and the spirit of the image is inspired by both stories. Kitties discover and adopt us, and our hearts belong to them from that day forward.