Interview with Lori Koop of LoRiKooP Etsy Shop
Thanks for letting me share. I love meeting new people and promoting “handmade”. Hello everyone out there! My journey has been from business school to art school, to finally land in clay heaven. Fortunately every turn, direct or indirect, has contributed to this happy result. I love working with clay. I explore the conversation, between myself and the material. It’s never the same. Every piece has its own calling. It’s own reason for being. I just sit back sometimes in awe. It’s all about the process!
A great joy for me is traveling with others. This year I started writing UPWoRD as a place to reflect and connect. My short weekly posts are sparked by a weekly word. The results are touching hearts, bringing clarity and meaning, and helping others define their purpose. In community, we are inspired to www.moveUPWoRD.com. Please, hop aboard! It guarantees adventure!
Etsy Shop: LoRiKooP
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
Our first kitty was a handsome red tabby, “Sketch”, whom we rescued from the wild when I was in art school. It’s been about 20 years. I’ve loved many since then!
2. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
I found Etsy thru conversations with other handmakers. It was perfect, because it allowed me to show my pieces worldwide so easily and without major expense. I still love it and think it’s a fantastic venue for small handmakers. My favorite part of selling thru Etsy is meeting the buyers. The hardest part for me is shipping.
3. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
Yes, Belle’s Nest in Sierra Madre, CA and Zinnia in South Pasadena, CA. Both in Los Angeles. Both feature handmade artists.
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 have been successful with Etsy. My work takes a long time to produce. It sells pretty quick once it is posted. Quantity is what I struggle with the most, making enough. But that’s how it is with sensitive, one of a kind work. It really does take a portion of the artist’s life and embed it within. That’s why it’s so beautiful! Seth Godin featured me once on his blog. That had a huge impact! (Thanks, Seth.)
5. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
Sure. I love that exchange. Always interested in having my ceramics be used and helpful.
6. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
I met my first Ragdoll about 3 years ago. They are AMAZING animals! You’re lucky to have them in your life. Sure. If you have one you can deliver next time I make a pet bowl. I would LOVE a live model!
7. Are you a one woman show?
Yes. I am a one woman show. It’s often a juggling act, but I’m getting good… no, better at it. Trying to do everything doesn’t leave enough time in the studio. I’m in the process of looking at next year and evaluating activities. My time is best served when I’m making.
8. Do you have a blog?
I have a blog, one called UPWoRD… moveUPWoRD.com. In it, I feature a weekly word. Check it out. I love writing it. Lots of people have found it helpful. It arrives on Sunday morning, with the paper… just in your e mailbox.
9. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
Custom orders are tricky. When it’s made specifically for an individual, it is usually not recyclable. Hopefully the piece I’m replicating is one they really like. If it’s craftsmanship that’s faulty, of course, it’s returnable. These policies are explained at the shop. Thankfully this has never been an issue. Note, I am in transition, moving back to handbuilding. So, in a few months, these are the pieces I will be making exclusively. The wheel went into the garage. Just totally love the organic, irregular look and feel of handbuilding.
10. Can you share a story with us behind any of your products that you especially enjoyed working on?
Hmmm. I will say I’m most excited about the “big story”. The fact that I use words on pieces quite intuitively. And I’ve seen it happen over and over again. Someone somewhere needs that exact word, either for themselves or someone they care about. I’m happiest when I work in this free spirit-directed way, and the outcomes continue to amaze. When someone buys, I know why it was made. A happy union with me smiling in the middle.
Check out more of Lori’s work on her website.