Interview with Sarah Menzies of SarahLovesCats Etsy Shop
Sarah Menzies is the author of The Purr Diaries and the creative force behind Etsy store SarahLovesCats. Sarah produces cat themed artworks and accessories with the sole intention of helping cats in shelters and is currently studying Feline Behaviour. She also has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Teaching and she lives in Sydney, Australia with her 2 cats Bosco and Oliver, and her boyfriend Dan.
Etsy Shop: SarahLovesCats
Sarah has offered the following discount coupon for FLOPPYCATS readers for 15% off in my Etsy sore: SARAHLOVESCATS15
How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
My mum says I was born loving cats! She says they used to just attract to me. And it’s the same to this day, wherever I go, a cat always seems to fine me. Before I ever owned a cat all I used to do was talk about cats and want to draw cats and have cat toys and so on. Then I got my first kitty, Misty, when I was about 3 or 4 years old. She was a completely psychotic gray Persian but I loved her!
Please describe your creative process.
I usually struggle with ideas. Actually no, I come up with a lot of ideas but usually scrap them before I finish them! I’ve always struggled to appreciate my own work, and therefore a lot go in the can before anyone ever sees them. When I create something I like however, I stick with it for quite a while and do a whole series on it. That’s what I’ve done with my Contempo Kitties and Kitty Trees. My Contempo Kitties are hand drawn on paper, then scanned, and edited in Photoshop. I’ve also started transferring them to other products such as Pocket Mirrors, journals and cards. Hopefully mugs, totes and tea towels to come! My Kitty Trees are completely hand drawn/hand made.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
I discovered Etsy when I was looking at buying some cat art for myself last year. I’ve also sold on eBay and I had a website for a while where I was selling lino cut prints for wildlife charities. I’m also currently in the process of building a new website, to tie all my cat projects together because I have a few different things going on (including studying cat behaviour!) and I’ll probably sell there too. At the moment I’m just linking to my Etsy store but the site is a work in progress. Also, I’ll be selling on Hey Kitty Kitty within the month which is exciting!
Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
Not currently but I’m looking to sell my greeting cards at my local cat shelter, Cat Protection Society, in the near future. 20% – 30% of the sale price of all of my items is donated to the Cat Protection Society – they do an amazing job and the priority with my art is to help shelter cats!
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 Etsy store is very new so I’ve only sold a couple of things at this point. Hopefully after this interview things will pick up! ;o)
I’m doing a giveaway on my own blog, The Purr Diaries, soon, and moderncat has just featured me with a giveaway so hopefully that will dive traffic to my store a little more as well. I’ll also be featured on the Catsparella blog next week, so look out for her giveaway as well!
Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
I haven’t had any suggestions from customers and admirers, only positive feedback which is so awesome! I welcome ideas and suggestions though, I love to hear from people!
Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
I love Ragdolls! However my artworks don’t really represent any breed in particular… My cats are domestic cats so whenever I think of drawing cats I think of domestics but my art is quite simplistic, so therefore just represents cats in general…
But, there is my Contemp Kitties Cat Breeds poster, which of course features a Ragdoll :o)
Are you a one wo/man show?
Sure am! It’s just me. Well apart from my cats Bosco and Oliver of course!
Do you have a blog?
I’ve had my blog, The Purr Diaries, for almost a year now and it’s become quite popular. I’ve been lucky enough to also be featured in popular and award winning blogs like Catsparella, I HAVE CAT and modcatlove. I write about anything from my own cats, to cat pop culture and fashion, to cats around the world, to cats in shelters and anything else cat related in between. I also have a Facebook page to accompany that blog, and am headed towards 1000 fans. Come on over and hit LIKE! ;o)
Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
I do customs. With my Kitty Trees people can suggest colours, patterns and the amount of cats they’d like in the tree. Or trees. And with the Contempo Kitties I can draw your cat/s from a photo and you can ask for any colour or pattern you like! And I’m also happy to accept returns.
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 volunteer at my local shelter with cats and there is one cat there currently who has been quite inspiring. Daisy the tiny Burmese was rescued from a Kitten Mill, where she lived in a dark garage, in a cage, with the sole purpose of breeding for pet shops 🙁
She was pregnant and very scared of people when she first came to the shelter, she displayed a lot of aggressive behaviours, but I persisted with her. She has since given birth to 3 lovely kittens and they’re now in foster homes but Daisy is still only progressing slowly. I refuse to give up on her though, and every time I see her I employ some of the skills I’ve learnt in studying feline behaviour, and it’s gotten to the point where within a couple of minutes of me sitting with her, she’ll come and pet me (ie. rub herself on me)! The last time I was there she even sat on my lap. I love her and hope she finds a great home where someone will be patient and understanding with her, because she really is a sweet girl. I’m currently working on an artwork inspired by her – stay tuned!