Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Meet STE Member Megan from "That's What She Thread"

Hooray! It seems as though spring is finally on its way here to the Burg! And right on cue with the spring, Steel Town Etsy is growing in leaps & bounds! This week we’ve got another rock’n new member to talk about – Megan from That's What She Thread:

Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
My name is Megan and I live in Pittsburgh with my fiancĂ© Nick of JetPack Agenda. We’re originally from Buffalo, NY. I went to the Art Institute here and fell in love with the city. I taught myself how to sew at a relatively young age and after much pressure from friends and family in the last few years started “That’s What She Thread”. I sell vintage-inspired aprons, dresses, bags, totes, hand-embroidered kitchen-y stuff and as of late, a few baby items.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I love hiking, cooking, baking, making home-made jam, knitting, crocheting, frequenting the library, gardening and spending time with friends. It just occurred to me that several of my answers still include creating things…

What first made you want to become an artist?
Until recently, I didn’t ever really connect my sewing with being an “artist”. It’s a really great feeling to be called that! To me it’s not something you choose to be. I just am a lousy shopper, so when it comes to birthdays and holidays my first thought generally is to make someone something. I had a few friends who were constantly telling me I should start trying to sell my stuff, so this July I gave in and started “That’s What She Thread”.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Currently, given the weather as of late, it’s this pair of slippers my sister made me as a Christmas gift. They’re hand-stitched out of upcycled sweaters that she felted in the washer. That and the super-cute business card holder my other sis crocheted for me. It really comes in handy and fits perfectly in my purse or coat pocket, wherever I go.

Name your top five places to be in the Pittsburgh area.
Frick Park – Nick and I love to pack a lunch and come out here. You can easily make a day of hiking, picnicking, and stopping at the Oakland central library on the way home!
Point Park - I love taking out-of-town friends down here on the T from Dormont, especially in the late afternoon before sunset.
Strip District – It is always bustling with people and culture and incredible smells. Also a great place to take out-of-towners, the fish market and open-air produce makes Pittsburgh feel like a big city. Not to mention the numerous different grocery stores (Asian, Mexican, etc.) make stocking up my kitchen super-easy.
Southside River Front Path – A beautiful and quiet summer walking/biking spot. Lots of off-the-path exploring to do here too.
My Backyard Garden – There is nothing better to me than to spend my day off tending to my veggies, herbs and flowers while hanging my laundry to dry in the sun and napping in the hammock.

What advice would you give to artists who are new to the Pittsburgh craft scene?
Just go for it! It took me a lot of prodding from friends to start my Etsy. I didn’t have much confidence that anyone would actually want to buy anything I made. But when I finally did, and the sales and compliments and custom orders started coming in, it’s an awesome feeling! There is a ton of people here in Pgh that respect handmades, and the support is incredible.

What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see? Etsy is so great and user-friendly! There is this awesome feature where when you list a new item you can immediately post it to your Facebook page. Once I sold an apron within 20 minutes of listing it because someone online saw the post. I also list sales I’m having on there. On the other hand I try to keep up with people “heart”-ing my items and site. Unfortunately, Etsy doesn’t offer notifications when someone has marked you or your stuff as a favorite, so every few days I go through my items manually and try to remember which hearts are new. I wrote a message to the Etsy powers-that-be but they wrote back saying it wasn’t a feature they were planning to add…

How do you promote your work?
I try to wear my stuff and carry around business cards as much as I can. I’m a little shy about self-promotion but it’s easy to work into a conversation when someone asks me where I got my super-cute apron from. I’ve had a lot of luck networking on my Facebook fan page . Recently I’ve started a MySpace page too. My boss at MexiCasa has also let Nick and I hang flyers and business cards on the bulletin boards there and we’ve been allowed to leave cards at a few other local businesses.


BarkerBell Herbs and Heirlooms said...

Great interview! I look forward to reading about other new members in the weeks to come.

Rosa said...

I would like to check out that South Side river walk! In the year we have lived in Pittsburgh I have never done anything like that.
Great interview!