Hi! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. My family and I had a sweet time with loved ones yesterday and I hope you did too. Today is, of course, black Friday, and I'm sure many of you have already been out to the stores and back by now. I tend to be more of an online shopper these days, so for those of you who like the idea of sitting in a cozy chair, sipping coffee and getting your shopping done with just a few clicks, I'm here for ya! This is the first post in a new series I'll be writing over the next few weeks featuring the creators of unique handcrafted items that, of course, would make excellent gifts this Christmas.
My first guest is Melanie, from San Marcos, Texas. Melanie is the owner of an Etsy shop called What The Shell?. She opened her Etsy shop in 2017 and frequently appears at local craft/gun shows. All of the items featured in her shop are handcrafted by her. Let's find out more about Melanie!
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I was born in Fremont California and grew up in Sacramento. In 2004, I moved to Austin, Texas and haven't looked back! I love the 2nd amendment, gun-loving, pistol toting folks around here!
Do you have another job besides your home business?
Yes - I work for the Austin Police Department and supervise our warrant division.
Do you have any hobbies?
Crafting for sure! In addition to making shotgun shell and other items from spent ammunition, I make wreaths as well - and yes, some are made from shotgun shells! I also make commemorative wreaths for police departments of fallen officers.
When did you start your home business?
I started making wreaths for friends in December 2015. It was doing well, but I noticed at craft shows women would come in and look at wreaths while their significant other impatiently tapped their foot outside my tent. Women would leave the booth to tend to their significant other, so I thought...."maybe I should start making something that would attract males as well?". I made my first wreath out of shotgun shells in a couple different styles, some mirrors, and an American flag and displayed them at Hutto Christmas Fair in December of 2017. The guys would flock to my booth to look at the shotgun stuff, while women shopped my wreaths. Eventually, the wreaths faded out and while I make those by custom order only now, the shotgun items are my main craft item.
What was the very first item you sold?
The very first shotgun item I sold was the shotgun wreath with red shells that says "Welcome". Nothing says welcome to my home like a bunch of empty 12 gauge rounds - keeps solicitors away too!
Where can people find your items besides Etsy?
My facebook business page is www.facebook.com/whattheshelltx.
Any upcoming craft fairs/gun shows customers could attend to see your items in person?
Yes! I will be at Hutto Christmas Fair on December 8th and Georgetown Market Days December 15th.
What is your best seller at craft shows?
Definitely the coasters sets, no soliciting signs, and military plaques (which I am a licensed dealer for).
Any promotions going on right now or in the near future?
I do have some promotions going on. Go to my Facebook page, like it, and receive one entry into a drawing for a set of coasters. In addition, if you share my page, you will receive another entry. And third, if your friends like my page and mention your name, you will both receive entries. Drawing will be held on December 7 and two winners will be selected.
Side note - I do a lot of custom orders as well. If someone is looking for something special, they can contact me to discuss. My items on my Etsy store are currently what I have for sale, but the items on my Facebook page are everything I have created. Small Business Saturday is this weekend as well and I will give a 15% discount to anyone who orders and pays for their order
Lastly, any fond Christmas memories/traditions?
Spending time with family. As a child, it was always about all the gifts under grandma's tree. As an adult, I find so much joy in watching my niece enjoy gifts from Santa and leaving carrots out for the reindeer. Since I do not get to visit my family that often, any time that I am able to spend with them I cherish the most.
Well thank you so much, Melanie, for taking the time to introduce yourself to my audience! I think your products are wonderful and I wish you all the best as you continue to grow your business.
I hope you will head on over to Melanie's facebook page and enter her contest and then to her Etsy Shop to purchase a one of a kind gift this Christmas. ;)
on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/GCCginascraftcorner