Featured Zibbeter - AllAboutTheButtons
This week we have another long-overdue feature for you. If there is anyone who has not yet met Barbra of All About The Buttons I will be surprised. Friendly, upbeat, helpful and of course very creative.
In Barbra’s shop you will find a wide variety of crafts but there is a singular theme going on there….look closely at each item….buttons… Barbra incorporates buttons into most of her creations.
Please enjoy the interview, leave Barbra a comment, and then use the Share Tools so others can read it, too. Please spread the Zibbet Love!
Tell us a bit about yourself?
It’s never been easy for me to ‘talk’ about me but I will answer all questions openly and honestly, maybe with TMI…too much information! My father was a leather designer and my mother sewed a great deal & had an artistic leaning. My brother tinkered and built things and still does today. He is just about ready to sell his photography work which I think is extraordinary. We were a creative bunch. I taught myself how to knit at 8 and shocked my mother and her mah jongg friends. My loving to create continued as I was an art major in college. I sold many things from cards and scarves, to posters for fraternity parties and sporting events. After college, I chose to go into elementary school teaching and did so for 33 years while still creating on the side and even in my classrooms. In 1993, I inherited my mother’s/grandmother’s cookie tin of buttons and I just sat and played and imagined and All About The Buttons was established at my kitchen table. I now have a dedicated studio. No more cleaning up just because someone wants dinner!
Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
I retired from teaching in 2002 and moved with my husband from New York to South Carolina. My son, daughter-in-law and 2 grandsons are here and I do not miss the snow and the cold at all. Being so close to them is a gift. I actually ‘work’ for my son 3 days a week. My title is “Purchasing Coordinator” which means I shop with someone else’s money…not bad! I buy everything from apples to zip drives and keep the office stocked with supplies, treats and other necessities. I love to garden and read and there’s always another book to start or a weed to pull.
What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
Three things inspire me…I love the basic supplies-buttons, yarn, paper and ribbon-which are often purchased with no goal in mind. They started out as someone else’s creations and I make them mine. I don’t make buttons, or spin yarn but taking them from a kind of raw state to a useful and beautiful item is so enjoyable. Often a material will sit for months but eventually will get used somehow. Actually, that’s not true! My button and yarn stash could keep me and several others busy for years! I also love to recycle and repurpose, whether it’s for sale or my private use. There’s a great feeling in NOT throwing something out. And finally, I am inspired by special orders. The ideas start swimming and the creative spirit of others is inspiring. A favorite special order resulted in my having 2 projects featured in a book titled, what else?, “Button!Button!”
Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?
The “can-do” attitude of my parents is still a constant in my life even though they are no longer here. They passed along the creative genes and I am blessed by that. My brother and I, although separated by great distance, have some uncanny creative connections and seek each other for ideas and suggestions. Unknown to each other, we both started making clocks at the same time and then were able to share techniques. He began taking pictures of doors and windows not knowing I have a sizable collection of the same!
What other passions do you have in your life?
The standard, pat, usual answer is family and it’s true. My son has grown into a wonderful husband, father and business owner and once again he’s my claim to fame! My husband is very supportive and I’d be lost without his help at shows. Of course, when I tell him about a show that we’ll be attending, his first concern is the availability of food concessions!
What do you like most about Zibbet?
The ease of listing, the beauty of the shops and the support of the administration attracted me to Zibbet almost 3 years ago. I’m still here for those reasons. There is an atmosphere of cooperation, warmth and knowledge that is outstanding from the administration down to the newest member. I feel I have made lifelong friendships here and I am so grateful for that.
What ‘new’ things would you like to see added to Zibbet?
The items being worked on for the re-build are going to continue to make Zibbet a premier site. Individual item and shop stats need some tweaking and I’m confident of the future.
How do you promote your work?
I joined the Facebook, blog, Pinterest and Twitter bandwagons and can’t say I would have if not for the business. I do think it’s necessary, as well as being active in the forums. It’s all about getting your name and product out there. I do know of some direct sales due to them, especially the forums. I have tried Project Wonderful many times with mixed results. It is worth a try. I also read many blogs and comment a great deal. I participate in groups like LinkedIn as well specifically to learn, not as much to promote. But the more you’re around, the more your name becomes known. I also try to be a bit of a mentor and help others. Kindness counts!
How would you recommend other Zibbeters make the most of Zibbet.com?
The ins and out with selling online can be overwhelming but the Zibbet members are so caring and knowledgeable, you should take advantage of their expertise. Sadly, many believe that all that is needed to sell online is to list your item and sit back and wait….not so! Be prepared to work harder than the effort of your creation took! Be active in the forums, the best one around. Answer inquiries in a reasonable amount of time. Help others. Do not jam your work down everyone’s throat. Ask questions, be positive and play nice!
In the future I’d like to be…
healthy, wiser and have a smaller yarn stash so I can justify shopping for more!