Featured Zibbeter - GracefulWillow
This week we are truly privileged to have Cindy of Graceful Willow as our Featured Zibbeter. She has some really nice messages for everyone, so be sure to read her whole interview. I’m going to read it again and again.
Cindy lives in the beautiful tree-filled state of New Hampshire where she owned a bead store for more than 25 years. Now she creates them.
Please enjoy the interview, leave Cindy 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?
Hi my name is Cindy. I’m a 54 year old mom and grandmother. I live in rural NH in the Mount Washington Valley. I have been in the bead and craft business for over 25 years. I owned and operated my retail Bead Shop for about 20 years but I always wanted to semi retire and focus on my artistic endeavors. I opened my online shops about 2 years ago and still find online business a challenge. I knew very little about computers, but have finally mastered the basics and I’m still learning all the other aspects of selling online.
Here at Zibbet I opened Graceful Willow a bead and craft bazaar full of unique and eclectic creative products. My goal is to teach others to explore and find their “creative world”. I have been following my own advise lately. I’ve put myself “outside of the box” and its amazing how creativity just flows. My newest creative endeavor has been designing handmade beads. I have a new line of handmade paper and polymer clay beads. These have been so much fun, they are “little works of art”. I’m sure I will be in the studio all summer exploring new and exciting handmade goodies. So if you get a chance check in often to see my progress.
Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
Other than being creative I love playing and learning how to be a child again with my 3 year old grandson. He keeps me young, I’m sure the rest of you who are grandmothers understand what I mean. I love exploring flea markets, you never know I might discover something unique to use in my next creation. I love to cook, garden and hang out with my very supportive significant other and our always curious and amusing cat.
What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
Nature would be my most inspirational muse. Just about everything I see could inspire me in some way. As I get older I notice I “look” more. I see things that I never would have seen years ago. I noticed I see things in a whole new perspective. I could be at a grocery or outlet store and you see a unique color combo and “bingo” that color combo is in my next creation. Try it “look” more it works for me.
Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?
I look up to other creatives who have simplified their lives. You know when you have reached that natural rhythm where everything falls into place creatively. I still struggle with this in my life and in my creative life. I always seem to over think things always pushing and frustrating myself. Like a dog chasing its tail. Even in my designs I still try to over complicate. Sometimes simple is better. So that’s who I admire, people who just seem to “grow” with the flow.
What other passions do you have in your life?
Travel! I love getting in a car and just driving. I adore exploring quaint small towns. They inspire me and rejuvenate my soul. I would love to travel overseas someday too. The first destination would be Europe and then India.
What do you like most about Zibbet?
I love Zibbet’s clean look and its many useful features. Being able to customize your shop is a real plus. Creative people love to personalize their shops, I know I do. The merchandizing tool, used to rearrange your shop is a very important tool as well (which I don’t remember to use more). This tool helps keep your shop fresh in between listings. In my retail store every couple of months it was time to rearrange my store and bring it new life. And customers always noticed. “Oh wow, you have new stuff and your store looks so different, I love it! Also Zibbet has a great “small town” feel that I hope it never loses. That is the one feature that stands out the most and Zibbet should feel proud of that feature. You all really care about each other and that’s the best feature any marketplace could have!
What ‘new’ things would you like to see added to Zibbet?
There really are only two features I would like seeing on Zibbet. I would love to see a “favorites” or “circle” added to Zibbet. I know we have a “favorites”, but I love knowing who’s behind that favorite. I guess I like the ease of clicking a “heart” and that creative soul knows its me that favorites their item or shop. I find this is a much better “ice breaker” when networking with other creatives or even buyers. The second thing I would like to see added to Zibbet is a “collection” feature. I use these in other marketplaces and they really are a great way to promote sellers and the marketplaces. These two added features would give the kind of “feedback” necessary to nurture our businesses and creativity.
How do you promote your work?
Well this is still an ongoing process for me. I’m still learning this aspect of selling online. I add lots of info about my shops when I ship items. I don’t use standard shipping labels I always create my own and always include a web address on the label. I place business cards in the shipment and all my products are tagged with my logo, name and web address. I also include a “free gift” with every order. This is my way of saying “thank you” for shopping Graceful Willow. These little extra efforts will always make your customer feel “special” which they are. Loyalty between customer and seller is essential to a successful business.
How would you recommend other Zibbeters make the most of Zibbet.com?
Customize your shop so it represents you and what you do. Rearrange your shop often in between listings to keep it fresh. List new items often in small batches so you don’t get overwhelmed and start chasing your tail like I do (I’m still learning). Great photos are probably the most important. I’ve been working on my photos for almost a year now and finally getting closer to what I think is acceptable. My only advise is keep practicing and don’t give up on your photos, they are essential for a successful business online. My improved photos have improved my views and sales. Invest in a light box, I did and it has proven to be my most important tool for online selling. Just remember your “creation” is what needs to “pop” on the page not the prop.
In the future I’d like to be…
In the future I would like to be comfortable in my skin both personally and creatively. I’m actively trying to simplify my life and hope to grow older and wiser and be able to share that wisdom. At 54 years old I think I’m about ready to let go of the “fear” and finally spread my wings and “fly”. I hope this feature shows how much alike we all are and that “fear” only holds us back. If this has helped one person out there, then the fear of doing this feature (spilling my guts!) has been worth dealing with my silly fear of words. Thank you Zibbet for the opportunity of being featured. For the rest of my Zibbet peers be creatively blessed and thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. Best of luck to all members of Zibbet in your “creative journey”!