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Meet The Sellers Behind The Scenes: CraftMe Success Stories of Artreprenuers and Craftreprenuers

Meet the seller: Coral's Handmade Leather Goods

We would like to introduce you to Coral who specializes in stamped top quality leather belts and studded lined and stitched dog collars.
Coral has recently added extra long belts and extra large dog collars to her collection as she realizes that they are sometimes very hard to find.
Coral is always broadening the range of leather goods she makes and is very proud of her finished products. After a thorough inspection of her products, we have found them to be of outstanding quality.
You can tell they are made with a great passion so we recommend that every dog owner or anyone who is interested in really amazing handmade leather goods to contact Coral immediately. Her aim is to make the best looking and best quality leather goods on the market and we feel she is achieving this.
We asked Coral to tell us more about her passion. Enjoy your reading:

Tell us more about yourself and your creations.
My name is Coral and I live just north of Brisbane. I am married with three grown up children and two teenage grandchildren. We have two beautiful but spoiled Daschund cross dogs, one very pushy but much loved old cat, 10 birds and numerous fish.
I did a lot of crochet until arthritis affected my thumb so I needed something else to do so I took up Leather work and absolutely love it.
I am currently making plain, tooled and studded leather belts, dog collars, I Phone belt pouches, large knife pouches and cigarette lighter holders and plan to add to my list of products regularly. I have made my first handbag and am really pleased with it so I will be adding ladies handbags to my site soon.
I find doing my leatherwork very relaxing and I am proud of my finished products.
I aim to make the best looking and best quality leather goods on the market and am very happy to take orders for anything I do not have on the site whether it be a new item or a current stock item but in a different size or colour or maybe you would like to have your name tooled into the product for a very personal look or as a great gift idea for someone.

Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from the leather and the fact that I so enjoy working with it and creating something that I hope other people will love.
I look at anything leather whether it be in the shops or on the internet or perhaps someone is wearing it and I am inspired to create something different and individual.
I realize that with a side of leather and a few tools I can make a product every bit as good if not better than I see elsewhere and it will last a lot longer and be better value.

Who or what has been most influent on your craft?
My husband was always impressed with leatherwork and wanted to learn how to make whips so the fact that it is a hobby we could do together influenced me to learn but I would say YouTube has had the most influence on me with regard to my leatherwork.
When I was looking for a new hobby and considered leather work, I think I watched every how to video on YouTube.
Some were great and taught me a lot and some I have found with experience taught me what not to do but I am grateful to them all as my husband and I both love creating things with leather.

What does handmade mean to you?
To me handmade is something you have made with your hands starting with a basic product and using the tools required to complete the task.
With handmade products, no two products will ever be exactly the same as we are not machines so can make products similar but never identical and that is the beauty of having a handmade item.

How would you describe your creative process?
My creative process usually starts when I am lying in bed. I design my leatherwork in my mind before I go to sleep then when time permits, I turn it into reality.
Sometimes it takes a few nights to vision the finished product that I am happy with and sometimes I get it wrong and have to make drastic changes when I start making the item but I am my most design creative in the quiet of the night and most productive during the day.
I know what leather and accessories I have in stock to work with so that makes the creative process easier.

Apart from selling on CraftMe, what else do you do?
Apart from making my leather goods and selling them on CraftMe and a couple of other outlets I am mostly a home body who enjoys cooking, working on my computer and spending time with family and friends and of course my animals.
I am retired but feel I have never been busier and could do with more hours in the day.

What are your plans for the future?
Plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to increase my business with the help of CraftMe and to make lots of nice ladies handbags and other new products for the website.
I plan to make and put at least one new item on CraftMe every week so please return to my shop regularly to see the new additions.

Meet the seller: Elise Simone Jewellery

Elise Simone Jewellery is a cottage industry business based in Kaukapakapa just north of Auckland.
Whether you are looking for that perfect original gift for a loved one or simply treating yourself, look no further than Elise Simone Jewellery.
If you have your own idea for special jewllery design and you would like it to turn it into reality, Elise can help you. All pieces are made with high quality components which Elise sources from all corners of the globe.
Have a look at their online store on CraftMe: Elise Simone Jewellery Store; New designs are being born every day!
This is what Elise Simone, Elise Simone Jewellery Founder and Manager, has to say:

Tell us more about yourself and your creations.
I live in Kaukapakapa, just North West of Auckland, on top of a hill with my family and a few animals.
I work out of a small studio at the rear of my home, which I am currently converting into a shop. I have always been creative and I find if I take any time off and am not doing something artistic I tend to go nuts.
Throughout the years I've done painting, photography, sculpture, bookmaking, print making & book illustration amongst many crafts and when I emigrated from England to NZ almost thirteen years ago, I completed a Graphic Design degree at AUT.
I was first introduced to jewellery making just over three years ago at a staff social. I didn't expect much out of it, but after just an hour lesson I was completely hooked.
I work full time and make my jewellery in my spare time. I get so excited towards the end of the week, knowing how I intend to spend my weekend, and find I sacrifice many a lie-in so that I can rush out to my studio and get started on creating my new pieces.
It's all about passion, although a little extra income does help keep the passion going.

Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration usually comes from the beads themselves. I can spend hours trawling the internet looking at beads from all over the world. I like to find unusual beads that aren’t available in the local stores to help keep my work unique.
I don't always know how I'm going to arrange the beads when I order them, I just buy the ones that speak to me. It may be the colour, the shape, the texture or just the way the light catches them, some I see and I know I just can't live without them. When they arrive I can't wait to get into my studio, it feels like Christmas.

Who has been most influential in your craft?
I don't really spend much time looking at other peoples work.
I'd say the people who influence me most are the people who buy from me, I listen to what they say about the jewellery and look at what they get excited about.
I do enjoy the support of my family and friends and often wonder how they put up with my beading obsession.
I also subscribe to various jewellery making newsletters on the web which offer fabulous tips, amazing support from other artists and are a great way to bounce ideas off people.

What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade, to me, means an item designed by an artist, original & unique, nothing copied.
It's when you put your time, thoughts and passion into creating something.
It a part of the artist, a reflection of the creator. It's full of passion and obsession, and if you spend long enough at it, it will reveal a unique style.
It can be made in fun or in deep meditation, but it is always done with love for the medium and the process.

How would you describe your creative process?
It's mostly just what feels like playing.
I usually have no idea what I'm going to do before I step into my studio, I may know I'm running low on bracelets for example, but I usually just go through my beads to see what catches my eye that day and experiment until I'm happy with the outcome.
Sometimes I have to work at it and other times it just flows, but however it feels I'm always happy after creating something.

Apart from selling on CraftMe, what else do you do?
Apart from selling at Craft Me, I also have a stall in Craftworld in Henderson, Auckland and I sell at the odd craft market.

I tend to be very busy in the summer selling at School Gala's and Christmas fairs and I also visit peoples’ homes to do parties.
These are my favourites as usually there will be a party atmosphere and I can get to know the people who buy from me a lot better.
I encourage the people attending to bring some of their favourite clothes along so they can try the pieces on with them.

It also gives me a chance to make custom items if the ladies have something alternative in mind.

What are your plans for the future?
Plans for the future?
To have people enjoy wearing my jewellery as much as I love creating it and eventually live off my passion, so I can retire to bed every night with a smile on my face, and wake every morning with a spring in my step, knowing I get to play all day!

Meet the seller: Fantail Digital Art

The team at Fantail bring you affordable, original designs, without the designer price tag! Whether you are looking for a ready made fine art print, canvas, or wall decal for your home, Fantail team have it.
If you have your own idea and you would like them to turn it into reality, such as personalized cards, artwork and gifts or a digital scrapbook of a special event, they would love to hear from you! Fantail dedicated team can customize any design to any requirements, or start afresh with the customer ideas to create a one off outstanding piece.
Fantail Digital Art is a fun, creative way to decorate your home. All decals use quality black cast commercial vinyl, they are super easy to apply to walls, windows, doors or furniture- in fact from most smooth surfaces. All the tested samples came off painted walls with no damage or marks whatsoever after 7 months.
Have a look at their store on CraftMe: The Fantail Digital Art Store; they keep surprising with more designs every day!
This is what Pam Clarke, Fantail Digital Art Founder and Manager, has to say:

Tell us more about yourself and your creations.
I grew up in England, but now live with my family on the beautiful Hibiscus Coast where we have been for the past 10 years. Growing up I always had an interest in photography, graphic design, typography and art as a hobby.
As an adult I have continued this interest reading books and taking online classes. I have fond memories of helping my dad in his little dark room developing photographs; the magic of seeing them appear fascinated me.
My mum is very creative too, she used to sew lots of our clothes, knitted beautiful jumpers and baking bread and cakes was, and still is, a weekly event, so it was natural to follow and learn.
However I never did manage to get to grips with the knitting/crocheting and am more than happy to leave that to the experts!
Around 2004 I first discovered Photoshop, and started playing around with my own photographs and discovering the possibilities.
After encouragement from family and friends in 2009 ‘Fantail’ was born.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Often inspiration for a new design just comes from seeing a new photograph, either before or after I have taken it I instantly have an idea for it. Typography and imagery really inspire me, I love the work of David Carson, and many other graphic designers and artists.
I always admire mixed media artists work and would like to explore that idea more, my attempts so far have just ended with me covered in glue, sticky bits of fabric in my hair and an impressive mess of a creation!

Who has been most influential in your craft?
My family is always supportive and we often discuss ideas. All of the talented artists/crafters that I have met in person and online, the shared enthusiasm, encouragement and support for each other is amazing. I have also been lucky enough to travel quite a bit, so visiting other countries and gathering photographs and memories wherever we go influences the artwork that follows.

What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade to me means something unique created with love and attention to detail by a person from scratch, using their tools and skills. It is more than just the resulting item created, it is the little part of its creator that goes with it which makes it special and unique.
How would you describe your creative process?
I always have a notebook on me so that I can jot down ideas as they come to me. This often happens when I am driving, cooking dinner or drifting off to sleep! I then look through those ideas, see which grabs me that day and expand on and adapt it until I am excited about it.
At that stage I grab a coffee, browse my photographs for just the right ones, open photoshop and let the magic happen! When I get inspired and excited by an idea I have to start it then and there otherwise it’s all I can think about until I can get to it!

Apart from selling on CraftMe, what else do you do?

I design business cards, logos, brochures, stationary...
All your business needs:) and I have an ever growing range of prints, cards, wall decals and children’s artwork which I sell online, at Orewa and Milford Markets, through Photographers Gallery Hawkes Bay ( and from my ‘home studio’ which is a posh name for our spare bedroom that I have taken over!
I do personalized work with customers own photographs to create a unique and special piece of art for them.

I am also a Porse registered home educator looking after children from home where we get up to all sorts with arts and crafts too!

What are your plans for the future?
Plans for the future?
That's a hard one! I would like to build up my business of course, and continue to learn new skills and techniques.
I have several new product ideas that I would like to explore too.

Meet the seller: RJ Photo Art Cards & More

The team at RJ Photo Art Cards & More unique craft methods convert original photographs (hand made in New Zealand) into greeting cards, gift cards and notebooks. They also have a large selection of framed photographs and fridge magnets to choose from. Over the years they collected hundreds of New Zealand scenes, birds and flowers images. If you prefer something from further afield, the store team have photos from Canada, USA, Mexico, the UK, Paris, Rome, Venice, Florence, Pisa and even Dubai. Moreover, the team at RJ Photo Art Cards & More can provide answers to special orders. Recent examples include guest books and different sized cards made to order.
Their motto is simple: “If you want 'Something Special for Someone Special', then look no further. RJ Photo Art Cards & More can helps.”
This is what Ruth Jenkins, RJ Photo Art Cards Founder and Manager, has to say:

Tell us more about yourself and your creations.
My business name RJ Photo Art Cards & More comes from my name, Ruth Jenkins and my products.
I come from Vancouver's North Shore and have lived in Auckland's North Shore for the past 30 years. I started this business about three years ago because when I would give someone a card with my photo on it, they'd say "wow, those are great photos, you should sell them".
My other business was going through a bit of a slow patch and I thought "why not?" I began with photos I had taken on my overseas trips and lots of flowers in my garden etc.
I started going to a few markets and found that people really did like my photos. Shortly after that though I took a couple of years break from it because of family commitments.
Last year, I decided to start again.
By this time I had hundreds and hundreds more photos from many places in New Zealand as well as overseas. I expanded my range into photo magnets and framed photographs.
I continued to do many markets as well as thinking of new products. In December, I launched my handmade notebook range which has proved to be very popular with Kiwis as well as tourists.

Where does your inspiration come from?
I originally got my inspiration from my husband and daughter. They both like photography and were quite often tinkering with cameras.
I only really started being serious about taking photos when my daughter was in her last year of school and was spending a great deal of time on her project. I found that I liked it and managed to get some good results.
Shortly after that, my son picked up a camera and I saw a whole new world through his eyes. I never thought I would have been any good at it considering the very first picture I took when I was younger, I left the lens cap on.
I've also had disasters like not having the film wound on properly and only discovering it near the end of an overseas family holiday.
Thank goodness for digital! I guess anything is possible in this life.

How would you describe your creative process?
I do my best work when I am relaxed and don't have to produce results in a hurry. I look around me wherever I go and if I see something that catches my eye, I take a photo. My family, both here and overseas, are very patient with me.
I am constantly thinking of what would make a good photo and how can I use that photo.
My brain doesn't shut off very much.

What does handmade mean to you?
I come from a family of artists and crafters. My mother's family had to make things to earn money to live. All my life I have been surrounded by handmade things.
It has always been a part of my life and I have continued that with my family. My children still continue to make things by hand, even though they are now adults.
To me, if you make something by hand, it means so much more than going to a shop and buying something. A little part of the person who has made it goes into that item.
My sisters and mother are artists. They can paint, whereas I can't paint to save myself. I always say that the talent ran out by the fifth child, so I took up stamping and then started taking photographs.
However, not everyone has the time or the inclination to make things by hand. That is good as well, because there is a wealth of incredible talent out there, and those people sell their products.
Personally, I get great satisfaction when my customers tell me they are taking or sending my products overseas. I feel a little part of me is going there too.

Apart from selling on CraftMe, what else do you do?

Apart from selling on CraftMe, I go to various markets around Auckland. My husband is also developing our website so people can see what we have or can email me to find out more.
As I mentioned before, I also have another business, Wai Knot RJ Rubber Stamps. We make rubber stamps as well as provide supplies and accessories for art stamping and scrapbooking. That pretty well keeps me occupied most of my time.
I do try to take some time out for family and friends (not as much as I'd like to though). I am learning to speak Italian, which is a challenge in itself, but a very enjoyable one. My biggest passion is travelling.
I live to travel, so if the opportunity presents itself, I'm off!

What are your plans for the future?

Plans for the future? Well, I try not to make too many plans for the future. Of course I am working towards having very successful businesses. They don't just happen by chance.
And of course I have my diary with things that are supposed to happen and places I'm supposed to be.
But life is full of surprises, some good, some I'd much rather do without. Who knows what tomorrow brings.
I've always known my life is unusual, so I just go with the flow. My life is one big unknown journey.

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מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד ה' רֹעִי לֹא אֶחְסָר בִּנְאוֹת דֶּשֶׁא יַרְבִּיצֵנִי עַל מֵי מְנֻחוֹת יְנַהֲלֵנִי נַפְשִׁי יְשׁוֹבֵב יַנְחֵנִי בְמַעְגְּלֵי צֶדֶק לְמַעַן שְׁמוֹ גַּם כִּי אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא צַלְמָוֶת לֹא אִירָא רָע כִּי אַתָּה עִמָּדִי שִׁבְטְךָ וּמִשְׁעַנְתֶּךָ הֵמָּה יְנַחֲמֻנִי תַּעֲרֹךְ לְפָנַי שֻׁלְחָן נֶגֶד צֹרְרָי דִּשַּׁנְתָּ בַשֶּׁמֶן רֹאשִׁי כּוֹסִי רְוָיָה אַךְ טוֹב וָחֶסֶד יִרְדְּפוּנִי כָּל יְמֵי חַיָּי וְשַׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית ה' לְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים
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