1. Tell us about yourself. Gosh - I'm so used to telling people, "I'm an American living in Berlin, Germany, and my house is 480 square feet. The kitchen is 36." But that's not me at the moment! My husband and I are spending the summer in the US. We live in a house made out of recycled tires. We ride our bikes just about anywhere we can, fly small airplanes, eat our vegetables, and have an enormous passion for seizing life.
2. How long have you been creating things and what inspired you to begin creating things? My favorite subjects in elementary school were art and English. I was hooked to Girl Scouting - probably because of the crafts. And all of that has stuck with me; I taught art, creative writing, and pottery at Girl Scout camp for years. I'm still a writing and crafting Girl Scout!
3. What is your shop name and what do you sell? My shop name is Gadanke. Gadanke is a handmade, writing prompt journal shop. My journals are filled with inspiring and unique writing prompts, European and American papers, embellishments, and pockets to help you document life. Create the type of journal you'll treasure - whether it's about you, where you live, your vacation, or someone you love.
4. How long have you been selling online? I opened an etsy shop last summer. It was one week before I took my flight exam to be a pilot and two weeks before my husband and I moved to Germany. I was so excited and moved by this project that I just had to go for it. The timing was awful. But in my heart, I felt like I have never felt about a creative project. After wonderful feedback, I opened Gadanke in April.
5. Describe your creative process: How, when, materials, etc. I'm passionate about the environment, so I think it makes sense to use recycled materials in my journal products. As we document life, I believe with all my heart that we should also be preserving it.
6. Do you promote your shop? How? Everything is growing organically right now. People are enjoying my products, gifting them, and really just spreading the word. It's been such a blessing.
7. Do you sell your items anywhere else (such as boutiques, craft fairs, etc)? Where? I meet with my first boutique on the 29th!
8. What keeps your creative juices flowing? How or what are you inspired by? I love to walk. If given the choice in Berlin between the subway and walking to German class, I'll walk. It's so inspirational and comforting to walk. My best ideas always come when I am moving in the fresh air. My poor classmates were so confused. I'm pretty sure they were whispering when the weather was below freezing and I was walking almost two miles to class. "Is she really American? I've seen movies of Americans. And they're not like Katie... Not at all like Katie..."
Of course, I also had a classmate ask me in German, "Is your wedding ring from Tiffany's?!" (She's just seen Sex in the City in Russian.)
9. When you hit a creative wall (not feeling like creating, or what to create, etc) how do you get your creative juices flowing again? Boy I don't think I've run into this problem... and that's probably because of the constant changes in my life. It's probably not practical for me to suggest, "Move abroad!" when you feel creatively stuck. But you could change something in your routine. I'll give myself little challenges like not buying clothes or learning to cook so I can express myself in new ways. Then when I turn to something like my blog or Gadanke, my mind is bursting with all the new things I am experiencing.
11. What advice would you give to someone who is new to selling online? It is okay to be afraid. But be aware of those fears, and do your best to fight them. Our fears are like these little evil gremlins. They'll latch on wherever you let them. Sometimes resisting them is the hardest part of starting a creative business.
Blog: Making This Home
Right now, Gadanke is offering a 10% discount to their online shop. Enter coupon code LOVECREATING at checkout. Hurry! Discount ends Monday, July 19!