Renaissance M. Austin is multi talented. She has an amazing sense of style and lovely (Blue) hair ans started crochet at a young age.
Reminds me of someone ...
She has kindly accepted to answer some questions for us.
- How did you get started ?
My crochet beginnings started when I was 8 years old. My grandmother taught me the beautiful craft and from then, I took it and ran with it. I crocheted throughout my schools, doing it because I simply loved it. I didn't crochet much throughout my high school years. But in the year 2000 I picked up the crochet hook again when I was in a store called J.Crew and I saw these crocheted head ties that sort of looked like bonnets and I said to myself, "I can make this!". From that point on I started making head ties and selling them at different fairs and marketplaces. That was my true entrance into the world of crafting. It's amazing how I went from that one product into everything I have now.
- Where are you from?
I am from Los Angeles although I am often thought to be from the South, Jamaica, Nigeria, or London. I think the London thing has to do with how I dress! lol.
- Are your creations limited editions or unique?
Some items are definitely limited. There are a few designs that I've just stop making, not for any particular reason. I believe I am always thing of something new and fresh to make while leaving the old behind. Majority of my designs I would say are unique as well.
- How long have you been doing it?
I've been running my business since 2000. It's been an awesome journey.
- Are you a professional artist or is this a hobby?
Definitely a professional artist. All that I do is for the purpose of my life. My art, breathing, and living is all for me to share with others. I know that I am hear to inspire through what I do!
- What inspires you?
Speaking of inspiration. Beauty really, really inspires me. Beauty in a certain fiber yarn, in photography, in a painting, in music, the pure and kind hearts of people, beautiful women are all very inspiring. Fashion magazine are wonderfully inspiring and Love above all is highly inspiring, especially being in and out of love...
- What is your favorite piece (that you still have for sale) and why?
I would say the body knits because I truly love them, but I would have to be final with the wooden bracelets. I am a huge fan of wood, especially the chunky ones. I love the way they look on my arms when I stack them and I love how they make me feel. I am truly one with natural materials like wood. I feel smooth and bold just like them.
- How do you promote your work?
I promote mostly on etsy by staying visual as much as I can in the treasuries, chat rooms, virtual labs, the forums, and The Storque. Second is my blog. I try to filter everything through my blog as much as possible because it is home base really. That is where the videos, article, the fun, and life of my handmade brand happen. Thirdly I use twitter. I really like being involved with multiple conversations. I tweet everything that I do from my blog and from etsy. I love myspace as well. Myspace comments are a really great tool.
- Where are you showing your work?
Right now I am showing my work in Upland at the 2nd Street marketplace. It's a weekly marketplace.
- What is your favorite material?
Definitely wood and cotton yarn. I really love cotton. It is very cool in the summer.
- favorite food ?
I really love Japanese cuisine with a passion. Then next, I love veggies and fruits. I am a very simple eater. I am not very small, but I don't eat much. I just love making my own smoothies and snaking on nuts and dry healthy snack.
- What advice you wish someone had told you when you started?
Hmmm... this is a good one. I wish that I had know to research more. R&D are the most important element to a business. More research in the beginning would have been more helpful to me.
- Do you have any advice for fellow artists?
Sure! First believe in yourself and your craft. Negativity gets you nowhere. You have to have faith and be positive and see things the way you visualize them and not the way that they really are. Research, research, research everything! I can't stress that enough. Know your brand, other brands, your competition, and all of the marketing and promoting outlets and objectives. Also remember that when you open an etsy shop, you become a business, which means sales aren't just going to happen. You have to go out and get those sales by being visual. Lastly, it is hard work! Know that from the start and take the best photos you can take. I happened to already be a photographer. Study photography as much as you can. It is key to selling online.
- Anything else you'd like to add?
Business should be unselfish. When you are unselfish you get more in return. It's the principle of giving. I really believe in it. Have masterful knowledge about your craft. When I am at craft shows, people's faces just light up when I start showing them my etsy shop on my laptop and talking about yarn and different fibers. They can see that I am passionate and knowledgeable about what I do and it puts a smile on their faces!
- Do you make anything else that you keep just for you?
Yes, I do now. At first I would never make anything for myself, but I had to remember that I am the walking advertisement of my brand. So I make sure that I make a few things for myself to wear. I a couple of my own body knits and crocheted skirts, hats, and head pieces...
- Her site - raghousenternational.etsy.com
- Her blog - http://artfulchatterbyrenaissance.blogspot.com/
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