Friday, January 13, 2012

January Interview: Lily Beltek of Hearty Gift

You remember when I told you about my plans to interview interesting crafters and other fiber-addicted people in 2012? Well, here is my first! I chose Lily Beltek, the owner of Hearty Gift on Etsy, firstly because she makes fabulous knitted bags. Secondly, you can see in her shop that she makes little things with love and care and last but not least, she's has a room in her heart for needle felting like myself.

- Please tell us a bit about Heartygift and yourself!

Hello everyone! My name is Lily and I run HeartyGift shop on Etsy. I live in Moldova, a country which is not widely represented on Etsy – just a few crafters - though we have a deeply rooted national tradition of handmade crafting, especially  in sewing and knitting. My shop ehh…it totally reflects me – it’s not concentrated on one kind of craft. I started it with the felted miniature toys, felted wool jewelry and embroidered wall hangings. But to stop at one thing was not enough for me and I have recently launched a new line of knitted bags that soon became popular. Knitted bags is a common project of my mom and me.
 In my ordinary life I’m a stay at home mom of a lovely boy, missing a little the time when I worked as a travel manager and wore heels and skirt everyday!

- What inspires you?
Music and my family. I adore listening to some chill-out music or some classic rock while creating. My two great loves – my husband and 3-year-old son support me in my crafting, and bring me new visions of some items. They are such wonderful company with a lot of ideas and fun. And you know, since I fell in love with Etsy I got lots of inspiration watching the unique and beautiful creations of etsians. Surely human imagination have no limits! To create something beautiful is much more easier when you have the beauty around you.

- Can you outline your creative process?
I have no plans when creating. It’s like an insight. The idea comes to my head and I try to think it out more detailed. Sometimes it happens that the bag is knitted and I just feel that it needs something else to look more balanced, fashion and actual. The finishing sometimes takes  weeks. 

- How did you come up with your business? Was it a sudden idea that struck you or did it evolve over time?

I’ve loved handmade from the early childhood when I hand-sewed Barbie dresses and soft toys.  I got to know about Etsy from my Canadian friend a year ago. ”That’s what I need!”, I thought, since sitting with a baby at home for some years I would surely suffer from the lack of communication. Moreover the spirit of anthropology (it’s my specialty) was awaken. Firstly I take this handmade market as an opportunity to communicate with interesting people, to know about cultural traditions and to get some compliments about my crafts. The more I’m here the more I learn about running the business. 

- What is the best and worst about running your own business in this industry?

I get so many positive emotions while creating my bags, miniature toys or felting the jewelry! The best thing is the self-realization. It’s true happiness when you do what you love and it’s precious for someone else. What can be negative? I don’t know. If there is any I try to see it as experience and seek to learn something from the situation. 

 - Do you have any advice for people who wants to pursue a career in crafts?

To tell you the truth I was simply struck by all the extraordinary things that people sell. Be sure that even the most weird fantasies of yours can be precious and demanded for by someone else. Put extra effort in showing your crafts and their beauty. I would buy every item I sell and think that’s also why my customers purchase them. Create, improve, advertise - I think these three points definitely lead to success! Good luck!

Lily, thank you so much for participating. I wish you and Hearty Gift a successful year! 

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