Interview with Anastasia from Asilda Store: Life Selling on Etsy

Interview with Anastasia from Asilda Store: Life Selling on Etsy

I’m happy to introduce Anastasia from the Etsy shop Asilda Store. Anastasia’s shop is based in Playa del Rey, CA, and focuses on selling pins, patches, and stickers for photographers (especially film photographers!). Feel free to read my interview with her to get to know more about herself and her life selling on Etsy, and make sure to check out her shop!

Interview with Anastasia from Asilda Store: Life Selling on Etsy

The concept behind your shop and items is so focused and unique! Where did the idea  come from of starting a shop that sold patches, pins, and stickers for photographers? 

I got involved in a pin/patches project for a motorcycle company back in May of 2014. Then I did a trip on Route 66 and bought everything I could find along the way. I looked at all displays, all packaging, all patches and pins I could find. At that time I got the bug. After doing 6 tour patches for the motorcycle company, I got more into it and wanted to expand the lineup to more designs and more stores. That didn’t get any support, so I was sitting at home around Xmas time thinking I should just do something for myself. I knew film photographers including myself who are very passionate about the craft, so that was clearly a great starting point. I am currently selling products in 2 series, with the future plans for 2 more themes. It’s all coming up, but in a remote future. With 3 designs I launched the store and in an hour got an order for 5 items. Then more orders started to come in, and more… I think this is very much a skyrocketing business to be in right now.

Interview with Anastasia from Asilda Store: Life Selling on Etsy

Interview with Anastasia from Asilda Store: Life Selling on Etsy

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where your love for photography came from?

If you read my bio, it’s kind of a wild jungle :). Tennis player, entrepreneur, photographer, store owner, web designer, etc. I have many interests and if we’re talking about Asilda Store, it was never the main thing I always wanted to do. I see my career in photography as the focus. Just so happened that I also really like working on the business side too, and am involved with multiple companies on that end. I love doing reviews, I love working on new pins and patches…it’s just all part of a mix of who I am. I tend to mention just a few things when I meet new people because everything together becomes too much. But it feels comfortable to me to have so many interests. Asilda Store somehow combined all the things I learned from everywhere else and added up to become this awesome venture that I am very proud of.

Interview with Anastasia from Asilda Store: Life Selling on Etsy

What process do you go through to create and complete one of your patches or pins? They’re so eye-catching.

There is a lot of research and preparation involved. I start with general ideas and things I want to tell people through the phrases and designs. I look up tons of inspiration photos and pull everything I can to give to the designer. I usually work with 1-2. It’s been a challenge to find new designers to keep the volume going and stay true to how I want things to look. So there has been many times when I had to back away from working with some designers. I have a briefing document on the specifics of manufacturing of pins and patches with thread colors, guidelines on borders and coloring. Both pins and patches are pretty technical when it comes to making them, so I’m still learning what works best and what doesn’t. For a new person it’s not easy to imagine how a vector design will look as a product, so I try to train and help my designers as much as possible. I have one awesome guy who did most of what I have in store right now and he keeps getting better and better. Once the illustration is complete, which usually takes weeks before it’s looking exactly how I imagined it, I talk to the manufacturers and get the digital proof with recommended changes. After that I choose the materials and sizing and send all this off to production, which is another 3-4 weeks. It’s a long process…

Interview with Anastasia from Asilda Store: Life Selling on EtsyInterview with Anastasia from Asilda Store: Life Selling on Etsy

How has business been on Etsy? 

It’s picking up. I am doing much larger volume through the main website store (asildastore.com), but Etsy is a perfect place to capture the audience that’s craving for cool things like pins and patches. Etsy is for people who appreciate all the different crafts and that is why it’s a great place to reach many passionate enthusiasts for specific products, like mine.

Interview with Anastasia from Asilda Store: Life Selling on Etsy

Interview with Anastasia from Asilda Store: Life Selling on Etsy

Do you have any advice for the blooming creative seller?

Make and sell what you like. Also, enjoy the process of promoting your products. I’ve started a business before where I liked building the product, but not selling it and that whole things failed pretty quickly. You need to have a bit of an obsession :).

Interview with Anastasia from Asilda Store: Life Selling on Etsy

Make sure to visit Asilda Store on Etsy to get one of these awesome pins/patches/or stickers!  Anastasia also sells t-shirts.

Interview with Anastasia from Asilda Store: Life Selling on Etsy

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Recommended Reading

Etsy Excellence: The Simple Guide to Creating a Thriving Etsy Business


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Sara Schalliol-Hodge : Designer & Maker of Things

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Welcome back! Our latest feature spotlights artist Sara Schalliol-Hodge from Lakewood, Colorado! Sara is “a designer by day and a printmaker, sawdust producer, and stuff-maker by night.” Read on to get to know Sara a little better, and CLICK HERE to go to her website, and HERE to go to her Etsy shop!

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What about the printmaking process do you love the most, and more specifically, why linocuts? 

I love printmaking because I love the ability to make multiples of my art. With so many forms of fine art, you can spend many, many hours creating the finished product, only to sell it just once and never see it again. And, often art can take so many hours to create that it can be very difficult to be able to charge a decent wage for all of the time you spent on it. All of that being said, buying a computer-printed art print doesn’t really appeal to me because it seems so far from being made by hand. With printmaking, each print is still made by hand and there are subtle variations in each print, so there is definitely evidence of the maker. It is hard work printing a woodcut or linocut all my hand, and I like to think that that energy can be somehow felt when viewing these prints. For me, printmaking seems to fit into a sweet spot of being affordable but still very handmade.

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Many of your designs juxtapose the themes of nature and industry. Where do you get the inspirations for your designs and what about this juxtaposition interests you? 

Nature vs. industry, or nature vs. man are themes I explored even in the art I created very early in my life. There is something so poetic about vines growing up and taking over an old car or building. I studied Industrial Design in college, and Industrial Design tends to involve mass-production, and therefore factories. It can be really strange to think about each thing you own and imagine the factory that produced it. This type of thought process made me think about how natural things are made, which is not quite in a factory…. but what if you think of nature itself as a factory? So this lead me to prints like Factory Whale, Love Factory, Salmon Factories, etc.

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Also many of my prints display animals and “the hand of man” in one way or another. Like, quite literally in my print Spark:

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But I also like to create prints that show animals having to survive in the world that man has modified, like City Lynx:

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How has business been on Etsy and do you have any advice for blooming Etsian printmakers? 

I was a very early Etsy seller and buyer and it has been interesting seeing Etsy become a website that non-artist-type people have actually heard of and shop from. My Etsy shop has changed a lot since the beginning. I used to sell wooden sculptures, jewelry displays, and chunky wooden jewelery, and now I sell only my printmaking. I have had several great opportunities come along because of my Etsy shop. Half of the brick and mortar galleries I sell at approached me from discovering my shop on Etsy, which is awesome! These days, my sales come mostly from brick and mortar galleries, and not Etsy. For me personally, sometimes it can be hard to sift through all of the shops on Etsy to find that special thing I’m looking for, but walking into a well-curated local shop usually lightens my wallet pretty easily.

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From New Zealand to Isreal: An Interview With Artist Emily Penso

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I am honored to introduce the wonderful artist Emily Penso, who has a quite interesting life story! Emily sells her surreal and whimsical artwork in her Etsy shop, Studio Lavaan, and excitedly agreed to be interviewed on the blog!

  • Can you just tell me a little about yourself; where did you grow up, go to school, what are you up to now?

I was lucky enough to grow up in New Zealand, in the South Island city of Dunedin. It was a wonderful place to grow up and although it’s quite a cold part of the world, most of my childhood memories involve sunshine and bare feet.

I am the middle of three children, with two wonderfully loving and supportive parents  who shaped our world with a comfortable home, a love of the outdoors and an appreciation of the arts – I remember many a boring gallery trip! But although at the time I would have preferred to be playing with Barbie or some other weird toy, there was always at least one art work that would completely mesmerize me.  

 During my high school years (sweet 16) my Dad landed a job in Canberra, Australia. So my small world got bigger and we moved across the Tasman. It was a tough move for me, but character building, and definitely helped guide me into pursuing art.  I ended up studying painting at the Canberra School of Art which was just awesome and completely changed my life.  
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Now, curiously, I find myself living in Israel (which is another epic tale, but involves meeting a beautiful Israeli in India and marrying him in Cyprus). We live in a lovely village on a hill with our two completely gorgeous boys, and a white cat and a black dog. We have a small olive grove which we use for making oil, a small studio which I use for making art, and lots of little vegetable gardens. It suits us well. 

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  • Your work is so surreal and whimsical, where did the inspiration for these types of works come from? Is there anything else that inspires you, just in general?

I guess my mind has always been a bit of a peculiar place, and for as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by things that are out of the ordinary. My earliest surrealist influence almost certainly came from Rene Magritte.  My parents had a book on Magritte and throughout my childhood I loved pawing through the pages. It was entertainment that never got old, no matter how old I got, and every time I looked I would discover something new.

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Another big influence would be dreams. I am a serious dreamer – day dreams and night dreams – but I am particularly inspired by night dreams as they are totally wild, complete raw sub-consciousness, and always purely surreal.  

The world around me is also a major source of inspiration; Birds, insects, trees, people, land forms, and the interactions between everything that exists – I am constantly in awe of this world we live in. It never gets boring! It is a mysterious moving masterpiece that I love being a part of. This spiritual connection that I have with life is also a bit of an influence. It is much easier for me to articulate what it is that I feel spiritually through drawing than words.

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  •  A lot of your work looks like it has been sparked by unique ideas. What have been some your favorite ideas to explore with your art?  

  “You know, most of the time my work starts as a visual idea rather than a concept that I want to communicate (consciously anyway) but always through the process of making the work I begin to understand the symbolism of what I am drawing and mostly it’s personal feelings, thoughts, experiences. I approach my work with intuition, but execute it in a very precise way! Some of my favorite visual themes have been playing with scale relationships between figures, mirroring birds, and using clouds as a very deliberate compositional device (with meaning!)

Clouds have been popping up a lot lately and they are beginning to take the centre stage. I love clouds.

  •  Do you have any advice to artists or future artists on how to promote their work or how to approach getting their work out there? Advice in general?
 I think not being afraid of self-promotion is something that many artists need to overcome, and is definitely something that I have struggled with, and still struggle with to a degree. I guess I would advise emerging artists to think about what it is they want out of their art practice and use that goal to guide them in how they promote their work.
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In general, to get your work out there… approach galleries, apply for exhibitions, get help with submitting great proposals if necessary, collaborate with other artists, get involved in open group shows, exhibit as often as you can, enter art competitions, get the social media happening, create a website, open an Etsy store, take all the steps that you think are important for you as an artist. And of course…don’t let knock backs get you down, because they will happen, and great things will also happen!
  • Do you do anything fun/interesting in your free time? Any favorite hobbies or weekend activities?  

Wow, free time is something that is completely foreign to me! My little boys keep me very busy! But, I do manage to squeeze in a little bit of yoga and any chance I get I am in the garden.  In my down time I have been known to play ‘words with friends’ on my phone ( I’m mildly addicted). If I had more free time I would love to make pebble mosaic stepping stones, sew stuff ,and I’d also restore all the shabby vintage furniture that I have collected.

When my boys are all grown up I would like to do my masters, it’s a nice dream, and I’d love to learn more skills, like basket weaving and everything to do with textiles.

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You can also find Emily on her Facebook Fanpage: Emily Penso Fanpage 

And her website: emilypenso.com

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An Interview With Writer and Illustrator Kevin King

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Can you give me a short background of yourself? 

I don’t want to make myself out to be a special of any sort, but as far as I know, I am the only baby to have been delivered by a Pekin duck at the OB/GYN. It’s a rather remarkable story, considering hospital policies preventing animals from being in hospitals. But this duck was very career minded and a real go-getter.

I distinctly remember my first thought when I was born- “I’m not getting a job.” And I decided at that moment to become an illustrator. But becoming an illustrator right off the bat is not without obstacles; mainly the drooling and the diaper thing for the first few years. I have since overcome the drooling- it’s a problem that can easily be licked.

My childhood was quite unremarkable- I invented the color “Sleem”, which is mostly beige with cat hair. I wore plaid pants and shirts throughout the entire 5thGrade, (and was not beat up). In art class I spilled paint down the back of the pants of a fat girl with a yellow tooth, (and got beat up). And as that I am on the subject of art classes, I was quite fortunate to have a mother that was an extraordinarily talented artist. What she could not teach me, she provided private tutors, Art professors, to school me in the classical arts. Some music virtuosos are sitting at the piano bench at five tinkling out Chopin on the ivories, I was sketching still lifes of bowls of fruit. And by Providence and the talent I honed, I became an editorial cartoonist for a local newspaper when I was fourteen. This opportunity defined and shaped my future.

The next many, many years I did nothing but dedicate myself to dutifully cartooning and illustrating for panoplies of newspapers and advertising agencies. (Of course, I had bathroom breaks during that time.) One of the most important skills you learn in the newspaper and ad agency business is- meeting deadlines! Another, and if not more important skill you learn as a cartoonist is to be able to tell a joke, impart a political comment or tell a story in a single panel that can be understood by the 100,000 or more people a day who will see it.

Eventually, I became rather worn out from the industry and went on a long sabbatical. Somehow, through an odd chance meeting, I found myself in a very niche field of creating art to be sandblasted on glass that was installed in mega-yachts. After some time I grew tired, or bored of that, and decided to begin illustrating- for me; which is where I am at nowadays.

How would you describe your artwork? 

I see myself as an illustrator. And as an illustrator, I tell stories. To describe what I produce is probably best defined as a perfectionist exercise in line and negative space with bits of watercolour.

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Your work is so fantastical and full of narrative, every single piece I look at makes me want to know the story behind it. Where do your ideas and inspirations come from?  

Hypnagogia is certainly the wellspring of many of the images and characters, I am overwhelmed, deluged I reckon, with imageries and creatures that seek to be birthed by my pen the next morning. Many of the ideas are born through doodling. And as they emerge onto the parchment I begin to know their disposition and story and I am deeply compelled to tell their history. No doubt I too was deeply influenced from rich the illustrations and engravings from the scores of old children’s books I profusely read as a youth.

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Do you have any advice for aspiring illustrators or artists? 

My advice is very simple- stay away from puerile social commentary. I see so many young artists, (and too many older artists), that want to give an opinion on the “World Condition”. The only condition you should have any concern about is hair conditioner. Avoid drawing celebrities…there is only so many ways you can illustrate Marilyn Monroe or P-Diddy. And somebody has already drawn them better than you. But first, you must really know what it is you want to do with your art…your purpose behind the pen or paintbrush.

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Are you working on any upcoming projects?

I am working on a manuscript, a children’s fairy tale of sorts, which I am in long process of writing and illustrating. It has taken me a while to remember…but my “purpose behind the pen and paintbrush” is to write and illustrate my own works.

You can find Kevin hanging out at his Facebook page and his BlueCanvas portfolio.

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