Introduce Yourself: Hello, I am Lila Kallstrom, an artist and art teacher from Martensville, Saskatchewan. Although I have worked in many mediums, I really enjoy watercolors and producing small paintings. I began using techniques called atmospheric watercolors and was able to produce the backgrounds easily. The viewer imagines the full details of a picture, which I create from images in nature, mostly from my imagination. I then decided to mount them on paper bags as a way of getting art in the hands of the user. I found bright handmade paper bags online from Thailand. Since I have visited Thailand and wanted to help the people there, I order all my bags from this county.
I also enjoy working with wood. I have refinished wooden antique chairs for many years and re-stained the wood. Also I stain forest and nature scenes on wooden Adirondack chairs. I also have done wall murals on cedar wood panels. Nature inspires me and appears in my work or in the materials I like to work with. You will therefor find some Saskatchewan plants from my surroundings in my art, such as Saskatoon berries, or evergreen trees.
What is the name of your shop and how long have you been open? The name of my shop is The Gift of The GAB - Gift Art Bag (which is bag spelled backwards).
My Etsy shop has been open since 2012 when I originally was selling my refinished antique chairs called Rare Chairs. I later changed to selling my gift bags so renamed the shop.
How did you get started and how long have you been doing your craft? I have been doing my craft since Christmas in 2013. My first watercolors were mounted on white paper gift bags and recycled brown paper bags for a craft show. The next show was in the spring, called Collectively Green close to Earth day. At this time I decided to work with handmade paper bags instead of reusing brown paper bags.
Where can people find you online? I can be found on facebook page called Lila Kallstrom - Artist
I am also the administrator of a facebook group called The Martensville Art & Skill Collective.
What do you like about selling on Etsy? The main reason I like selling on Etsy is because I can reach foreign markets that I never would have been able to otherwise. It is easy to ship my items and I have relatives in the U.S. that I have been able to sell to. Also, Etsy is very helpful in terms of the blogs, tips and advice given. Even the idea of joining teams helps you feel supported and collaborative as a website rather than selling something all alone.
What brought me to Etsy was being invited and a general interest in handmade unique products online. I used to look on Ebay but I found Etsy much more interesting. I liked that they surveyed your interested first.
What's been your best Etsy experience? My best Etsy experience was going in a pop-up market recently in Saskatoon. Etsy Canada sponsored a radio interview of some of the sellers so I was able to do a quick demonstration of my technique on local TV. This generated interest in my art, and in the vendors at the show in general. It brought out many people to the show which was near to our local farmer's market. It was an excellent venue, and I was also close to a store which I sell my art in. The store owner was happy to support Etsy sellers, and my work, having seen the Etsy market show and all the people it brought in to the area. It was a win-win situation for the other vendors who did not know about Etsy.
Another Etsy seller also featured one of my red gift bags on a "Redy for Christmas" list. This way of featuring items together was also a great experience and brought many views to my shop.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us about your shop or yourself? I would like to add that partnering up with vendors sounds exciting to me. I think someone who is a vendor could surely use my unique gift bags. Possibly a wedding invitation or party host can use my gift bags or my art with a theme. So, I would really like to expand my shop by working with someone else.
I have enjoyed the Etsy sellers and the Etsy marketplace. It is a great way to have an online shop with lots of help in setting up an expert retail experience.