Spotlights & Interviews

Maria Christine of mineINtwine

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Tell us a little bit about the process for starting mineINtwine.

I have always been really creative, crafty, and passionate about making things “pretty” (whether it’s gift packaging, party/holiday/home décor, DIY projects, etc.) Last July I left my job in Human Resources (after 9 years there) in order to be a homemaker and to help my husband (who owns a small business).

Even though I wasn’t going to be “out in the work force” in the traditional sense, I knew I still wanted  something positive that I could focus my creative energy into, that I could build, that I could be challenged by, that I could be excited and motivated by… Come mid November mineINtwine had opened shop! When coming up with a name for my Etsy shop, I wanted something broad enough, but that also represented my vision. I love packaging things in twine (that was/is the unifying piece) so I came up with “mineINtwine”. To me it simply means “my creations, wrapped in twine”! (And I like the “IN” in caps because it also plays up my Indiana roots!

What are some of your favorite products to make?

Gift tags are what I gravitate to, but I really love creating in general (no matter what it is). I like making things that people can see later and smile! For example- I recently made an Easter basket tag that can also be used as a bookmark later on. I also have this amazing vintage set of stamps that my mom found me at an antique store that I love using on some of my designs (to add unique character). I like to compliment other’s already amazing visions (be the finishing touch for them)….and I also like to inspire people who just need that one piece that kicks their imagination into gear! I’d say a majority of what I make falls into the areas of gift packaging, home décor accents, baby related, wedding related, holiday celebrations….things that I’m interested in and are relevant to the stage of life that I’m currently in.

Describe your ideal work space.

There is a room in our home that started out as our “guest room” but over the years has become my craft room. I’m a total neat freak when it comes to the rest of our house, but my craft room is normally a bit of a mess (in the best way!) It is where I feel creative…happy…inspired. I have my paper cutting machine, crafting tools, more paper than I would care to admit (paper addict over here), all of my inks and stamps, ribbons….you name it! And I’m almost always sitting on the floor when I’m creating. I just feel comfortable there. My husband is constantly asking if we need to buy another desk-but I prefer to sprawl out on the floor with all of my tools and products and just get comfy.

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Do you like to listen to music when you work?  If so, what’s on your current playlist?

No I actually don’t listen to music when I’m working! I’ve never been able to! I find it really distracting for some reason! But I do love music other times and have been known to play Taylor Swift pretty loudly! Are you ever too old for Taylor Swift?! I also like Coldplay, Def Leppard, Kenny Chesney, Adele, Jon Legend….I have really random taste in music!

Are there certain companies or artists that you look to for inspiration for your products?

Etsy is filled with some incredibly talented creators/makers! I feel inspired on a daily basis by so many of them-too many to mention! I’m really interested in observing them from a business perspective (more so than their specific products). In terms of how these artists, moms, wives, students, crafters, etc. turn their hobbies into successful businesses. How they run their company, how they promote, how they partner, what types of photos they take, how they word their shop policies….those types of things! It’s important to me to build mineINtwine as a unique brand, but at the same time I think I can learn so much from those who have gone before me and have gotten it right!

What are some things you’ve learned about yourself since starting mineINtwine?

I have learned that when something means a lot to me, that I can be patient, brave, and persistent in pursuing it. Those are not areas that I necessarily always felt strong in. Going from simply “crafting” to starting an Etsy shop to sell your goods, is a bit of a personal discovery journey. There have been times that I could have thrown in the towel-but I didn’t-and looking back it makes me feel a little bit surprised (and really proud)! God has put the right people into my path at the right times when I have needed encouragement. I hope one day I can be that person for someone else who is just starting out!

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What advice would you give to women hoping to start an Etsy shop?

I’ll share what I’ve learned at this point (and disclaimer everyone-I’m still a huge work in progress)! I would say that it is a commitment if you want to give it a real go! It isn’t just about putting up the postings, so much more goes into it (the networking, the promoting, the interacting, the updating, adding new products, learning and adapting, etc). You have to love what you are doing (otherwise it is going to feel like a lot of work). Also-you have to give it time. There are a lot of really talented makers out there, so it is a somewhat saturated and competitive market. You have to just make things that you are passionate about, be adaptable, be patient. Find where your passions intersect with a demand in the  market, and then find your niche. I know-easier said than done! Like I said-I’m a work in progress! I would also encourage potential Etsy shop start ups not to underestimate the power of social media.

Before mineINtwine I had never had a social media account. I know-gasp-take it in! I’m the only person on earth who isn’t on Facebook-sorry Mark Zuckerberg! Soon after mineINtwine opened I started an Instagram account for it. I have found it to be an amazing outlet to get my story out, get my products out, connect with other makers, connect with customers, be inspired by others….I would recommend Instagram to anyone with an Etsy shop!

What is your favorite thing about being a creative woman?

Everything! Having the health, the support, the mind, the materials….. I have been so blessed with so many things that have truly enabled me to be the creative woman that I am. To be able to make things (from my brain-to my hands- to other’s lives)….it feels incredible. I literally wake up in the morning  excited about it! I wake up thinking things like “oh I need to get some jelly beans to put in my glass topiary jar as a photo prop some of my Easter tags”.

Check out Maria’s shop here.

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