Meet Katie of GoodAfternoonan on Etsy
My name is Katie Noonan. For the last two years, I’ve run an Etsy shop called GoodAfternoonan where I sell pet-related handmade items. I have two hilarious ex-shelter cats who inspire me daily to help out shelters, reward pet owners, and simply experience the joy of animals.
If you visit my Etsy shop, you will read that I started GoodAfternoonan with a box of bonbons, a weekend of Arrested Development, and a polaroid of a cat. That is the story of the birth of my shop. My craft story, however, starts at a much earlier age. Crafting is woven into the speckled memories of my childhood. At nine, half-finished friendship bracelets dangled from my Keds by safety pins. At seven, I painted and sold sand dollars to neighboring vacationers in my mom’s hometown in Maine. At 18, I took my first life-drawing class. At 23, I became obsessed with binding my own books. And now, I’m dedicated to GoodAfternoonan and get to draw cats and dogs every evening.
I originally started on Etsy as a buyer after reading about it in blogs back in 2006. Obviously, because I was a creative person I imagined having an Etsy shop, but at the time I didn’t really create a product, only individual pieces of art. In 2011, I was lucky enough to become an Admin at Etsy. Every day I went to work only to be completely impressed by what Etsy sellers were achieving. Seeing the creativity and dedication of so many other people day in and day out inspired me to open GoodAfternoonan. Outside of Etsy, I also sell at craft fairs a few times a year. Selling in person gives me great immediate feedback from potential customers and helps me develop more items for GoodAfternoonan.
Currently hearing pet adoption stories inspires me. In 2014, I’m developing my pet portrait products to include more than simply custom pet portraits. I am hoping that with some stocked animal items, I’ll be able use my work to help pet rescues and shelters more easily. The transformations of my two adopted ex-feral cats, Odessa and Yanni, since their own adoptions motivates me to try to get the word out about shelters with my shop.
I rarely work in pencil and usually draw all of my pet portraits directly in ink. I don’t know if this is different than others, but this uneditable process creates a spontaneity of hand in my drawings. I also create everything, from my packaging to my buttons to my upcoming illustrated pillows, at home. Every morning, I brew a cup of coffee, surround myself with my supplies and work at my old kitchen table by the window. GoodAfternoonan is truly a cottage business in the big city.
I would have started with a base of pre-stocked items and then gone on to custom. Instead I built my name on custom pet portraits. Custom-only is a very hard business to sustain while also maintaining a full-time job. In the same vein, advice I would give to any maker looking to become a seller is don’t underestimate the value of your handmade item. Pay yourself, and pay yourself well, for the amount of time and effort that you put into your unique goods. Figuring out your pricing right, and not undercutting yourself, will serve you well in the future.
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