Tell us who you are:
My name is Maura Cullen, I’m the owner and creator of Wooly Bits. I live in Springfield MA. I’m a member of the Esty Beagle Street Team, because my beagle grandpup was the inspiration for the current product line in my store. I have four grown children, 3 girls, 1 boy; I have 5 grandkids, 2 girls, 3 boys and two grandpups, Toby (a beautiful beagle) and Brady (a magnificent mutt).
Other than creating things for etsy, what do you do?
I work as a receptionist at a law firm and I am very involved in my local parish. I also love being a Grandma and try to get to as many soccer matches, dance competitions, basketball games and school functions as possible.
What first made you want to become an artist?
I have always loved creating. I used to do a lot of sewing growing up, making dresses for my dolls and then for myself and even my mother as I got older. I lived in Ireland for about 11 years after I got married and that is where I really discovered knitting. I would make stuffed toys and sweaters for the kids. It wasn’t until about 2 years my daughter had me make an Aran sweater for her dog that I ever really thought I could make money from my craft. Toby received so many compliments on her sweater that my daughter told me I had to go into business – she sold 16 of the sweaters at a work function and then another 7 to people that saw the sweater her dog wears.
Describe your creative process and the materials you use
I love to knit – it de-stresses me! To me there is nothing like walking into a yarn shop and seeing the vibrant colors and feeling the different textures and seeing the pieces of work these things have inspired in others. This gets my creative juices flowing. The items in my shop are all made with a yarn that is an acrylic/wool blend because you have to be able to wash a dog sweater and it has to be durable. For custom pieces I love to experiment with the many different wools that are now available on the market.
What handmade possession to you prize the most?
I can’t single out a single handmade possession that I prize the most because I have so many beautiful gifts that have been made for me by my children and grandchildren. The handmade gifts are the ones you always remember.
Top 5 websites you visit besides etsy?
Any advice you have for new etsy users
To keep plugging away. Visit as many other stores as you can and see what they are doing right so you can learn from them. Visit the forums and ask for advice. Support your fellow crafters and they will support you too.
What are your favorite features of etsy, and what new features would you like to see?
I’ve only been using Etsy for a short while, but I love the forums – I have learned so much! I literally learn something new there everyday!! I also like the Time Machine – I think it is important to see what sort of things are selling. I was recently featured in a Treasury and I’m planning to try one out for myself soon. I love etsy – it is just so much fun!
How do you promote your shop/work?
Right now, I have been doing a lot of promoting and advice seeking in the forums. I have been posting on Facebook and I have been trying to talk up my business with freiends and family. I am trying to work up to blogging and maybe even Twitter – my kids will be shocked!
In ten years, where would you like to be?
I would like to be able to retire and craft full time. I’d love to be able to watch my grandchildren grow up and participate in their lives and crave out a new life for myself in my online shop!