Artfire Artisan Spotlight: Racheal A. Hels, AntoinettesRevC
Posted by pauljvguillaume on 08/19/2011 at 08:49:58
Please start by telling us a little about yourself and your studio.
I'm originally a novice costume maker who got burnt out sewing in one-too-many invisible zippers and hand-stitched hems. I was introduced to the world of indie mineral makeup through looking for bright makeup for photoshoots for my costuming. After a few bad experiences with other companies, I decided to try my hand at it. What started out as an idea back in December turned into four months of intense planning and work. Our theme of Marie Antoinette comes from my morbid fascination with the delightful historical figure that was Marie Antoinette.
If there's one thing that defines you, what is it?
I think the theme of the brand really defines me. In my life I can really identify with Marie Antoinette, especially as a moody teenager with her fair share of problems. History was a way for me to escape, and live in someone else's life for a little bit. Now I can kind of pay homage to Marie Antoinette in our theme, and we sometimes give a little history lesson in our color listings.
Where do you live and what is it like?
Right now I currently live in Nokomis, FL. I moved down here a year and a half ago to take care of my grandmother, and I have to say, I may have been terribly homesick the first few months, but I really love it down here! Five minutes away from the gorgeous beaches, and close to one of my suppliers, it's almost the perfect locale. The only downside is the humidity. It makes working with the powdered micas and oxides pretty difficult. I'm pretty sure that if you took our stock in Damp Rid, I'd be almost singlehandedly funding your dividends!
Where did you learn your medium?
Research, research, research, and a healthy dose of trial and error. There're really virtually no classes for this sort of thing, so I think I spent about 100+ hours of straight research, and slowly building up stock on supplies and such. It was about two months before I even began experimenting! I belong to a few MMU groups on Facebook, and the ladies there were really a great influence and source of information. It definitely made the process easier!
What are your goals with your ArtFire studio?
I would really just like for the studio and brand to just keep moving upward, and keep the momentum going. We've only just launched the shop, and it's really been a wonderful experience. ArtFire is really top-notch when it comes to user-friendly and customizable features. Plus I like that you only have to pay a flat fee, instead of paying through the nose per-item.
How did you come to selling online?
All indie MMU companies sell online. It's sort of the point that it's run by a single owner, or a small group. If they were to expand and sell wholesale to like Sephora or ULTA, I feel like they'd lose their personality.
How did you come to find a home on ArtFire?
Well I knew I wanted to have an actual shop, so that ruled out eBay. For me, that left ArtFire and Etsy. Etsy I had found to be far too expensive, and there were virtually no customization features. ArtFire is really nice in that you can customize the colors and listings so that it's practically like having your own website. The Pro Account is probably the second best investment I've made for my company, other than the industrial stainless steel table currently en route to my studio.
What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists?
I'm not sure if I've got good advice for artists per say, but for MMU owners, or perspective owners, I would say find a theme that you really are passionate about, and identify with. This will help keep you interested in your shop, and it'll really help your customers become invested in your brand. I hadn't realized so many people would get a kick out of our Marie Antoinette theme, but it's really amazing how many people are absolutely delighted by it.
Why do you think that buying and selling handmade products benefits society?
I think it helps keep the little guy in business. It helps keep money in the pockets of people here in America, and it definitely helps us keep in touch with humanity in this highly technological world. We as a people are becoming more sedentary, and sitting at home purchasing handmade items online doesn't help, but I find I socialize with my customers a lot more than I thought I would. Not to mention I'm running around like a mad woman preparing the product and purchasing supplies for the company.