Our next customer spotlight is Willow Bloom Wreaths. You may have seen Shawna Liao’s wreaths when we first posted them in May. Since then, she’s expanded her Etsy shop with lots of new decor items. Thanks to Shawna for talking to us about Willow Bloom!
Can you tell me a little about Willow Bloom Wreaths?
I started in April of this year, so we’re a really new company. I’ve been a crafter for many years, knitting, sewing, quilting, beading, floral arrangements. I’ve always been drawn to those things and have taken classes in those areas, but it’s always been a hobby.
After a few stressful years at my job, I’m a scientist by training, I really found that I needed something that was more creative and stress relieving.
It just came to me one day, actually. We’d gone away on March break to visit our in-laws and I just woke up in the middle of the night and I had this idea that this is what I wanted to do. Then within two weeks I had my Etsy shop up and going, and I had made several wreaths. I ended up losing a lot of sleep over creative ideas.
The idea of rope wreaths came to me on one of those sleepless nights. I love Celtic designs and I wondered if I made the rope wreath would people be interested in those? And they have been.
So what’s your professional training as a scientist?
I’m trained in earth sciences/hydrogeology. A hydrogeologist is someone who studies the ways that groundwater moves and distributes through the soil and rock of the Earth’s crust, typically in aquifers.
You’ve added a lot of new products since you started your Etsy shop, what was the inspiration for the new items?
I think at first, I was trying different things to see what would create interest. See what things are popular on Etsy. I love home decor, but I also have an interest in celebrations like weddings and seasonal celebrations like Christmas and Thanksgiving. I think that goes hand in hand with wreaths as home decor.
What would you say is your favorite part of the process?
I pretty much like everything about it actually, but my favorite thing would be working with interesting materials. Just having at my disposal lots of really interesting natural materials like manila rope, burlap, and moss, and different materials like that.
You use moss in some of your products, how do you ship that?
I’ve made some moss wreaths. The moss is fastened very well, and the wreaths are packaged very carefully for shipping.
Do you have a favorite product right now?
Right now our customer favorite are the rope wreaths and the banners.
How long does it take to do a rope wreath?
I do the wreaths in batches of six because it saves time to do it that way. It usually takes an entire day to do those six.
What attracted you to using our rope, as opposed to a hardware or other big-box store?
First of all, I didn’t really like the quality of the rope from those other places, and I like having a few more options like the 3 strand cotton as well as all the available diametres of rope. I also didn’t find that they’re pricing wasn’t any better at the big box stores.
What was the inspiration for the name Willow Bloom?
I wanted to incorporate something that represented flowers and something that also represented other materials that could be incorporated into wreaths. Some of my wreaths are made out of willow bases, or grapevine bases.
Are you just on Etsy now, or is there anywhere else we can purchase your products?
Nothing permanent yet. I just started a collaboration with a studio that opens once a month and features work from different artisans.
Is Willow Bloom your first foray into the crafters marketplace?
It is, I’ve never had a business before. I’ve taught quilting and bead work over the years, but I haven’t actually had a business where I was selling homemade things
How did you start crafting? Was it a spur of the moment decision, or was there a relative that introduced you?
I think my first foray into crafting was probably was knitting. My aunt taught me how to knit when I was a child. She’s a wonderful knitter, so I probably spent the most time with knitting over the years. I just love working with my hands, it could be wood working, floral design. I feel like I have to work with my hands.
So your home is the kind where people say “That’s beautiful, where’d you get that?” and you reply “Oh, I made it myself”.
(Laughs) I’m embarrassed to say that, but yes.
Thanks again to Shawna for taking the time to speak with us. Check out Willow Bloom Wreaths on Etsy to see all of her wonderful products.