Katia Tsvetkova owner of Lights Out Go Bed makes sleep masks with a variety of patterned fun fabrics. Her adventures in sewing began about 6 years ago when she learnt to sew to make clothes for herself.
SFEtsy: Tell us about your creative process, where do you begin and how does it evolve?
Katia: I begin with the fabric. Picking it is both easy and hard. Easy because it's fun, but hard because I need to make sure they coordinate. Then it's making sure I have all the pieces (front, back, felt, inside muslin, elastic) and then cutting them all out, pinning together, sewing, clipping the seams, and then top stitching after turning right side out.
SFEtsy: What inspires your creations?
Katia: I love sleep. LOVE IT! But it's hard to sleep when the light is. With my husband and I have different schedules, he goes to bed a lot later than me. So I need a sleep mask. I figured I can't be the only one. Especially in a city where people have roommates, go out party, work multiple shifts and jobs and need to get reliable sleep in between.
SFEtsy: What's your work schedule / routine like?
Katia: I have a full time job. I do work on my sleep masks during lunch sometimes, and then I'll go to Sips n' Sews (a sewing studio in San Francisco) and chill out there in the evenings a few times a week and on weekends to work on these.
SFEtsy: Tell us about your work space - where do you create?
Katia: I mainly now create at Sips n' Sews. They have the space that I need, the machines that I love, and a plethora of threads that I can use. It's a great space. And the people there are awesome. So, good work, good tea, and good company.
SFEtsy: What tools do you use that are absolutely essential and makes a huge difference in your day to day process?
Katia: Canva and Paint.net are my #1 electronic tools for editing and publishing. Other than that, I need to have the materials I need to make it: sewing machine, thread, pins, good scissors, felt, and awesome fabric.
SFEtsy: How did you get involved with Etsy?
Katia: I got involved after I decided to make the masks for sale, instead of just for myself. Mainly because I had leftover fabric from a project, and needed to use it. I only have so many people to give these out to as gifts.
SFEtsy: What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?
Katia: Marketing myself was/is the hardest part. I set up the shop, and had nothing ready for it. But now my selection is growing, and I'm learning as I go.
SFEtsy: What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
Katia: I love the gray cats. I have this sleep mask for myself, and made some for friends.
SFEtsy: What has been your biggest success and/or proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
Katia: Learning shipping...no, seriously. That's my proudest moment.
SFEtsy: What are your favorite tools or apps that help you with your business?
Katia: Canva, Paint.net, and Instagram.
SFEtsy: Share with us one lesson you have learned as an online seller.
Katia: Photography is brutal. I'm glad I have a good camera, and the space to take photos (and play around with them), because getting the perfect 5 shots is a PITA. But it's so crucial! Also, the photo viewer on your PC does not show the proper coloring of your photos (for me it's a lot yellower), and you need to use a different program to see the true colors.
SFEtsy: What does buying and selling local handmade mean to you? Or Why should people support small business and handmade?
Katia: I appreciate the time people took to make something, especially something useful and fun. It's different, it's not mass produced, and in some cases, it's one of a kind.
SFEtsy: What skill or craft would you also like to become more proficient at and why?
Katia: For sewing, it's the goal of the perfect pant fit. Professionally, writing the perfect copy.
SFEtsy: As makers we all suffer from creative blocks - what do you do to unblock to let your creativity flow?
Katia: The funny thing is, the sleep masks are my process to keep my creativity flowing. They're relatively quick to make, and keep me sewing. Then when I get into the mood of sewing some wardrobe items, I can quickly transition into that.
SFEtsy: Tell us about your first sale ever?
Katia: It was completely organic. A complete stranger bought one of the masks, and I was soooo excited! But then came the realization of "well, what do I ship this in?"
SFEtsy: What does the future hold for your Etsy Shop and you personally as a maker or small business?:
Katia: I'm really not sure yet. I need to read up about how to properly go about opening this business so that I can do wholesale, and then aggressively market myself. Or I may not. It's still up in the air.
Katia personally donates to the Marine Mammal Center and supports what they do.
Katia also accepts custom orders, but the delivery timeline of that will depend on how soon she can find the fabric for the theme that has been requested.
You can find out more about Lights Out Go Bed at:
Crafturday was started by Vanessa Aristide during her college days. Her favorite days were ones spent outside, on the lawn at UCSB, creating in the sun. Hours of endless creativity, which usually fell on Saturdays, were affectionately dubbed “Crafturdays” by her boyfriend. She was born in New York, grew up in Idaho, lived in a couple cities in Northern California (including San Francisco and currently Los Gatos), and studied abroad in Paris!
Years later, fringe, dyes and crystals have become her expressions and obsessions. Her hope is to bring beauty into your life, starting with your home.
SFEtsy: Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?
Vanessa: I started making fringe jewelry about 2 years ago. Besides being a classic bohemian staple, I love the way fringe swings back and forth while dancing. I started with armlets (dubbed "fringlets") after becoming obsessed with my mom's metal armlets from the 70s. I wanted to bring them back in a major way, this time with a brand new medium!
There was a lot of interest (especially around festival season) and from there I transitioned into chokers, headpieces and anklets. From there fringe wall hangings and the list goes on...I guess you can say I'm fringe obsessed!
My most recent collection involves quartz crystal as this stone has always been very meaningful (and beautiful) to me. I'm so excited to be branching into this new realm.
SFEtsy: What inspires your creations?
- bohemian culture
- natural elements
- the ocean
SFEtsy: What’s your work schedule/routine like?
Vanessa: Each day varies a bit for me. I’m trying my best to leave more space open to meet with other creatives and do collaborations (whether it be in design or photography). I’ve learned that a lot about selling your wares has to do with networking and referrals.
That being said, I usually check emails briefly (I’ve found it’s detrimental to go down the rabbit hole of online), and either get to creating a new design, shipping out orders, or photographing. It’s usually some combination of the three. There’s a lot of running around but it’s fulfilling to see my work go out into the world. I make sure to take creative/artistic type photos for social media everyday. It helps me get better at photography and staging the shoots has been rather fun!
SFEtsy: Tell us about your work space— where do you create?
Vanessa: I have a hot pink studio downstairs with high ceilings, a large work table, computer desk, etc. It’s very open and big. I need this space because of all my materials and product.
SFEtsy: What tools do you use that are absolutely essential and make a huge difference in your day to day process.
Vanessa: Tools for creating designs usually involve crystals, clay, fringe, dye, chain, clasps, cords etc. Digital tools that make a huge difference are social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to market my wares. Gmail and dropbox of course, too.
SFEtsy: How did you get involved with etsy?
Vanessa: I got involved with Etsy when it was gaining popularity back in 2012. My shop has evolved a lot since then. It started with mostly suede earrings! Then I transitioned into fringe festival jewelry, and eventually fringe decor where I found my niche (and love) for home decorations.
SFEtsy: What is your biggest challenge related to your etsy shop?
Vanessa: At first I wanted to say marketing, but I think it’s all about photography to be honest. What’s the point of marketing your shop if your photos aren’t creating a strong and cohesive vision? People to a large extent are buying a feeling or mood, not the product itself.
I guess my biggest challenge would be believing in my own photography abilities and realizing that I am my greatest asset. Only the artist knows how they want the viewer to see their products. I’ve wasted a lot of time leaving it up to someone else (i.e. a photographer) to present my work.
SFEtsy: What are your favorite tools or apps that help you with your business
Vanessa: App-wise I use my Etsy Seller App to keep track of orders on-the-go. I use Instagram and Facebook to market. I use my website (includes a Shopify ecommerce section and a Wordpress blog) to communicate directly with the customer. I also use Mextures and DeluxeFX— they’re photo editing apps that have allowed me to get creative with photography. It’s been really fun!
SFEtsy: Share with us one lesson you have learned as an online seller.
Vanessa: To take your own photos. Develop your own style. You have to start somewhere, and once you get a style (through much trial and error) your shop will start to look cohesive because only you can replicate that style and see it through your lens. You really have to be the full creative force behind your brand (in my experience).
SFEtsy: What's next for you?
Vanessa: I’m rolling out a couple new quartz designs (including jewelry and hair accessories) that I’m very excited about. Then I need to market my new collection, starting with a look book. This part is extremely fun for me though, as I’ve started experimenting with photography.
I don't have any shows on my radar, but have been stopping by a lot of SF shows lately to meet local artisans. I guess a big next step for me is meeting Etsy sellers offline! There's nothing like connecting with sellers in person. It is magical.
You can we find out more about Crafturday at the following sites:
Blog: http://crafturday.com/blog <----- For bohemian fashion and outfit posts!
Welcome to SF Etsy
We're a collective of over 2000 Etsy sellers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Like the San Francisco Bay Area in which it is located, SF Etsy is a vibrant and diverse community, full of creativity. We strive to support and promote local Etsy sellers by sharing expertise and advice, hosting local shows and events, and providing a valuable network of local talent and resources.