Welcome to the very first issue of the Friday Feature in 2016. I hope everyone had a great Holiday Season. We are kicking off this years Friday Feature series with Retro Roadside Photography. Owner Stefanie Poteet is a self taught photographer who discovered her love for vintage neon signs on a cross country trip about 6 years ago. Stefanie researches and maps signs she would like to photograph, then travels to signs on location to take her own photographs. She has traveled more than 100,000 miles chasing neon to document these pieces of historic Americana. Keep reading to learn more about her and to get the special discount she has offered for the SFEtsy blog followers.
SFEtsy: What inspires your creations?
Stefanie Poteet: Vintage neon, mid century modern design, kitschy roadside attractions, and iconic Americana. If you've heard of Charles Phoenix, or Mod Betty's Retro Roadmap, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
SFEtsy: What's your work schedule / routine like?
Stefanie Poteet: My Etsy shop is just one part of how I support myself, so each day is more of a balancing act between priorities. One day it's shipping orders and responding to customer inquiries, the next is photo editing for my wedding photography business. Somewhere in there I fit in another part time job, and all the other work running your own businesses require. I encourage myself to be disciplined and productive each day, but don't stick to any sort of schedule. That being said, I know I spend more hours working for myself than I would if I had a full time job working for someone else.
SFEtsy: Tell us about your work space - where do you create?
Stefanie Poteet: Everywhere! My photographs have been captured all over the United States, and my editing workspace is wherever I can fit my computer. My future office is "under construction", but one day it will be a spot with awesome art on the walls where I can edit my photographs and package orders in an at least semi-efficient fashion. Until then I make use of the kitchen table, the coffee table, the pool table, or any large flat surface in the house.
SFEtsy: What tools do you use that are absolutely essential and makes a huge difference in your day to day process?
Stefanie Poteet: I recently upgraded my computer which has improved my editing process tremendously. It's rather difficult to stay focused when you spend large amounts of time staring at an hour glass on your computer screen. My new machine processes much quicker, meaning I can get more done in less time. It is also an essential part of running an online business.
SFEtsy: How did you get involved with Etsy?
Stefanie Poteet: Try as I might, I still don't remember how I discovered Etsy, but I know I debated for some time about opening a shop.
SFEtsy: What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?
Stefanie Poteet: My biggest challenge is keeping up with Etsy's changes to their SEO algorithm. Product creation and branding is fun, SEO, not so much.
SFEtsy: What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
Stefanie Poteet: The photograph of the Supai Motel holds a special place because it's the neon sign that started it all. I took this photograph and fell in love.
SFEtsy: What has been your biggest success and/or proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
Stefanie Poteet: After having my shop open for a few years I was selling at an in person event when I was recognized by another photographer whose work inspires me. I couldn't believe she recognized me from my work. It was a great feeling.
SFEtsy: What are your favorite tools that help you with your business?
My camera, by far. Life is always good when I have my camera in hand and am out creating new images to be used on products for my business.
SFEtsy: Share with us one lesson you have learned as an online seller.
Stefanie Poteet: Etsy isn't a platform that everyone understands, so no matter how wacky or frustrating potential customer questions may be, kindness is always the best route to take.
SFEtsy: What skill or craft would you also like to become more proficient at and why?
Stefanie Poteet: Knitting, screen printing and letter press. Totally unrelated to my photography or to each other, but they each seem so cool. I would love to knit my own scarf, print whatever wacky shirt I have in mind, and make my own cards to gift to friends.
SFEtsy: What's next for you?
Stefanie Poteet: With the start of 2016 my goal is to capture the remaining signs in California I've not yet photographed before moving on to Nevada and Oregon. It's ambitious, but that's just the way I like it
Stefanie has offered a 10% discount to all the blog followers with code SFETSY. Thank you Stefanie and we hope you have a great year chasing neon across America. We look forward to seeing more retro images from you.
You can follow Stefanie Poteet and learn more about her and her work on the site listed below:
Friday Features are run by Raji of Red Kerria Designs. To see your own shop featured, please contact her.
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