Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Local Talent

Many of you know that I am part of a great Etsy 'street' team. Its a local team - BEST (Baltimore Etsy Street Team) - and it has some really awesome artists. They are talented and they are knowledgeable. AND they are really supportive. I'm very thankful to be a part of this team and because I am also very thankful for all my readers and online friends, I thought I'd do a series of spotlights on my BEST teamies to benefit them but also benefit YOU by turning you on to some great Ety shops. :)

First up is Becca & Mars - a talented duo creating all natural bath and body products.

Where are you located now?
We are in Towson, just outside of Baltimore.

Describe your studio/creative space.
We call it “The Studio Shed.” It’s an outbuilding in Erica’s backyard that was formerly used as an art studio (previous resident) and an outside toy storage space.

We evicted the toys and converted it into our workspace – table and chairs, shelves, minifridge, etc. The previous resident had amazing taste and “The Studio Shed” comes equipped with French doors, windows, heat, A/C, wooden floors and the crystal chandelier. The yellow walls make it cheerful. The essential oils make it smell fantastic.

How did you get into your current craft/art?
Close friends ever since our children met in school, we discovered over coffee that we both had always dreamed of owning our own business. At first, we investigated opening a traditional brick and mortar business, but an online business allowed us more flexibility to determine our hours and be more available to our kids.

In early 2010 we intensified our study of aromatherapy and began to mix our own recipes in earnest. Spring and summer were very busy finding ethical suppliers, gathering ingredients, mixing, testing, mixing, testing some more and keeping the kids occupied (and fed).

We also decided to do everything in-house. We are lucky to have some good resources at our disposal: a computer geek, a lawyer, business savvy and some artsy tendencies.

Everything we do, from the products themselves to our logo and labels and website are done by us. The kids get in on the action too – although they don’t mix any final products, they love to experiment with us and give us their feedback on our new products and scents.

Are you self taught or formally trained?
A bit of both, actually. Mostly self-taught, though we have taken classes on our subject.

What are your favorite materials?
Pure essential oils – particularly citrus, wholesome carrier oils (apricot kernel, sweet almond, jojoba, ricebran), sugar, almond meal,vitamin E. We use eco-friendly sources.

What inspires you to create? (or describe your creative process)
We’re both very sensory-driven and are inspired by smells, texture and design. We think it’s important to be eco-conscious as well as conscious about what goes on our skin, as it eventually gets into our bodies. The seasons are a huge inspiration for us (which can also be seen in our kitchens at home).

How important would you say the internet is to your work/business?
Very important, indeed, since we have a shop on etsy.com(www.beccaandmars.etsy.com). We also have a website(www.beccaandmars.com), a Facebook page(www.facebook.com/beccaandmars) and a Twitter feed(https://twitter.com/#!/beccaandmars).
We also use the internet for research and to order our raw materials. We’d be lost without it.

What is your favorite art/craft related website?
There is never just one. Our favorites are generally more design focused.

Define ‘success’ for us……..what does it mean to you?
We already have a lot of the ingredients of our vision of success: we enjoy what we do, we are able to be creative, we have lots of flexibility, our products make us happy, and our customers tell us that our products make them happy. As we start turning a profit the picture will be complete.

What would we be surprised to find out about you?
You would be surprised if you knew all of the devious ways we wanted to answer that question.

Anything else you’d like to share?
We think we’re the funniest people we know.

Where can we find you?
We’ll be at the Fenton Street Market on Saturday, April 30.
(sorry this post was late!)