Meet Leslie Sirag

Leslie Sirag has two (count 'em, two!) Etsy shops -- The Creative Block and Findings by Leslietsy. One shop seems to feed into the other, with The Creative Block featuring Leslie's work, including steampunk Judaica, jewelry, and art dolls. Findings by Leslietsy seems to have a bit more Judaica (chais, hamsas, mogen Davids) than The Creative Block, as well as plenty of charms, pendants, and new and vintage findings.

Emma Art Doll Spirit from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
Leslie's friend, and another Etsy seller, Laura Bartlett, suggested Leslie give Etsy a try. As a result, The Creative Block opened in 2006, with Findings by Leslietsy following in 2008. Not long after, she joined Etsychai. When asked how long she's been an Etsychai member, she answers quizzically, "Unsure. But I think since 2008 or 9?"

Leslie tells us, rather than consciously choosing a craft, her craft chose her. "I've made dolls and jewelry as long as I can remember."

A woman of many skills, Leslie has also knitted, woven, and crocheted. Outside the fiber arts, she's also worked with clay, both handbuilding and throwing on the wheel. As if that isn't enough, she has also made china and porcelain dolls.

Steampunk Judaica Earrings
To continuously come up with ideas, Leslie uses just about anything for sources of inspiration, "materials, stories, nature, (and) other people's work."

When inspiration just isn't happening, she sorts her work materials and tries to organize her workspace, since she always finds "great stuff". If she's at a standstill, she makes a series of something simple, such as earrings, to keep her local selling space supplied. That local selling space, by the way, is a coffee shop in Olympia, WA, which she says works better for her than any store she's ever sold in.

She also does a few arts and crafts fairs annually, to round out her sales. But she admits she'll be cutting back on the fairs, since they are "too much" for her overly busy schedule.

Vintage Chai Pendant Assortment
Living in an area with few Jews, Leslie finds Etsychai, to some extent, fills her need for a Jewish community. She expands her virtual community with membership in at least eight other Etsy teams. She tells us, "There may be more; but those are the ones in which I actually participate, at least from time to time."

Even with her admittedly "poor" management of time, she also works hard at promoting her shop. How?

"I list or reslist items frequently. I'm experimanting with etsy's new search ads, which seem to help Findings a bit, but get The Creative Block fewer hits than when I don't use them. I hand out a LOT of cards locally, at craft fairs and at the coffee shop that sells my work. I of course enclose a card with every order I fill. I have the monthly drawing on the Findings FB page. I post treasuries, some new items on my FB page & occasionally to freinds.  When I have time and energy, I post work in progress on my blog--also commissioned work.  I don't do enough social networking, but it already cuts into work, sleep, and reading time."

Which does she find most successful? "Frequent listing and relisting at various odd hours."

Wing and a Prayer Earrings
Her advice to Etsy sellers is lengthy, but worthwhile, "Don't list everything at once: if you're listing a bunch of work, do one every half hour--you get more views that way, Take the best pics you can, & redo from time to time. Use all 5 you're allowed--it keeps people on your page longer, which apparently makes them more likely to buy. Remember that that little square is what someone sees to click on--make your main piuc for each item yell. It doesn't even have to be the best one overall--just one that screams "look at me!"  List and relist as often as possible, and if something hasn't sold by the end of a listing, change the lead photo. Ask all your freinds and relatives to visit your shop, click on and favortie items--this improves where you show up in google listings.Join a couple of teams--at least one local & one (or more) special interest."

She stresses photos are important. Her preferred camera is her Olympus Camedia 7000D, a simpler camera with a fairly decent close-up lens. For her supplies shop she prefers simple black and white backgrounds.

She tells us, "I've just purchased a little photo lightbox/studio from Anne Keller-Smith, a member of Etsychai, and am beginning to be able to use it to improve my pics."

She's still trying to figure out the best way to hang long necklaces for optimal photography. Any suggestions?

Color Blind Hummingbird Finds Nectar in Dark Blossoms Necklace
Leslie has an enormous online presence. You can find her on her Blog, Facebook, on CouchSurfing.com as Leslie Sirag, and on several yahoogroups.

Check out her shops! You might just find something perfect for someone else (or even yourself!).

Chain of Hamsa
-- Post by April Grunspan of AgruArts


Linda B said...

I bought some Jewish charms from Leslie and am very satisfied.

Thanks, Leslie, for being part of the team.

Tracey said...

Love these posts, Leslie, it's nice to 'meet' you. April thanks for another great post.

GoofingOff said...

I had the good fortune to meet Leslie when I was in Seattle. What a warm, caring, generous person she is!
Thank you, April for another wonderful post.