Monday, June 3, 2013

Featured Artist: Queen of De Tile

Hi Kim! Thanks for joining us this week! Tell us about yourself. 
My name is Kimberlee Keane and I own Queen of De Tile. I live in Avondale, AZ a suburb of Phoenix, AZ located in the West Valley. I live with my energetic 11 year old twin boys Dylan and Connor that are just starting Summer vacation this past week. I certainly have my hands full! I also have a tiny toy pom-shih named Snooki that also keeps me on my toes. 

How did you get started in your handmade business?
I've been involved in handmade for over 10 years now. I had a candle making company before I decided to back to work a few years ago. The economy crushed that business because people needed to keep their money to put gas in their cars before they foolishly spent their money on extra stuff like candles. My attempt to go back to work didn't end up so hot. I lost my job 6 times in 2 years. I was constantly being bounced around because the businesses I worked for closed or my job was being cut to save money. In February of 2012 I decided to turn my handmade coaster making hobby into a business and here I am! 

What are your hopes and aspirations for your store and where do you see yourself going from here?
My mom joined my company in October of 2012 right before the busy holiday season. I am extremely grateful to have her as she does a lot for Queen of De Tile. We finally just hit over 400 total online sales in the past year. It's been very exciting. In a few weeks we are hosting our first big sale with a Japanese site that is a lot like Groupon. We've never done anything like this before so it will be interesting to see how large of a wholesale order we end up having to create. I would like to start picking up more wholesale accounts, perhaps end up in a few boutiques, and maybe even do arts festivals come Winter.

Have you ever experienced any major accomplishments or recognition? 
Last September I was contacted by another selling venue and asked to have one of our designs in their Spring look book. My design must not have been picked because I submitted what was requested from them and never heard anymore on the topic. I was very excited to at least be recognized. I also am very proud of the fact that we've had 400 sales in just about a year. I pride myself in that fact. We were also picked to be part of a juried arts festival last Winter but I didn't have the time to devote to that as we were already so busy with the normal holiday rush. 

What are three tools in your work space that you could not live without?
I absolutely could not do any of my work without my amazingly talented artists that allow me to be their licensing partner and put the prints of their art onto my coasters. I could also not do what I do without my ceramic tiles or a great rubber stopper that rubs out wrinkles or bubbles when I apply the images to the surfaces of my tiles to make the coasters. 

Have you ever experienced a craft disaster? What happened?
Of course! Haven't we all! One memorable one was just a few weeks ago. We were working on a large wholesale order and had just finished sealing the surfaces of all our coasters. We had them laid out to dry and our air conditioning kicked on for the first time in 6 months and blew dust out of the ceiling and all over the sticky surfaces. We were mortified! That disaster made it so that we had to redo the entire batch which can start getting expensive. 

How much do you social network? Can you link us to your personal social media pages so we can follow you?
Social media is a very important part of the success of Queen of De Tile. I depend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Wanelo, Vine, and forums to get the word out about my business. This is probably the main reason why Queen of De Tile has done so well. I tend to be very personal with my social media pages. People like to read about what I'm up to. They like to hear about the crazy one liners by son with Aspergers Syndrome has. They also like to see pictures of things that are going on in my day to day life. I have an iPhone and actively search for fun new forms of social media to use which will help advertise my brand. 

How important is marketing for your small business and what has been the most effective for you?
Spending time in handmade forums in my free time, networking, has been the most effective. Reading and reading forums and then tweaking little things with my own business has really put me in line to achieving bigger and better in life. I like to research stuff and really put my feelers out there. Doing this allows me to see what other people are being successful with and trying things on my own. I've found a lot of good places to be involved with this way. That's how I found The CraftStar! 

What item in your shop is your favorite item or your top seller?
Our most popular design by far is this teal coaster design with white trees on them from Karen Swartz Harris. People love the color and often email me asking if it's available in other colors. 

What are your 2 favorite items from other shops on The CraftStar, with links? 
My favorites items on The CraftStar are from Charmed Design and Misecllanea Etctera. I love the colors in the wrap bracelet and I own the sterling silver infinity ring. The ring hasn't come off my finger since I purchased it. It's absolutely lovely!

Thanks for taking the time to join us today Kim. We appreciate you taking time out of our busy schedule so that we could interview you. Happy sales! 

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