Monday, September 23, 2013

Featured Artist: Woo Woo Workshop

Hi Melissa! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Melissa McGraw - Petrusch and I own Woo Woo Workshop. My husband Fred and I live in Erie, PA. We have 4 beautiful furkids! Lilly, our Boxer/Dachshund mix who is Woo Woo Worskhop’s mascot, our Quincy who is a Miniature Pinscher and our two sassy cats - Tori and Izzy. 

How did you get started in your handmade business? 
It all started with adopting Lilly, our youngest and newest member of the family. At the time of Lilly's arrival, Fred was working at a local machine shop doing what he had done for the past 15 years, CNC programming and metal working. The economy had taken a toll on our cities industrial community and Fred lost his job. In the midst of all the change, I was diligently illustrating away building Woo Woo Workshops' parent company Art Savvy Studio. I was also utilizing my degree and doing a lot of freelance Graphic Design work. Fred came to me and said "I want to work with animals." I was elated! So he set off on a new life journey and graduated with a Veterinary Assistant degree in May of 2012. With that schooling and experience, Fred saw first hand, on many occasions the amount of animals that pass through shelter doors because of a lack of proper identification. We were instantly inspired to do something to help.

The two of us joined forces, with Lilly at our side singing her beautiful “Woo Woo Song” (which Boxers are known for and where our name comes from), to create Woo Woo Workshop and the creative concept of The Woo Woo TagTM. We wanted to offer high quality, unique, handmade pet id tags that pets would love to wear and their humans would feel comfortable with the efficiency of the tag.

The Woo Woo TagTM was born on April 26th, 2012. Our pet tags are unique in that they are a double metal design with an aluminum, lightweight, tarnish and rust free contact backer. Every single tag we create is wire wrapped. Our particular vision and unique creative execution for the tags allows us to create an effective, strong, dynamic, versatile and one of a kind pet id tag.

What are your hopes and aspirations for your store and where do you see yourself going from here? 
We ultimately are driven by supporting proper pet identification. Woo Woo Workshop, to us, stands for so many great things. It stands for proper pet identification, artistic expression, supporting the handmade movement and ultimately it’s doing what we love, every single day. We truly have dedicated our lives to Art and Animals and we absolutely love it! Our hopes and aspirations are to continue to build our brand and work to make all pets - Woo Woo Pets!! Branching out and expanding our business to The CraftStar is one way that we’re excited to do this!

Have you experienced any major accomplishments or recognition?
Our most satisfying accomplishment so far is knowing that close to 1000 pets have been properly identified in just over a year with our work. There really isn't anything that can come close to that accomplishment. It is certainly what drives the two of us everyday to continue what we do.

What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?
Fred and I have our process so down pat that there are certainly items that we couldn't live without. The only mechanical tool that we use to aid in production is a belt sander, so that one is really important. Sometimes our schedule dictates that we make 20+ Woo Woo Tags in a night, and the sander is a major help! I couldn't live without my favorite hammer, my design many things! My computer as well, without that, we couldn't reach the world!

Have you ever experienced a craft disaster? What happened?
We really haven't had any disasters yet, we've had obstacles, though. At the beginning, we would make mistakes and have to start all over again. Getting used to the hammer, my fingers would get in the way many times! You learn from all of that and you grow from it. You learn what not to do and what makes your process faster and more efficient. It's been so much fun to experience the growing process.

How much do you social network? Can you link us to your personal social media pages so we can follow you?
I social network quite a bit and I really think that it's a great tool to get your name out there and for your work to be seen. Here are our links...come visit or follow!

How important is marketing for your small business and what has been most effective for you?
It's very important as it is for all small businesses. I think what has been the most effective for us is our strong brand. Being a Graphic Designer, I feel that when you have a well designed, cohesive brand it generates a sense of trust to consumers. How you market your business, your work and yourself to the world is extremely important to sales and revenue. It's also imperative to go to the next level and always deliver what you're marketing. We market great customer service, so we deliver that. We also market a well made product and our tags are truly the best work that we can create with our hands. The honesty and integrity that you back your work and your business with will ultimately bring success.

What item in your shop is your top seller or is your favorite design?
We love all of our designs, so it's hard to pick a favorite, but our top seller is our "Marley" Woo Woo Tag™.

What are your two favorite items from other shops on The CraftStar, with links? What do you like about them?
Absolutely love this kitchen chalkboard from RusticCraft! It's really beautiful and the craftsmanship is fantastic...

Great pillow from Vintage Skies with a fantastic message that we love to live by! Unique design and modern.

Best of all.. All readers can score 10% off their orders by using code: WOOWOO10 at check out! 

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

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