Monday, October 21, 2013

Featured Artist: Branwen's Botanicals

Hi Susan! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Susan, but I've been called Branwen for about as long as the internet as been around. It's been my alternate persona for that long. I own Branwen's Botanicals and I live in New Hampshire with my husband, our son, affectionately called "The Bear", our Aussie Shepherd-Keeshond mix, Fionnabharr, and our two cats, Talysman and Roly-Poly.

How did you get started in your handmade business?
Around February, 2009, after I'd had a miscarriage and I badly needed something to help me move past my grief, I immersed myself in herbal studies. About that time, I also discovered that if I wanted to have high-quality, organic products that didn't contain toxins or other objectionable ingredients and wouldn't break the bank, I was going to have to make them myself.

What are your hopes and aspirations for your store and where do you see yourself going from here?
It's my sincerest hope that my label, Branwen's Botanicals, will eventually become a nationally recognized name for high-quality, hand-crafted herbal wares for individuals who are tired of mass-produced, toxin laden products.

Have you experienced any major accomplishments or recognition? 
Having a brick and mortar shop, has for me, been a huge major accomplishment. The fact that I survived the first year - in this struggling economy - is HUGE. Things are only going to get better.

What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?
I would be completely lost without my mortar and pestle, the scale, and my beautiful herbs.

Have you ever experienced a craft disaster? What happened?
I don't think I've ever had what you'd call a "craft disaster", but the first time I ever made my "Happy Tushie Balm", I realized that rather than being a soft, creamy salve, it had turned into a pretty rough-feeling mess because the different oils I used all "set" differently, causing "beads" to form. It was still usable as the "beads" would melt with the body heat, but it wasn't really a great thing for first time customers to discover when they were expecting this really smooth creamy balm.

How much do you social network? Can you link us to your personal social media pages so we can follow you?
How important is marketing for your small business and what has been most effective for you?
I believe marketing is extremely important for any business. For me, the most effective thing has been Facebook. I don't use their paid ads, but I am always on Facebook, talking and interacting with my fans and I think this is part of what has helped me to be successful.

What item in your shop is your top seller or is your favorite design?
Up until I created my Sacred Mist Smudge spray, I would have said my biggest seller is my Remineralizing Toothpaste. But the Sacred Mist has quickly become much more popular!

What are your 2 favorite items from other shops on The CraftStar, with links? What do you like about them?
There is a Lead Crystal Perfume Bottle from Harmonee's Wiccan Supply that I love! I've always adored collecting pretty perfume bottles, and this one might have to come to my house some day soon.

Another thing I've been gazing at longingly are the hibiscus flower dangle earrings from from Toads Lily Pond Jewelry. I used to have a hibiscus plant growing just outside my front door when I lived in Kuwait, and I would always pluck one of the blooms to place in my scarf. These earrings remind me of that.

Holiday shoppers can use code: HAPPY43 at checkout for 20% off your entire purchase!

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



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