Sunday, May 2, 2010

Vegan Etsy Team Member(s) of the Week: Jodi and Dan of This Is It! Creations!

This Is It! Creations is made up of Jodi and Dan – a husband and wife team who have been creating eco products together since 2005. They are both vegan and huge animal lovers, and feel extremely grateful to work together putting products into the world that they are both proud of.

When did you open your Etsy shop, and how did you choose its name?
We opened in September 2007 and chose the username thisisit because our company is called “This Is It! Creations.” We named our company that for a couple of reasons – it’s how we feel about each other, and it’s also the last job we ever plan to have.

What kinds of items do you sell in your shop, and what inspired you to start creating them?
We make ecogifts that inspire – journals, notebooks, notepads, jewelry, and cards. I have always been crafty and used to love making my friends personalized stationery sets. They always told me that I should do it as a business. Dan and I were tired of working at jobs where we had to be apart, so we decided to start a business together and see where it took us – and here we are five years later!

Do you donate through your shop to any charities or do any volunteer work?
We donate 5% of our profits to animal-welfare organizations. We also donate products to just about any animal charity that emails us and asks. We work with a lot of stores who have fundraisers throughout the year benefiting animals, and we also donate products to them.

What are some of your favorite things about Etsy?
The community. I have always felt so welcomed and supported on Etsy. I absolutely love being a part of such a wonderful site. I have met so many wonderful people through the Etsy teams – many have become my friends. I also love the forums, especially the business section. You can learn so much there! It’s also so exciting to see an Etsy order in my inbox!

Do you sell your items outside of Etsy, either online or in retail shops?
We do! Before we started selling on Etsy, we were a wholesale company selling to stores across the country (and a few abroad). Our products are currently sold in over 150 stores. We are almost finished with our website, which will have both a retail and a wholesale shopping cart. And we’re super excited that we were just juried into an amazing local craft show that runs every weekend from now until November! If you are in the area, come see us at the Lithia Artisans Market in Ashland, Oregon!

Have you been featured anywhere?
We have! We’ve been very blessed with love and support from many people. It’s always a thrill to see that we have been featured on someone’s blog or in a magazine. We’ve had our products featured in many places, from New Age Retailer and Niche magazines to Tyra Banks’ website. I get so excited about all of them!

How long have you been vegan, and what made you go vegan?
I went vegan for the animals. I did it in stages; I stopped eating red meat and pork 15 years ago. I stopped eating all other animal products 8 years ago because I would cry every time I ate meat. I learned about factory farming and knew that I could not eat dairy products either. About 3 years ago I learned that there were animal ingredients in the beauty products that I was using – even some products that are considered “cruelty free” still can have animal ingredients. This was a shock to me! Since then I make sure that everything I buy has the cute little bunny logo on it. Dan went veg when he was 16 and vegan at 19, solely for the animals.

What are your favorite foods?
Dan and I adore Indian food – I just wish I could make it like they do at my favorite restaurants! I seriously could eat it every day forever and be so happy. I also have a huge sweet tooth. I just made chocolate chip cookies today! Dan and I were having trouble with our thyroids a couple of years ago from eating too much soy. We have been soy free for the last eighteen months and feel so much better!

Do you have any favorite vegan things, like books, websites, stores, etc.?
I love trading on Etsy – it’s so much fun! I get a lot of my vegan bath and body products from trading. We have a great store here in Medford, Oregon called Food for Less – it has tons of veg products. Since we gave up soy, we’ve had to give up most of the processed veg foods that we used to love, and now we cook mainly from scratch. It’s ended up being a good thing!

What other kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?
I really had to think about this one because we’ve been working so hard for so long on our business that we haven’t had much time for anything else. When I do listen to the advice on our journals and remember to breathe and find balance, I love to sing! Dan is a writer and a musician. We get to make music together, which is so much fun. We also love to bowl together. We have an air hockey table that has gotten a bit dusty, but it’s so much fun when we do play! I love sitting down and watching a good TV show at the end of a long day. And going to the movies is always fun! I also like to cook – I am actually writing a vegan cookbook using everyday ingredients. This has been in the works for awhile now, but I promise that it will be available someday!

Do you have any animal companions?
We have 3 furry kids: a sweet dog-ter, Xena (a Norwegian Elkhound) and 2 sweet kitties – Biddle and Buncom. They all provide countless hours of joy and entertainment for us. At the moment, we also have 3 steers (thanks to all of you who helped us rescue them!) that we are hoping to transport to a sanctuary near Seattle this month. We have to move and will no longer have the land to keep them here, but a very generous sanctuary, Passado's Safe Haven, has agreed to take them if we can raise the money to get them there. Fingers crossed that we’ll be able to do it!

Do you have any future plans for your shop?
We do! We’re always working on new products, such as magnets and scrolls, and we’re also making more interactive journals! We are super excited about all of this. We just need to find a few more hours each day to have extra time to finish them and list them!

Is there anything else you would like to add or share?
I just wanted to thank everyone on this team (as well as on EFA and EtsyVeg) who has been so supportive toward us and our company over the years. It means the world to me how we all came together to save the steers from slaughter, how you include our products in your treasuries, blog about us, and just support us in general. Much love to all of you!

Editor's note: YOU can help get the steers to their permanent sanctuary! Click here to view the ChipIn page for more details, or click on the ChipIn widget in the right hand side bar of this blog. Every donation counts!


EcoGifts that Inspire said...

Yay! Thank you to Kala for the nomination, and thanks to Melissa for posting it! :) We're both super excited!

Heather said...

Yay! Congrats Jodi & Dan! Very nice learning more about you two.