Today we meet Allison of Monkeys Always Look. She is one of those lucky sellers who has managed to make Etsy her full time job, with items so popular that she was once even one of Etsy's featured sellers. So what does she do that's so fantastic? She made her mark with little succulent plants potted in interesting vintage containers, and has now shifted her focus to antique-ish silverware stamped as garden markers, 'I heart Mom', 'you are my sunshine', or whatever you can dream up (yes, she does them custom!). Pretty great? As Allison might say, supergreat.
When did you open your Etsy shop?
I opened my shop almost two years after I told my boss to suck it and I have been doing this full-time ever since.
What kinds of items do you sell in your shop, and what inspired you to start creating them?
I have a couple different things in my shop. I sell potted succulents, candles, a little bit of jewelry and a lot of stamped silverware. The inspiration to start creating was the desire to eat, pay the bills and stick it to the man.
Do you donate through your shop to any charities or do any volunteer work?
While I don’t donate based on shop sales my husband and I donate to animal charities as well as human ones. I try to do volunteer work when I can and we have fostered a few wayward pups along the way.
What are some of your favorite things about Etsy?
There are so many talented people and it is so fun to see what people create. I have made some awesome life-long friends though etsy and will be forever thankful for that.
Do you sell your items outside of Etsy, either online or in retail shops?
I do sell outside of etsy. I have my own site and I have been super duper fortunate to have a number of retailers sell my line, most notably Anthropologie, Green Depot and coming very soon my new line of jewelry at Herbivore in Portland, OR!
Have you been featured anywhere?
I have been very lucky to have some wonderful features! I think the biggest boosts were my garden markers in Country Living Magazine and Design*Sponge.
How long have you been vegan, and what made you go vegan?
I have been vegan for almost 3 years and was vegetarian for about 18 years beforethat. I had been thinking about it for a while and after reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma it finally hit me: dairy cows live a horrible, pain filled life and even though they don’t die to feed me, they suffer so much. I don’t know why it took so long for it to dawn on me and I’m embarrassed that it did. But I’m here now, so better late then never.
Do you have any favorite foods?
Yes, it’s called FOOD. My husband is an awesome cook and the family chef so whatever he makes I love, especially when it comes from our HUGE veggie garden he tends to every day. He rules!
Do you have any animal companions?
Boy do we! Weston the Cat is our 17lb monster who was found running around in Central Park. Mr. Vivian, our 25lb sulcatta tortoise, roams our backyard and keeps the grass mowed. And lastly there's our 3 rescued Great Danes. There’s Marley who we have had for 4 years and holds a Master’s Degree in Human Manipulation; Oliver, a deaf love bug that likes ice cubes, peanut butter and taking dishes out of the sink to lick them clean; and Toby, our failed foster who is teaching Oliver very bad habits, like taking dishes out of the sink and jumping on the kitchen table to feed at the cat food buffet.
What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?
I love taking the dogs to the beach a few times a week and I find that so relaxing and enjoyable. I try to exercise and pretend to like it. And I love to bake something that contains lots of sugar and then eat it all in one sitting.
What is the vegan community like in your area?
Honestly I have no idea, I don’t get out much. There are a few restaurants that we go to time and time again and there is an awesome vegan store here called All Vegan that I shop at on occasion. But beyond that it is just me in my little vegan world.
Do you have any future plans for your shop?
I do! I’m launching a new line of jewelry in about a month that I’m very excited about.
Is there anything else you would like to add or share?
I have been extremely lucky to be able earn a living making and selling my little items. While I work very long hours and truly never get a break or vacation (thanks to my iPhone) I LOVE IT and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I get a lot of people asking me how I do it or how can they do it to. I’m happy to answer anyone who has questions about going “full-time” and sticking it to the man, so please feel free to contact me. Also, to the team mates: while you might not see me post a lot in the vegan team forum, I always read all the posts and feel like I know most of you, so come on over and say hi!