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Please introduce yourself... who is Next Stop Willow Bee?
I an Nicole Basilone and I am a 23 year old artist, illustrator and designer plush maker. I am the owner of Next Stop Willow Bee
or WillowBee LLC.
When I was younger I used the name Bee Cute Designs, the Etsy shop originally had that name. My nickname is Nikki Bee, because my last name starts with the letter B and I am terrified of Bees.... haahaa. So when I used to make homemade cards and things I'd put "Bee Cute Designs" on the label. As I got older and wanted to turn my art into a brand of collectable pieces, I decided to change the name into something that could grow with everything I wanted to do.
The name, WillowBee and Next Stop Willow Bee, was actually inspired from and old Twilight Zone Episode, called A Stop at Willoughby. My Mom and I always watch the Twilight Zone marathons on television and that episode was my favorite.
What made you open an Etsy shop?
I've actually been on Etsy since 2009, not as a shop owner but as a buyer and lover of handmade stuff. It says on the side "open since 2009" but I recently opened October 30, 2012. I have been shopping and meting people on Etsy since 2009, it's a great community. That's when I knew I wanted to sell my art I'd started an Etsy. I already had relationship with some of the sellers I'd purchased things from, the shops are easy to navigate and find, and Etsy makes it easy for seller to list items. When an artist is first starting out I think Etsy is a great place for them to go and for them to continue to go even after they are established.
How do you promote your designs?
Well that's the tricky part now isn't it? I don't have a specific plan for promoting items yet. I list items on Etsy ( which people see right away because they are new), I talk about it on Twitter, I have a Facebook fan page and Web Site. I also talk about my art to EVERYBODY. I also wear one of my Positives ( my own designer plush creation) around with me all the time and so when people see it they ask about it and I tell them: Mostly my art has been promoted by word of mouth so far, locally, I've done several custom Positives for people who know me or my family.
What is your advice for fellow artists?
My advice would have to be never give up and also watch Neil Gaiman's commencement speech, it's inspirational. I've had so many people question why I want to be an artist instead of going and working a 9-5 job. I think the most important thing for an artist is to know why you love what you do, why you want to do it, and just do it. no matter what, do art. I try not to let other things get in my way of accomplishing my goal of being a successful artist who can live off of her craft.
Where do you see your brand in 5 years?
I hope to be established in 5 years, selling lots of art, designing patterns for fabric to go on bags, having vinyl toys, going to art shows, and meeting lots of fellow artists. I would love for my brand to be comparable to that of Jeremyville or Tokidoki in five years.
Please visit the Web Site and enjoy wonderful fun creations!
Follow on Twitter!
And LIKE her Facebook! I sure did!
Enjoy and be original!