Sunday, May 28, 2006

Keltic Kat interview

Today we hear from Joanne of the Keltic Kat.

1. What drew you to opening an online store? Were you in a related field?

I don’t remember exactly what prompted me to open my first basic shop. Most likely it was something in a long string of bad experiences at the worst job ever.

I had been thinking about the idea for months. I was very stressed-depressed-anxiety ridden from the bad work environment. - I had actually started to try ripping my hair out, and you thought that was just an expression.

I think, I just needed to do something positive with the creative side of my personality. Café Press has been outrageously fun for me, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to shave some days off my work schedule but I’ll honestly be able to say I had fun trying.

I have a degree in architectural drafting and I use a cheesy, yet cheap and fairly simple, drafting program the make all of my geometric
arabesque or mandala -
inspired designs. As well as for some of my ‘just for fun’ designs like Nora’s Boat -

Other than that I don’t have any related experience or formal art training. I work in the computer support industry but I don’t have any training in digital art/image manipulation. I just learn as I go, “Hey, what’s this do?” has created some of my favorite designs, like Sunset Portal

2. When did you open your store?

I opened my first basic shop in Feb. or March of 2005, I think. After 12-14 basic shops became too much to manage all at once I decided to go premium in Feb. of 2006. It was definitely worth the investment, it’s so much easier to manage and personalize my corner of CafePress with the premium features.

3. What is harder about doing this then you thought it would be?

Two of the important things I never considered were the marketing and networking. Search engine optimization (SEO), website presentation, copyright and trademark law are some other important things I had no clue about before I started on my Keltic Kat adventure. Everyday I learn something new and add it my lists of do’s, don’ts and things to research.

4. What do you like best about being an online shopkeeper?

It might be the only time in my life where being an opinionated, passionate, crusader for my beliefs has had a pay off. Usually that gets me into all kinds of trouble.
It’s also been so much fun and given me an outlet for my ‘pretty scribbles’! I’m always so excited when one of the purely artistic designs sells.

5. During the very first month, what do you wish you had known then that you do now?

I wish I had known more about HTML, search engine optimization (SEO) and promotion.

6. Could you share some of the marketing you’ve tried so far (on or off line) and what has worked and what hasn’t?

Marketing and promotion are my weak points, I’m still learning. What I know for sure is that if people can’t find your products they can’t buy them.
As a micro businessperson, I target people who share similar interest as me. The designs that sell the best for me are the one that express something I feel strongly about. Free Democracy -ship in distress and the Birth ~a Universe is Born ( are two of my best sellers and two I feel strongly express my personal beliefs.

If you are making designs you wouldn’t buy, can you really expect anyone else to buy them? That’s my advice to anyone thinking of starting anew shop.

7. What other sites, blogs, etc. do you have if any?

The Keltic Kat is sorely in need of an overhaul, but nonetheless I’m very proud of it. I did all the HTML (without an editor), writing and graphics backgrounds logos etc. Eccentric as it is, it’s me.
Random Writer-Wanna-Be Chick's BLOG @ blogspot
this one isn’t getting much TLC lately either.
MySpace Personal Page Keltic Kat
& Perpetually in Progress (MySpace BLOG) (
I have way too many projects going at once, as always.

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