Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Interview with Belli Uccelli - Etsy Artist and Bird Fanatic

A few weeks ago I decided to rreach out to some new-ish Etsy sellers who make and or sell items that I love and ask then their secrets.  In doing this process I have found some shops that I adore.  It is amazing how there is an endless amount of fantastic shops on Etsy.

As any faithful reader of this blog know, I have an absolute bird obsession.  So, when I saw Belli Uccelli on Etsy, I knew I had to feature the artist.  Emelia, Belli Uccelli's owner, has been gracious enough to answer a few questions about selling, marketing, and the ever important photography (she also has an incredible photography shop on Etsy called Emelia Jane Photography). 

Print from Belli Uccelli

1. Why did you start selling on Etsy?

I was first introduced to Etsy by some friends of mine and quickly became enthralled. I loved the idea that I could sell my art work from my own home and have a world-wide audience. I first opened my photography shop, Emelia Jane, and once I was Etsy savvy my second shop, Belli Uccelli, was soon to follow!

2. Do you sell anywhere else (on or off line)?

Yes! I sell my work at galleries and at a few small local (and very sweet) New England shops.

3. Do you have long term plans for your shop and business, or do you just kind of play it by ear?

I sure do! I hope to continue to expand both of my businesses! I have a million ideas for new bird illustrations (new ideas flash through my head every moment!) and I have a lot of future projects that I am just itching to start. My birds are extremely detailed and take a long time to complete so updating my shop takes a while.  I have been working on a few new illustrations and plan on adding some larger originals (at the moment I am offering original ACEO’s in my Etsy shop) I am also planning on offering custom work in the future. 

Print from Belli Uccelli

4. What do you think is the best way to market your shop, both on and off line?

I have found that the best way to market my work is...

* Always have a business card handy. I strike up conversations all the time and when people are interested in your work it is wonderful to have your information handy (I have made some Etsy sales this way and also secured a few wholesale accounts!). Always remember that the person you give your card to may not be your buyer, it might me their friend or the person who picks it up at the coffee shop where it was left!
*Blogs...When someone blogs about you it is fantastic exposure and can lead to a lot of traffic in your shop.
*Etsy forums have worked brilliantly for me. I have made some great Etsy friends and connections and it always sends people your way!
*Having a personal website and blog. People love to see what you are up to and having a website gives an extra glimpse into your life and style. (You can visit Emilia at her personal site.)

My favorite print from Belli Uccelli...I love the colors

5. Are you solely an Etsy seller, or do you also buy? If you buy, what elements of other shops appeal to you?

Yes, I love shopping on Etsy...I have found the most amazing treasures! I love shops that are completely unique and offer something that is clearly well made. My two favorite purchases so far are an adorable set of Christmas Ornaments from Bossys Feltworks and a glow-bowl strand from One Black Bird. I look for quality, great photos and honesty and detail when describing a product.

6. Do you have a desire to quit your “day job” and make a full time living off your Etsy shop {I know I do!}? If so, what do you think is necessary for you to achieve that goal?

Well... both fortunately and unfortunately I was laid off from my job which led me to sell my artwork full time. I was thrown into it but when I realized that I had the opportunity to focus on my work full time I hit the ground running! I got together a portfolio of my work, made appointments with galleries and shops, mailed cd’s with digital images to out of state locations and marketed through friends and blogs. I am loving my new career!

An ACEO (Art Cards, Editions and Originals) from Belli Uccelli

7.Where do you find inspiration for the items you create or renew?

I am inspired by nature, my love for birds and my family.  I have had a passion for both drawing and birds since I was a wee thing. My Baba (grandmother) was a book illustrator and painter and she played a major role in my love and admiration for art. My Bumpy (Grandfather) taught me the importance of nature and gardening, I credit him for my sharp eye and my fascination with our feathered friends. 

I love this calming photo from Emilia Jane Photography

8. Do you have any tips or ideas for successful selling that are out of the ordinary, meaning we all know we must provide quality products and good photos, but what else??

Mmmm...to be honest I cannot think of anything out of the ordinary that I do to promote my work.  I just talk about my work all the time and promote, promote, promote!

I love old, unique dishes...such a pretty photo!

9. What have you learned in your short time of selling on Etsy that you wish you would have known the first day?

I did not discover the forums for a few months into selling on Etsy. I wish that I has explored around a little more, I think that the promo’s are a wonderful way to introduce your shop to people and get the word out.

10. The photographs in your fine art photography shop are fantastic. I know that many Etsy sellers {myself included} struggle with taking photos that are “Etsy front page” worthy. What do you feel is the most important thing amateur photographers should focus on to take amazing photos?

Thank you so much for the compliment!  My advice is to keep it simple.

I find that the photographs that focus simply on the item that you are trying to sell are the best. You can have props in your photograph (they can be great!) but make sure that they compliment your item well and that it is not distracting to the buyer. I am also a fan of indoor shots. I have seen a lot of people photographing a beautiful necklace or amazing quilt hanging from a tree branch or on a dirty porch. If you are going to photograph your items outside do it with style and make sure your setting looks clean!

11. Do you think the camera quality matters as much as the skill of the photographer? Do you have any good recommendations for an inexpensive, user friendly camera that would take great up close and macro photos (the type of photos that Etsy sellers typically take)?

When I am taking a photograph of an item such as jewelry or a vintage item I use an old nikon cool-pix (basically a point and shoot). I love this little camera! It takes great macros, focuses well, and has a lot of options.

You also do not need any fancy equipment for taking a good photograph of your item. I always use natural light and photograph indoors. I use cheap tricks to get my light right such as wrapping a piece of cardboard with aluminum foil and reflecting it on your piece. One of the best things about digital is you can experiment over and over.  Really get to know your camera and all of its features, you can get great shots with a little practice and once you know what works best for your items stick with it.

My absolute fav photo in Emelia's photography shop

Stop by Emilia's two Etsy shops - Belli Uccelli and Emelia Jane Photography


  1. Thank you so much for the lovely feature Gina!!!


  2. Wow, fantastic feature and what lovely work!


thank you so much for your comment! i read and enjoy each and every one :).

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