This week's featured artist is Taryn L. McCracken, whose shops specialize in great gifts for those special occasions featuring personal photos and personalized engraving. With Father's Day just around the corner, you're sure to find a perfect gift for that special man in your life!
Part of the profits from her company, PictureIt Creations are donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
How did you get started with your craft/art?
When I had my son and we decided that it’d be beneficial for me to stay home, I wanted to explore the more creative side I had when I was younger. It started off with photo editing and making creative gifts with pictures. Shortly after getting started with it, my husband and I started researching photo engraving machines. Since then, business has really taken off and now that creative gene I ignored for so many years is in full bloom.
What prompted you to set up a home-based business?
My family and husband encouraged me to start selling my photo editing. I knew selling online would be ideal since I was staying home with my son. My husband also owns a company so we were familiar with the paperwork and legal aspects of owning a business.
What part of your craft is your favorite? (Designing, creating the actual piece, working with custom orders, etc)
I love every part of my business. But, I think my favorite would have to be working with the customer to help them create the “Perfect gift”.
How have you changed since starting your business? How has this impacted your craft?
I’ve changed quite a bit since the start of PictureIt Creations. I started off working with photos, editing them, making collages, etc and it’s evolved into putting photos on several different pieces. I do a lot of personalization as far as just adding a name or a phrase to things as well, but I still base the business around pictures. When I began expanding the business, I learned to open my mind to new things. Now, I’m constantly thinking of what else I can create or where else I can put a photo.
What is the most challenging aspect of running your business?
I think keeping a good balance between crafting and doing the business side of it (i.e. web design, networking, bookkeeping, research, etc.) I have an Accounting degree and a lot of business experience so I enjoy both aspects. But, I can’t let myself get wrapped up too much into one or the other. And doing everything myself, it makes it even harder to keep this balance because I can’t delegate tasks. I just try to keep focused the best I can, don’t get behind on orders and keep on top of the emails.
How did you come up with your shop name?
When I started, I was strictly working with photos and working with customers to create the gift items THEY think of. So, I called it PictureIt Creations. My first motto was “If you can PictureIt, we can Create it”.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you see your business?
I thought for a long time, that PictureIt Creations was a small, part-time kind of job or hobby. But, PictureIt and I have grown so much in the last few months that I can honestly see myself staying home after the kids are in school and running it full time instead of having to go back to work for someone else. I am also a photography student. Another goal I’d like for PictureIt, is to combine my photography skills/studio with the gift items of PictureIt.
How do you keep a balance between home and business responsibilities?
This is a tough one! Being home with 3 small kids, I am basically a mom during the day. I do check emails and run a few orders while everyone is awake and running around. But, basically, my job as a business owner starts as soon as they are in bed either for a nap or for the night. I also get a tremendous amount of help with my family. I have family that will step with the kids if I need to work on catching up and my husband is great at staying up late with me to help fill orders and figure out any problems that might come up.
What is the funniest/craziest/most touching thing that has happened while having a business?
I haven’t told anyone this in a long time. But, when I first started, people would send me their images or tell me what they are looking for and I’d help design the item…just as I do today. Well, this particular client was a business owner. And when she came to me with her ideas, she wouldn’t really tell me what it was for except for it was a charm for some sort of jewelry or accessory that she makes. In going back and forth in emails, we did finally come up with what she was looking for but my curiosity got me to ask what it was for (assuming we’d be partnered up in the future for me to create her store charms). It ended up being for an adult only online gift shop (I’ll leave it at that). I’ve learned since then, I don’t ask what the customer doesn’t offer to tell me. Just do it. LOL
If you could give one piece of advice to others who are just getting started with their businesses, what would it be?
Network. Use twitter, Facebook, Myspace…there are so many different ways to network. It’ll help get your name out there and put your craft where people can see it. But, also meeting new people is so important. Anybody met through these networking sites could end up being anything from a customer to a huge inspiration or mentor. I have joined a few forums and handmade communities and although, we’ve only “met” online, it feels almost like some of them we’ve been friends for years. It’s great to be able to bounce ideas off of someone or gain a little insight or knowledge on a particular subject from someone that shares your interests.
Can you give us some links to be able to follow you?