Wednesday, February 3, 2010
in the past i've interviewed a cut paper artist and a modern bags and home accessories designer, this time around is a new sort of artist - a writer-artist. it's someone i met on twitter and follow regularly...
meet tara gentile. tara is editor of scoutie girl and taragentile.com, curator of scoutie girl gifts, author of 52 weeks of blogging your passion AND she also finds time to create beautiful web sites for indie business owners. to really sum it all up - tara celebrates the power of hand-made like no other. seriously.
01. tell us a little about yourself...
I'm a mom, a frustrated academic, a blogger-writer, professional web surfer...I live in south-eastern Pennsylvania with my husband and my daughter, Lola. I love style but I'm a terrible dresser. I wish I was a graphic designer. I also wish I was a photographer. But I love what I do and can't imagine doing anything else at this point.
02. how did you get started? when? obstacles?
I got serious about blogging in January 2009. I dabbled a bit in the community before that and found out that this thing actually existed! Finding a niche was one of the biggest obstacles. How to set myself apart. My mom gave me the idea for "Handmade in PA" (http://handmadeinpa.net) my first blog. I took over Scoutie Girl from Jan DiCintio (http://www.daisyjanie.com) in July 2009 because I wanted to become a full-time blogger and she wanted to focus on creating her wholesale textile line. Match made in heaven.
And did I mention she lives precisely 2 blocks away from me? Yeah. I met her on the internet.
Other than balancing my time between taking care of my family & work, my biggest obstacle has been convincing my husband that what I do is actually work. As I am able to point to more specific & measurable aspects of my success, he gets it more. Read: making money helps.
03. where do you seek inspiration?
Where don't I seek inspiration? Other blogs - Mint, Modish, Smile & Wave, How About Orange, Love Forever... - twitter, Flickr, Etsy, Supermarket. I'm constantly checking out links from friends and shop owners, hopefully figuring out some trends. I'm inspired by color & texture - and definitely materials.
04. what's a typical day like at scoutie girl?
For me personally, there's a lot of juggling - constantly back & forth between taking care of my daughter and taking care of Scoutie Girl. I'm up at 6am, Lola's up at 7am and from there the back & forth begings. At naptime, I attempt to take care of business - and if I'm lucky, myself. After dinner, I work until 11pm.
Lots of emails to answer, which I'm terrible at. Lots of twittering - man, that thing has changed my life! Not only am I able to grow SG through twitter but I've made great friends, talked to people in positions that still boggle my mind, and literally network my heart out. I have 3-4 posts to write per week day and edit another 1-2 from contributors. When I'm not managing SG, I'm doing freelance Wordpress design and developing new projects.
05. what does the future hold for scoutie girl?
The future is bright for Scoutie Girl. Since I took over in July, average page views per day have nearly doubled. I'm looking to do that a few more times this year. My mission for Scoutie Girl is that it will continue to be a place where readers come to find amazing handmade design, thoughtful writing, and engaging stories of crafters & artists. My success rests on the success of this crazy handmade experiment. If I am successful in bringing the message of this movement to as wide an audience as possible, communicate the benefits of this lifestyle, and aid the artists in realizing their dreams, my success as a business owner is guaranteed.
I like those odds.
06. can you offer advice for other first time shop owners / bloggers?
Focus, focus, focus. In an effort to try to make money, many people try to broaden their appeal to as many people as possible. You want to do just the opposite, imagine a very specific person, think about her style, her likes, her dislikes, where she goes on a daily basis, where she goes for special occasions. And create your work just for that person - whether it's writing a blog or designing jewelry or stationery or home decor. Make your target audience ridiculously small.
That person (imagined or not) will have to have your product.
And so will many, many other people who want to be defiant by purchasing something not meant for them.
Really, it works. And your work will be cohesive, original, and stand out from the crowd because of it.
07. if you could pick one place to be right now where would it be and why?
Oh my! A college campus. Preferably my alma mater but any college campus will do. I feel so at home in the middle of a quad - even if the kids are 10 years younger than me now.
b: http://www.scoutiegirl.com | http://www.taragentile.com
thanks for the interview, tara! it's great to 'meet' you! thank you for supporting the hand-made community with such passion. you are truly inspiring; i really don't know how you find time for it all!
if you'd like to submit a shop for the Nice To Meet You collection, send an email on over to firstname.lastname@example.org
images submitted by Scoutie Girl
Posted by SweetBeaker at 9:19 AM