Shop Talk: Sweet Harvey

10 Nov

One of the very first shops to catch my eye on Etsy is a shop that is considerably simple. It sells letterpress paper goods and other materials one can print upon. I browsed the shop weekly, planning what I would buy when, one day, I saw something new.

The shop had started to offer screenprinted totes, and I found one in an adorable, candy apple red flapper girl. I ordered the incredibly reasonably priced tote, and I carry it with me often.

My adorable tote. Click on the image to check it out further.

The successful Etsy shop in question is called Sweet Harvey, a name, Sweet Harvey’s blog tells me, that is derived from her grandfather, the sweetest man she knew. The story (and his photo — how cute is he??) made me love the shop even more.

You should love it, too. Meet Brandi Powell, of Des Moines, Iowa.

Tell me about letterpress. Letterpress is an intensive process that requires time, skill and patience. It started as a 15th century relief printing technique achieved by inking a type-high raised surface and pressing that surface image into paper. The amount of impression or debossing that appears is controlled by minor adjustments made by the printer. Each sheet of paper is individually hand-fed through a vintage printing press one color at a time. Letterpress is an intensive process that requires time, skill and patience.

I did an article for the Etsy Storque this spring with all kinds of letterpress information/photos.

This adorable fox is one of the many letterpress options in Sweet Harvey, and it's one of the shop's best selling items. Click on the image to see more.

How did you get involved in letterpress? My drawings start out as very rough sketches, but they all end up in digital form. Letterpress came about in looking for a way to bring my digital illustration work into a more tangible, handmade form. Once I had decided on the medium, the challenge was finding a press and learning how to use it.

How do you come up with your designs? Are they all your own? All of my artwork is my own. I basically think of an idea and start sketching. If it is something that I have never drawn before, I do research on the subject’s anatomy so I have a basis to start my drawing. Although all of my work is more illustrative than realistic, it is always good to have a basis to start from.

What are your favorite items and/or designs in your shop? Right now, I am actually stuck on my screen-printed work, but that is only because I enjoy being able to mix the printing with fabric. And of course being able to wear my own work is super fun.

Want to wear some Sweet Harvey, too? This screenprinted scarf is one of her wearable options and a best-seller. Click on the image to see more.

As far as letterpress goes, my prints are my favorite because they are a bit larger, so I am able to spend more time on the drawings.

Tell me about some of your favorite items you’ve purchased on Etsy. I have purchase many fun things on Etsy! My favorites right now are my flower hair clips from crafteemcgee

A flower hairclip by Craftee McGee. Click on the image for more.

… my owl fridge magnets from mylittlechickadee


Owl magnets by My Little Chickadee Creations. Click on the image for more.

… and my apron from sassyapron!


An apron from Sassy Apron. Click on the image for more.

What are three pieces of advice you’d give to other sellers?

  1. Work on your photos! I know you hear it all the time but it’s true. I still have a long way to go with mine, but I am getting there. Having better photos has allowed me to be featured many places that I would not have been before.
  2. Marketing. If you really want to make your business profitable you have to be everywhere all the time. The way the world works right now is “out of sight, out of mind.” You have to work at it with social networking, joining groups and communities, and advertising. That is what worked for me.
  3. Have fun. If your art becomes more work than fun, then you best fix that right away! Art is your enjoyment time so be sure to keep it that way!

What’s your favorite item in Sweet  Harvey?

One Response to “Shop Talk: Sweet Harvey”

  1. Brandi Powell November 10, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    Thank you so much for the super fantastic feature! Honored to be on your list of shops to love!

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