Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Member Shop Spotlight

This week we are featuring: The Monkey Village
Owner: Alina Zavatsky

Sock Monkey
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Do you have a family? Do you have pets? What do you do at your day job? Or is Etsy your full time job?
Hi, my name is Alina, and I am the creator of The Monkey Village shop on Etsy. I’ve recently moved from Alabama to Washington State with my husband, Rob. I have a full-time job working as a copywriter for a small, family-owned company that sells unique products for home and family created by artisans all over the country. One of our sites is www.ArtisanCraftedHome.com. I am also the creator of Vegan Runner Eats blog (www.VeganRunnerEats.com), which currently takes up more of my time than my Etsy shop.

2. How long have you had your Etsy Shop? 
Pink Elephant Josephine
Blue Dog Ringo
I’ve opened my Etsy shop almost 2 years ago, in January of 2013.

3. How did you come up with your shop name?
‘The Monkey Village’ sounds like a happy place where monkeys live and play with each other and their friends, and every day is nice and full of joy. I wanted to reflect that happy feeling in the name of my shop so that people who bought my toys could bring a little bit of that happiness to their homes.

4. What types of items does your shop carry? 
Bernie  the Octopus
I make sock monkeys and a variety of other sock animals – a cow, two types of dogs, a boy and a girl elephant, a boy and a girl hippo, a rabbit, an owl, an octopus, etc. Each item is completely handmade (I don’t even own a sewing machine!) from the classic Rockford Red Heel socks. At this time, the majority of my toys are made to order, so I can implement various personalization details at the customer’s request as I make each toy.

5. How long have you been doing this (even before you had your Etsy shop)?
I made my first sock monkey a few months before opening my Etsy shop as a gift for my husband. George, my first sock monkey, came out pretty well, and we were joking around about me opening an online store to sell more monkeys. Then I made another sock monkey for my 6-month old nephew for Christmas, and the idea of selling monkeys online revisited me. I set up my Etsy shop shortly after Christmas of 2012.

6. What is your process? How do you find the vintage items, what do you do to prepare them for your vintage shop? What is your process for making your items? 
Rockford the Cow
As I mentioned above, I use Rockford Red Heel socks for each toy. Depending on the design, I use brown, blue or pink socks. I use a particular reinforced hand-stitching method that my mom showed me years ago to connect the sock fabric. I use a unique type of eye that’s not typical for stuffed toys, but is way more baby-friendly than button eyes. Now that I have a full-time job, each monkey takes a while to complete, sometimes as long as 2-3 weeks. By the time I’ve finished each toy, I feel like it is a part of my family, so I feel a little sad sending it out, but at least I know that it will be loved in its new home!

Alice the girl Sock Monkey
7. What inspires you?
I think of all of the happy smiles that my toys will bring with them to their new homes, and that alone is an inspiration to keep making them!

8. If you could give a new Etsian one piece of advice, what would that be?
Take great pictures of your toys! Correct lighting, background, and a bit of photo editing go a long way. That’s something I still need to work more on for my shop! The bottom line is, you can have great things to sell, but if the pictures are so-so, they may never be noticed by potential customers browsing online.

Easter Bunny Rabbit

Twitter: @veganmonkeyruns