Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Spotlight: J.Crabbit & the Etsy Blog Team

I thought I’d diverge from usual musings today and bring you a something new: an interview.

A big part of the Etsy life is the community. There are many teams you can join and forums you can speak out on, or simply dialogue with other makers. One of the teams I belong to is the Etsy Blog Team (EBT). As much as I enjoy the other teams I participate in, this one has a special place in my heart because it’s full of people who love to share their experiences not only through their art, but through words. The team has been going through some changes lately and recently got a new Captain, one Mitch Wilson of J.Crabbit.
Mitch lives in Kennebunk, ME with his wife Heather and their two sons Ashton and Liam, and he tells a great story.
Tell me a little about you, and about how J.Crabbit got started…
I met my wife Heather in 5th grade.  I proposed in 7th Grade. She said no.  I waited 10 years and asked again--with a ring this time--and she said yes.  We got married in 2003.  Yes, that is a summary, but the long description of our relationship is a story all its own.
She saw the idea for an earring frame somewhere online, and asked me to make her one.  I did,  and she still keeps her collection on it. At the time she had a very successful Etsy shop called Brezomayo Designs, and she encouraged me to open a shop of my own.  So was born J.Crabbit, which actually doesn’t mean anything at all.  I like hard vowel sounds, and originally wanted to call it Jackrabbit Furniture Company.  I didn’t really care for the jack rabbit connotation and genericness (yep it is a word is use) so I dropped the A and K, and it was Jcrabbit.   Add the period, and there you have it J.Crabbit.  I already knew how to make earring frames, so that became my primary product. 

 J.Crabbit ~ Giving new life to vintage finds
What drew you to blogging in the beginning?
I remember about 8 years ago when someone I know mentioned they had a live journal--basically a diary that they were keeping online for everyone to read.   I thought that was about the dumbest thing I had ever heard of.  Little did I know that it was the beginning of blogging which obviously has become a common practice. 
I used to sit on the couch, and notice Heather browsing the internet. The pages she would look at were covered in awesome pictures and colorful fonts.  She told me that they were all blogs that she read.  I was amazed at how good they looked!  I was still trying to pimp my MySpace page.
I started my blog as a Xanga account.  I would just write about what was happening.  I love documenting.  It is fun to look back and read about what you did day by day on a vacation and the like.  When I realized that I should be on a more popular blogging site that had more options available, I switched to Blogger.  It was free and easy.  I had a very specific purpose for the Progressions blog:  show the process of creating the items I was selling.  It would provide the customer 1) proof it was handmade and 2) proof that it was art, not just an old frame.
Having a blog is not blogging...
How long have you been blogging?
I started my xanga blog Friday August 10th 2007.  I created Progressions much later but honestly, having a blog is not blogging.  So I would say I actually started this past March when I created and took the 30 day blog challenge, to post something every day for a whole month. It was amazing how all of the sudden, everything I saw in life was (and still is) a potential post.
What prompted you to revive the EBT Blog?
I discovered the Etsy Blog Team back in March not long after Karen Vowell-Mager (CremeMagnolia) and Karina Wetzel (CraftsByKarina) founded it in February.  It was great to see that after the forum makeover, someone had still created a place for Etsy shop owners who blogged to go and talk.  The EBT Blog itself was just jam packed full of useful and helpful blogging information.  Tutorials were great, PLUS the features of team members allowed us to see them and learn more about who they really are.
Summer always gets crazy, and this summer was no exception for me.  I missed a few months but when I looked at the blog a few weeks ago, I realized that it hadn’t been updated in a long time.  I was concerned because it is such a great site and resource, so I started asking questions.  I knew from the start that I wanted to get more involved in the team, so once I was able to contact the leadership becoming Captain just felt right. 
What do you see as the next few logical steps for the EBT and its blog?
The next step for me is to get the right people involved.  No one can run a team alone, and certainly not a team blog.  Besides, with the plethora of knowledge (we're over 1,500 strong) that we have on this team, why would anyone want to?  I will be taking steps to get people involved over the next week. There is still some administrative work as well, but I am excited to have this team up and running for the fall.  It is my favorite time of year!
Intrigued? The EBT and it's blog are open to all bloggers willing to abide by the rules that can be found on the EBT page. Stop by and check it out!


  1. Great interview! Excited to see what's in store for our team :)

  2. Excellent writing Nancy, Thanks for taking the time to work with me (and editing my long-windedness) Your final product, is clean and to the point, you are a talented writer for sure.

    Thanks again for working with me,


  3. Yay! I'm excited to see some new things happening! I just joined the EBT a few months ago, and honestly, I didn't even know the team had a blog of its own! I'm looking forward to reading it!!

  4. Nice interview! It's always nice to learn about the person behind the avatar. :)

  5. What a sweet story Mitch! Great post Nancy, I loved it!

  6. Very fun interview! Loved getting to know Mitch better!

  7. Awesome Interview!! I loved learning more about Mitch :)... Thank you for the shout out!

  8. Great interview! It's always fun to get a peek behind the avatar. Glad to see things revving up with the EBT.