Every week we feature a different online crafting store we’ve recently fallen in love with. This time around we’re chatting with Amanda and Sean Siska, the owners and operators of Bread and Badger on Etsy. With almost 3,000 transactions and a 100% positive feedback rating, this super-selling Etsy shop features irreverent etched glass. Customers of Bread and Badger praise this shop for its superb craftsmanship and fast shipping.
How did you get into your craft? When did you start?
I discovered glass etching by accident. In 2005 I was looking for an unusual way that I could use my love of drawing to create interesting jewelry. I realized I could draw directly onto glass pieces with a Dremel tool, and then turn them into pendants. That quickly branched out into drawing onto 3-dimensional objects like vases and candle holders, which moved into the more functional world of drinkware. It wasn't until 2008 when demand became too high for me to continue hand-engraving each piece, and I upgraded to a professional sandblasting system, that my husband and I could operate together.
I’m inspired by fun, humorous bits of nostalgia that remind me of being a kid. I like things that aren't too feminine and inspire good stories.
When did your shop open?
I've been selling online since 2005, in one form or another. I've taught myself web design, so there's always been a desire to sell things online right from the beginning, even when I didn't know what I really wanted to make.
How did you come up with the name for your shop?
I'm really inspired by how fearless badgers are, especially honey badgers. I knew that I'd have to face a lot of my fears if I was going to run a successful business, so I adopted the badger as my totem animal. The "bread" part comes from the idea of "bread and butter" — where your money comes from. I knew that I wanted this business to be my bread and butter, so I turned the phrase into something that completely described what I wanted the business to be for me.
How many hours a week do you spend crafting?
Well, in all honesty, I don't do very much crafting anymore. I spend most of my time online, and I only spend a few hours a week making products. It's not really what I expected to be doing when I started the business! When I do have some free time, I like to spend it knitting in the evenings, or trying to design new packaging or booth displays.
What’s your personal favorite item in your shop?
I'm really proud of the one-of-a-kind pieces that I've made by hand. There's an engraved chess board which I drew my favorite foods all over, which has been one of my favorites forever. There's also a reclaimed black ceramic vase on which I drew an ornate jellyfish. This was one of the most fun pieces to work on.
What is one of your favorite online shops/sellers?
Oh, I have so many! Especially since moving to Portland and making friends with so many amazing crafty people. But I'll mention one of my favorites from way back: Traveling Rhinos. She dyes and spins yarn, among lots of other crafty things, and I've just always loved her color combos. I've been trading with her at events for years, and her yarn is always my favorite to knit with!
What's one important lesson you've learned about your craft?
I've learned to not be so attached to things if they break or don't turn out perfectly. Working with glass means there's always a tiny chance that something you've been working on will just shatter at some point, whether its in your hands at the time, or somewhere in the mail. That's just the nature of the material, so there's no use fighting it. Just pick up the pieces, and make another one.
Have a simple tip for others who do your craft?
If you like etching glass, or want to start, there are a lot of different tools and materials you can use to do it. Experiment with new ones! Each technique has its pluses and minuses, so get to know all your options before you settle in with just one, and there are a lot of items you can etch. It's such a great medium!
Do you have an official site or blog?
Yes! My website now contains all my blog updates as well.
What blogs or sites do you enjoy for tips and ideas?
I have about 75 subscriptions in my feed reader, but my favorite daily updates are from Design*Sponge, Modish, Laughing Squid, Man Made DIY, and Regretsy. Between them, I'm constantly getting new inspiration.
What's your favorite time of day to work?
I get a lot of busywork done and emails written when I first wake up, before I eat breakfast. This is probably my favorite time of day because it's all fresh and new, and I like feeling like the whole day is ahead of me. During the busy season, we stay up super late at night cranking music or watching TV while we pack up orders or make new things, which can be really fun too. It's nice that I enjoy pretty much everything about working for myself!
Image credits (from top): Amanda Siska