Sept 1, 2012
An additional benefit of being an Etsy Shop Owner is that one meets wonderful people! I met Kimi when she sent a message asking if I could create a customized heart that had the letters SHMILY (See How Much I Love You)!
“ℓ♥√عℓ♥√عℓ♥√ع AWESOME! fast shipping and SUPER great service for a custom order with a deadline for anniversary! and BEAUTIFULLY presented!! thank you SO much!! i LOVE it and will be spreading the word…(after our anniversary)! Love to you, Kimi”
And, well…. the rest of the story is a rich and enjoyable association!
What a great name for your brand! How did you select that name for and how does it connect to your product?
Our studio got its name from a traveling experience. We drove from Florida to the west coast. The rock formations are amazing, some of which are called grottoes, and as Christians, we believe that our artistic talents are a gift from God that we are grateful for all the way down to our toes!
As we traveled and marveled we tossed these concepts around, along with the amazing earth the Lord has given us to enjoy and we decided to call our studio Grah (from grateful) Toe (to our toes) to create the name Inspired Creations from Grah-Toe Studio!
Who designed your avatar and why did you choose the color green?
Our banner was designed by NightBlooming. We had the idea but she made it come to life! We both love green…it is the color of life and growth and to us it’s beautiful!
How long and what inspired you to get started carving hair forks and other creations?
Stacy and I have both been artists as long as we can remember. We both started creating as young children and never really stopped! Stacy has been doing wood working and creating small wood creations for over 30 years.
He started making combs but was not satisfied with the outcome with the tools available to him at that time.
Although Stacy lost some fingers on his left hand in 1996, he is able to pursue his creative passion in wood working. He modified some of the existing tools too. I wrote a blog post about the story of how Stacy met the challenges life has placed in his path on the Grah-Toe Studio blog.
Stacy has always been artistically gifted with using his hands. Here’s a picture of a chain he carved in a toothpick AFTER losing his fingers!
People always want to pull on it when they hold it, so to make it safe for display, Stacy made the base and put the chain in the tube!
When I needed a way to hold my very thick long hair, as I did not want to keep cutting it off, Stacy made a wood fork, or a large comb, for me, and I loved it and it worked well, so we took off from there!
We started designing hair forks specifically aimed at long, thick extreme hair. There were a few other hair fork makers at the time and we made sure our fork designs were nothing like theirs! Ours are large, bold and made to not break when used in extreme hair!
Tell us what you love best about your art and how it fills your life.
We love to help people with extremely long and thick hair be able to keep their hair with a beautiful and sturdy way to put it up .
It is meeting other people who love long hair and finding the perfect design and creating something for them that can be not only used every day but passed down as a family heirloom brings us so much joy! To know that they can keep their hair and keep it managed beautifully without headaches, pulling and poking plastic things. It makes us really happy to help in the long hair journey people are on, no matter where they are starting or heading!
What made you decide to sell your products?
Well, we had done a few craft fairs and always wanted to do a full time creating business, but it really started when it became a necessity and we both were out of work! We believe everything happens for a reason. We would not have pushed and taken the jump had that situation not been what it was. So although we started the shop out of necessity, the art and the joy of creating was already in our hearts and plans for years.
When we had made enough snowflakes and wood turnings to get started we were free to work on refining the designs of our new hair fork creations.
What has creating your small business taught you?
Wow, so many things!! It certainly is NOT easy, and anyone who thinks having your own business as your income is a breeze has never done it! We have had to learn photography, lots more computer skills than we had, marketing, accounting…all this plus keeping our designs fresh, fun, relevant and available is more than a 9-5 job!
We wake up working and we drop down working at the end of the day. One thing we did learn after the first 2 years that I would emphasize to any new online or full time artists, is to be sure and take time off every week for yourself AWAY from work,… it is so important for your health of mind and body. We didn’t do that the first 2 years and it was not good. We take one day off to rest, and we “punch out” after dinner every day and do something for ourselves, our house, each other or just to relax.
What does your blog offer your followers?
We have a THE WORLD NEEDS MORE LOVE blog but it is so hard for me to get there regularly! We really use Facebook so much more for our announcements and interactions…but our blog has some great videos and links to other things that are very relevant, and we do try to post once a week.
What else would you like us to know about you and Grah-Toe Studio?
We truly love what we do, and love every one we get to meet and talk hair with. Doing custom orders with people is one of my favorite processes, getting to know their hair and their needs and wants as far as design, hold and their hair goals. We put our heart and soul in to everything we make and do, from the picking of materials, creating of forks and sticks, to the packaging and messaging process. We do our best to treat all of our clients as we would like to be treated when buying art! Our hair art is truly uniquely different than anything anyone else is making, and we intend to keep that standard going!
FYI: A couple of years ago I bought the Grah-Toe Studio hair fork shown below for my daughter-in-law.
Thank you Stacy, Kim and Grah-Toe Studio for helping the M-I-L (Mother-in-Law) give a treasured gift!
Can’t wait to receive my box of snowflakes and hang them as part of my holiday decor!