DQYDJ an exclusive interview with Etsy's coolest nun, Beebeebee

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Original Post

I'd like to start by saying the warm welcome the first interview received was greatly appreciated.

When deciding who the subject of this next spotlight would be, we knew we had to answer to a higher authority. No, not the forum moderators. Nope, not Tiger Woods' attorneys. The big man himself. The big JC. So I greyhounded my way to New York to find our own bawdy and bodacious Sister, Beebeebee on her knees (as usual). But she was gracious enough to take a break and sit with me for some questions.

Q: Wow Sister!?! Do other nuns typically have breasticles as large as yours?
A: Thank you for noticing, Knot! No, most nuns choose to wear bras that minimize the size of their bosom. My philosophy is, what Jesus gave me is a blessing. I love to share my particular blessings whenever possible.

Q: How did you originally get into the business of making things?
A: Well, I was always drawn to the arts. As a teen, I was always hanging out with the musicians and artists. In fact I dated many, many men who eschewed the typical workaday lifestyle. Mostly they just slept with me and drank all my beer. I would attend many parties to celebrate art openings or rock shows.

One day, after awakening naked in a rosebush with my panties hanging in a nearby tree, it occurred to me that I needed to nurture my soul.

I joined the local Franciscan Order and thus began my training. We made lots of rosaries and I found that I had a talent for it.

Q: What made you decide to sell your wares?
A: At a church bazaar, a friar from a neighboring Order was eyeing the lovely rosary hanging from my belt. He asked me where I got it and when I told him I made it myself. He took me aside and we had a long, deep conversation about the Rosary. I had seen etsy while doing a search online and it all just clicked! I was making no money to begin with, where could I go but up?

Q: Tell us about your previous working situation.
A: Well, my popularity with the priests was becoming a bone of contention between me and the other sisters. Often my Mother Superior would assign me the shittiest tasks to remind me of my subordination. Then there was Sister Francis. She was always trying to kiss up to Mother Superior, sabotage my cooking and be generally bitchy to all the other Sisters.

Q:Does the church approve of your craft/business?
A: My crafts are somewhat controversial and are not officially backed by the church. By bringing the power of the saints to non-catholics, I am “stealing their thunder”.

Q: When you first started selling on Etsy, did you have dreams of quitting your day job?
A: Oh yes. It was my dream to be creating and living off my wares. I have the soul of a true artist. I pictured myself living in a soho loft awash in piles of beads and Miraculous Medals.

Q: What have been the most effective ways of marketing your shop?
A: I Twitter, and chat in the Forums, I do ads on Craft Cult, but honestly nothing has been effective in increasing sales. I keep getting told- “Oh you should Facebook, you need to blog” but when would I have time to do anything else? I might have to hire an altar boy to start tweeting for me.

Q: How did you identify your target market?
A: Really, I have no target market. It’s a crapshoot.

Q: Have you ever prayed for sales and has it worked?
A: Yes. And no.

Q: Walk us through your typical workday:
A: Well, I awaken at dawn. Morning prayers then the A.M. Mass.

A little wine, then I get down to beading.
I chat on the forums and promote all day.
A little lunch. Check the store for sales. Take out my frustration on the mailman.

Then I do my sales prayer:

( Sweet Jesus in heaven, you died for our sins. Please cast a divine eye upon me and my humble storefront. Bless me with the bounty of sales as you did with the loaves and fishes. I beseech thee, do not leave me to die in the shadow of cheap Mexican and Chinese imports of lower quality. Lord, hear my prayer, Amen.)

More wine. Then I visit the sisters and gossip for a good while over irish coffees.

The evening is spent taking photos and listing new pieces, bitching on the forums and flailing myself for my failure. I usually say the rosary before bed before collapsing in a sobbing heap.

Q: What do you enjoy most about not having a day job?
A: Not having to bust my ass waiting tables or scrubbing the abbey floor with a toothbrush. The lack of assholes around just waiting to annoy you and make you do menial tasks for little to no pay. I can do my own thing and still make little to no money.

Q: Does being a nun affect your Etsy business?
A: Sometimes. I think people are a little scared of nuns. Like the ruler is going to fly through the computer screen and hit people.

Q:What font would Jesus use?
A: Oh, I like to think of Jesus as a Mistral kinda guy.

Q: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
A: Set low expectations.

I realized what a failure I was when I discovered that the books were not adding up well. I had spent a fortune on supplies only to find that at $37.50 a week in sales (on a good week) , it would take 78 years to pay off my supply bills.

It was then that I shit my pants.

So….. yeahhh set low expectations.

Q: What advice would you give someone else?
A: Do not follow your passion. Passion does not automatically equal cash. Do what is trendy. If it’s cowls, do cowls. If it’s stuff with moustaches on it, moustache everything.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share?
A: Let’s see what else is there? I learned this on the forums the other day- “Hard before beer, you’re in the clear. Beer before hard, you’re in the yard.” Wisdom from the community.

Q. Is there anything you'd tell new Etsians to specifically avoid/embrace?
A. Avoid getting all excited about your store. Odds are, you will be back behind the bar at the strip club soon enough.

Embrace a simpler life. Eating Ramen Noodles and Kraft Dinner (if you’re Canadian), Walking everywhere when you can’t make those car payments. Shivering near the space heater when you can’t afford heating oil.

Really, the Etsy life is just like living in the Abbey.

Posted at 4:20pm Feb 19, 2010 EST


Damn right.

Will I ever get my income above the poverty line?

Posted at 4:33pm Feb 19, 2010 EST

love it!!

Posted at 4:38pm Feb 19, 2010 EST

luckyshots says

Another fascinating and insightful interview, Knotworkshop!

Posted at 4:40pm Feb 19, 2010 EST

priceless!! pearls of wisdom.

Posted at 4:43pm Feb 19, 2010 EST

ArtdeJoie says

Love the humorous Business threads - thanks!

PS: I can relate to this one: Q: What advice would you give someone else?
A: Do not follow your passion. Passion does not automatically equal cash. Do what is trendy. If it’s cowls, do cowls. If it’s stuff with moustaches on it, moustache everything.

Clearly, I should be making owls, foxes, and other more saleable motifs - dang artistic integrity - gets me every time. :)

Posted at 4:46pm Feb 19, 2010 EST

Beebeebee says

Thank you. I am always glad to share my experiences with the community.

Posted at 4:53pm Feb 19, 2010 EST

LOL.... So cowls and moustache everything it will be.

Posted at 5:11pm Feb 19, 2010 EST

Beebeebee says

Cowls or owls.

Posted at 6:18pm Feb 19, 2010 EST

dotsdiner says

Totally hot nun, and big breasticles at that! You should make rosaries that would fit over a cowl, or maybe owl rosaries, I don't know.
I used to be excited about my shop too, now I've just resigned myself to the fact that I'm really just here because I like to buy fabric.

Posted at 6:28pm Feb 19, 2010 EST