A Conversation with Taylor Hart of Nothing But a Pigeon
The one retail shop that carries my delightful handmade goods is The Burlap Bag in Austin, TX. I've have my work with them since January, and as a result I've been following their various social media accounts. Several months ago, they posted a photo of Taylor Hart's work as Nothing But a Pigeon on Etsy. She makes crocheted taxidermy animals. Yes, you read that correctly. I instantly fell in love, and when I started this generation of this blog, I knew I had to get an interview with her. She was really great when I approached her about the idea, so we had a conversation over Facebook IM one night! We talked about the start of her business, selling at craft shows, and crafting in general. I began with asking her to give a little background about herself.
Taylor Hart: I'm originally from Columbus, Ohio. My husband and I moved to Austin, Texas about 7 years ago and never looked back.
Emily: I've always wanted to go to Austin. What brought you there?
T: It's really a fun place! I wasn't happy in Ohio and the winters were just so rough. Matt was ready for a change too. His twin brother lived in Austin and we came to visit him one spring break and fell in love with the city. A few months later we moved. It was the scariest most fun time in our lives. Everything was new and different.
E: Well, as i told you in the Etsy convo, I found you through The Burlap Bag from something they posted to Instagram. It was of your crocheted taxidermy animals and I fell in LOVE. It's such a cute idea. Where did the inspiration for that come from?
T: Dawwww! Thanks! It's a funny story actually....I was trying to crochet one of those "dead fox scarves" and the head just looked like a mess when I attached it to the scarf. My husband suggested that I mount it on a plaque like a "taxidermy head" and I did. We hung it in our house and everyone that came over just loved it so I started to make some more to hang around the fox. People started asking me to make them for them so I did and then I just started selling them and then opened my Etsy shop soon after. I still have the first fox head I ever made...it's horrible.
E: So the Etsy shop started with the taxidermy.
T: Pretty much. I opened my Etsy store when I was into embroidering but then closed it down and opened it a year later again to sell the taxidermy.
E: Had you been selling the embroidery in gift shops?
T: No...I wasn't even serious about it really....strangely I was embroidering animal heads. Nobody bought anything and I never updated my shop and I just thought "oh well," and closed it down. I still embroider but just for myself.
E: How long have you been crocheting?
T: I started crocheting about a year after I moved to Austin so about 6 years. I taught myself from a beginners book and then worked my way up to Amigurumi guys and then started making my own patterns.
E: At what point did it become a business?
T: I started getting too many orders from friends and co-workers. I was just doing it for fun at first but then I was like "Hey... this is a lot of work." I started charging people (not nearly enough) and then started my Etsy store soon after.
E: So are you only on etsy or do you do craft fairs?
T: Oh yes! I love craft fairs. I do local shows here and there (in Austin and Houston) and am about to do Austin Craft Riot's Summer Show in Mid August. I told myself that I wasn't going to do anymore Summer shows that were out doors...it's just too hot. Ha ha. Austin Craft Riot (ACR) is a small group of local crafters. It's a pretty cool group.
E: And you've done well at them? I've been having a lot of trouble with craft fairs around here. I think because there aren't many TRUE craft shows that are real handmade goods. It's a lot of crap being passed off as crafts. I feel like the vibe might be different in Austin.
T: Yes.. I've actually done really well. The craft scene in Austin is really big and people go to the shows knowing that they are going to be paying more money because it's all hand made goods. ACR does a crazy good job promoting themselves too.
E: So...switching gears for a second. I know you blog...blogging is fun :)
T: Oh yes! I also have a lifestyle blog "Nothing but a Pigeon." It's more about me and my husband and our life in Austin. I love fashion too so there's also that.
E: Yes, i noticed a few outfit posts. Has the blog been around since you moved?
T: Kinda the same deal...I think I started it about the same time I started my Etsy store. I wasn't really sure what direction it would go in at first. I think it was December of 2010 when I started it.
E: Do you have a lot of readers? Or...I guess like a loyal fan base that comes back for every post?
T: I do now. It's actually nice...there are also other local bloggers that I'm friends with too. I co-write for two other blogs as well. So I have readers from those blogs commenting on my post and visa versa. The other blogs I write for are "Pop Shop Houston"... which is a craft group in Houston and "Flocked Together"... which is a group of girls all around the USA that trade clothing and then write and post about how they styled the item. It's really fun and I've made some really good friends.
I'd like to thank Taylor for doing this with me! If you live in or around Austin, or if you'll be traveling there soon, go visit her at the Austin Craft Riot Summer Craft Show! And now for the usual barrage of links!
Go follow Taylor here:
Thanks for reading! I'd love to do more interviews like this in the future, so if you have any recommendations, let me know!