I got the chance to talk (over e-mail) with the lovely Leanne Heller of Happy Cat Lights! She was kind enough to tell us about her new indie craft venture and what inspired her to make these unique lamps!
What inspired you to start making the lamps?
I made my husband a lamp at his request, and he posted it on a website forum he frequents. Then, people started asking if we could make them one, but with their own designs. He created a website for us, and things kind of steamrolled. It’s a great way to do something artistic and unique- I’ve been in offices & stores for 11 years, and I’m hoping that our lamps take off- crafting is so much more fun!
Why do you enjoy this craft more than others?
I’ve always enjoyed arts & crafts- in my spare time, I like to knit & crochet and to paint. I love putting things together, and so I really enjoy designing these lights. We like to think we’re unique in that we offer a completely personalized product. Customers send us a description, or upload an image to our site, and then we send them a quote with the price and a link to their order & payment information. If we get a green light, the next step for me is to spend about an hour or so working in Photoshop to create a template from their request. Sometimes I’ll print it out and sketch it, if the design requires more hands-on work.Then, we carve the design into paper (we offer a range of solid or with different patterns for the background paper, and if someone wants a pattern we don’t have, chances are we can find something close) by hand- I used to use plastic, but carving out plastic with x-acto knives and scissors is pretty painstaking work, so we switched to paper, and now we can create a much more detailed design.The cutting process can take anywhere from 20 minutes to this one lamp that took 5 hours. We try to stick to 2 days for the quote, 2 days for the design completion, then 2-5 days for shipping. Everything is sent priority, and we have a shipping calculator built into our site, so you pay exactly what we pay, rather than a higher flat rate.
What has been the most fun part of having your own business?
There are a lot of fun parts to having our own business! Any business has day-to-day problem solving, and I really enjoy discussing the business details with my husband. I tend to get very focused on whatever I’m doing, and it’s nice to be able to share that with him. I think his favorite part is finding new programs that will make our ordering process more streamlined- he’s very tech-minded, which is so helpful! Then there’s the drawing itself- any crafter can relate to the satisfaction of pouring all your efforts into making something, especially if it’s tailored to someone specific, who will really enjoy it. Getting new orders is also always fun- each order is a surprise, because people are so creative- one of the great things about customizing the designs on the face of the lights is opening up our files and viewing completely different image requests. It’s always a challenge to figure out how to translate a painting or an idea or a photograph to a stencil format, and I never would have come up with so many interesting ideas on my own! It’s a terrific way for people to express their own creativity and personality, and then to receive a finished, polished product that they can put in their homes, or give to friends or family members.
What is the cost of these amazing lamps?
The total cost, which includes the lamp, artwork, bulb, and everything you need to hang it, starts at $45. You will also have to pay for shipping, which usually costs between $5 to $15 depending on your location. You can also order additional designs for your lamp for a reduced price, and we’ll pay the shipping costs. This means you can switch out your designs whenever you’d like, as it’s pretty easy to change them. We try to keep the price low whenever possible, but some designs can be much more time intensive than others. View examples on our store gallery to get an idea of pricing, or you can email us at email@example.com for a quote request.
And because Happy Cat Lights is so awesome they are giving all Indie Craft Gossip readers 10% off with the coupon code “craftgossip”
Thanks so much Leanne!