ArtisIgnis Etsy Shop

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Work & Reward

This post is something in between ranting and cheering... I know. I find it hard to explain, so you might find it hard do understand. Just bear with me to the end, please. Read on.

Let me tell you something: We work!
I mean: we really work! Very hard. Every day and every night! We don't usually take days off. We don't take Saturdays off. And on Sundays... Yep! You got it: We work!
We both have our "day jobs", so the time we have for our labor of love - i.e: ArtisIgnis - is rather limited. Pedro, as a Firefighter works 12 hours' shifts, either day or night, and Cris as a Document Manager has a fixed schedule of working from 9 AM to 6 PM (most days it's to almost 7 PM), this means that ArtisIgnis' schedule is anytime we're not working on our day jobs or taking care of our homes and families. For Pedro it's his days and nights off, for Cris it's every night and weekends.
So, let me tell you something: We work our you-know-whats off!!!
It's kind of discouraging when those that are closest to us speak little of what we do, or...when somebody complains that we "always do the same thing. Don't you know how to carve something other than hair sticks?" Or when they come up with great ideas, that we just "have to make": "Hey! I know what you have to do! You must carve a phoenix eating a vanilla ice-cream, while riding an ice-flaming dragon, who's wearing the Thinking Hat and laughing about having taken it from Hogwarts! Then just put a stick under it, and it's a hair stick! Great idea, huh?!"

Rant over. Promise.
Here comes the flip side of our coin.... Ready? Here we go!

Our customers usually have a much better perception about what is do-able or not. We've had great pieces coming out of customer's ideas and desires. We love everything about them! Working with a customer on an idea, choosing wood color and type to fit it, drawing and sketching back and forth, cutting up the final design's blank and seeing it come to "life" under the knives. It's awesome!

Let me tell you something: It is totally and utterly worth it!
I mean: Our customers really give it all back to us! How do they do it? No, it's not just that they buy what we make. No, it's not the money. It's the words, and the love, and taking the time to tell us we made their day better, their life easier, their skies bluer with our work and the love we put in every piece we make! It's words like these:
"I was wearing the first fork I bought from you, the Celtic Cat the other day and 12 hours of studying passed by before I realized my hair was still in place and I didn't have a headache as it took the weight. Wonderful! I know these are both works of art and functional items, but really, your pieces are a gift and I feel so privileged to have them." - M. A., Canada
Or these:
"Just received it ! It is absolutely flawless. Gorgeous, slides in hair without breaking and holds perfectly ! I am so happy. Will make a great review as soon as etsy lets me !
Thank you again for your beautiful work, I will wear it proudly!" - S.A.C., Canada 

This is what makes our hearts sing!
Praise to our wonderful, marvelous, amazing customers, who always come up with some great ideas, who buy our pieces because they truly and honestly love them, appreciate them, and value everything about them! We say it often, but it's never often enough: YOU ARE AMAZING! Thank you so much!

For more of what our customers have to say about us: Check this out!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Soon... We're going on vacations!

We have temporarily disabled our Made To Order section. We are preparing to go on vacations, so we need time to finish the orders we have already received. Also, we're trying to prevent getting orders that will have to be delivered during our vacations. We want - and desperately need - real vacations this year... something that hasn't happened in three years.
We have closed our long termed orders and we'll be closing the shop for vacations later this month. We wish to go away with our three kids and not have to worry about the shop, carving, wood burning, sanding, polishing, replying to emails or having to go to the Post Office, posting on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and...
We're going on vacations. Period.
It will happen from the 22nd August until the 13th September. We look forward to returning to you with our batteries fully charged and our heads teeming with new ideas and designs!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

New Made To Order Section

Hello there!

Have we got BIG NEWS for you!
We have been so, so, sooooo busy these last months! It's been crazy! Christmas season was totally awesome and  completely exhausting! Stealing hours from sleep for over a month was hard and... being the nut jobs that we are, we loved it!!!

January and the beginning of February were spent trying to recover from November and December! We really needed to rest, in order to restore the stamina and energy levels! Plus, we really wanted to re-stock our shop that was left almost empty by the Christmas shopping (no complaints here, folks!).
We kept receiving orders during January and mid February we were both utterly defeated by a nasty flu. Really, really nasty! We couldn't work for a couple of weeks!
The custom orders kept coming in and we realized we couldn't re-stock. We had no time to design new pieces, decide what to cut and carve and what to just leave alone and we were still working on orders.

     ...............Now what?!

By the last week of February we had two custom order to make trophies. 20 trophies for a Firefighter Competition and 6 other for an International Aeromodelling Competition, both of them to be completed in a short period of time. We also had in hands two Baby Boxes to be wood burned and finished, the first by the beginning of March and the second before Easter. In the Hair Accessories section, we were making them and sending them following our To Do List (first asked, first served kind of thing). It seemed we would have to keep postponing the re-stocking of our shop... But we don't like that! We have a hard time accepting that people who want our pieces cannot get them because we don't have them for sale!
Nobody likes to shop in an empty store, right?! We really needed to come up with a solution for our shop, or it would look empty and abandoned for a while still! So, after some brainstorming...  


Wouldn't it be great if you could go into a shop and see everything they sell there, even if it wasn't ready-made?
Wouldn't you like to know that you don't have to wait for that design you love so much to be available?
So, we decided to create a new section in our shop! Presenting our new MADE TO ORDER Section!
Now you can choose even a design that is not ready available and have us make it for you!

What do YOU think of this idea? Do you like it? As a customer do you see any advantages or disadvantages? We'd love to know your opinion. Please share!

Monday, August 4, 2014

New pyrography work and a tribute

It's been a while since our last post, however we have been quite the busy couple! Not much is new on the carving side, but quite a few novelties on the wood burning side, and a beautiful tribute to a dear friend. Check it out!

First, let us give you an update on Pedro's tendinitis... It's better but not good! Pedro's tendinitis has evolved into something that we can't know what it is until he makes another exam, that is scheduled for early September! Until then, he'll try to carve just enough to feed the habit, but just a little at a time since the pain and numbness get really bad!

The wood burning on the Mandala Box is finished! We think it turned out very good, but we'd also like to know what you think. It's Pedro's turn to take it and work on it some more. It will have some cool features inside and it will be varnished on the outside.
Even before we finished the pyrography on the Mandala Box, we received an order for an Om and Lotus Flower Hair Fork, which we completed and sent and hopefully will be received by the customer very soon.

As you probably know by now, Pedro is a Firefighter at Lisbon International Airport. His Chief has just retired and Pedro made this box from scratch to carry the Chief’s Service Sheet. We brainstormed the design and Cris woodburned the Lisbon Firefighter’s Coat of Arms, the Chief’s name in a beautiful font, and a text honoring and thanking him for the 34 years of exceptional service and dedication. It was with great pleasure that we made this heartfelt piece to honor a great man, an amazing human being, a natural leader and a true friend! 


We also made a new wall clock, but we'll leave that to the next post!
See you soon!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Thoughts on Etsy's Reviews

ArtisIgnis, Shawl Pin, Hair Slide, Etsy, Review, Customer service
We received this brilliant review on our Etsy shop yesterday, and it got us thinking about customer reviews...

If you're not an Etsy seller you may not know how important customer reviews are to us. The obvious reason for this is that they help build customers' trust and might be the difference between someone who just discovered us in the Etsy ocean buying from ArtisIgnis or not, but the thing is... that's not what matters the most!

Don't get us wrong! Earning the trust of our customers is crucial and a vital part of ArtisIgnis shop. However we, as the ArtisIgnis team - the people behind the shop, we are just so blissfully happy whenever we get a stellar review that it slips our minds! We work very hard, have loads of fun, we're very passionate about our craft and our shop, and we take customer appreciation very seriously. "We aim to please" might have been our motto, if Mr. Grey didn't beat us to it! ;)

ArtisIgnis, Shawl Pin, Hair Slide, Etsy, Review, Customer service
Many hours are spent brainstorming about our pieces, but also about packaging, writing thank you notes, making little gifts (yes, even our gifts are handmade!) to send with the piece someone just purchased, designing our leaflets and trying to find out what else can we do to make you happy!

When you are happy, we're happy! When you're happy, you leave us wonderful reviews, and when you do that... We're ecstatically happy about it! We celebrate!!!
These reviews mean we are doing it right, there's a sense of accomplishment that comes with them, there's this feeling of success that comes over us because that's when we feel that we truly made it! 

Late last year, Etsy updated their review system. Until then we were very proud that over 75% of our customers were happy enough with our pieces and our service to leave us a great review. Most of them were outstanding and left us teary-eyed. With Etsy's new review system we're dropping that ratio fast! We're almost at 50% and we've been racking our brains to figure out why this is happening.

Our pieces only tend to improve with time and experience and we're keeping up with our standard for customer service as we always did. We answer messages and comments as fast as we can and we strive to leave no-one without a reply. We work to the best of our abilities to communicate well, to create those special custom orders we get and we really appreciate all our customers. We haven't changed, so... What's different?!

Etsy. That's what's different! 

The new Etsy review system makes it harder for customers to leave a review, it prevents them from leaving a review until the "estimated delivery date" and the notification that their order is now eligible for review is barely visible. We think this is a very successful recipe for failing at getting everybody's purchases reviewed! It makes it easy to forget all about it if you can only write a review a week or so after you received the purchased piece!

We have had customers asking us how to leave a review, so just FYI: You can leave a review by going to Your Account -> Purchases & Reviews and finding the order you want to leave a review for. Also, here's the link to the Etsy Help page about Reviews: How do I use Etsy's review system?

So, to you, who have left us brilliant reviews on our Etsy shop, who took the time to write them and thought we're worthy of them: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You have no idea how big a deal it is for us, and we fail at explaining how perfectly wonderful we feel when we read them. All we can say is... Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

If, however, Etsy's review trap caught your words and prevented you from expressing yourself when you chose to, or made you forget a review, go get them now! Check out the status of your Purchases & Reviews, recapture the feeling of opening that package and unwrapping that piece and spill your heart out! We're sure we are not the only sellers out there who get a jolt of joy when we receive a review!

What do you think about Etsy's new review system? Post a comment with your thoughts and opinions.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Video! Floral Celtic Moon Hair Stick by ArtisIgnis

We love sharing our work with you and we found that videos make it all the more real, and absolutely show off the beauty of the carving and of the pyrography work.
We give you this video we made a while ago, of our first Floral Celtic Moon Hair Stick, hand carved by Pedro and hand wood burned by Cris. We'd love to know what you think. Should we make more videos?!

The one on the video sold really fast, but you can find a new one in our Etsy shop: ArtisIgnis Shop.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Tendinitis and a Work In Progress

Hello there!

We believe everybody is creative, in one way or another, however some people pursue that creativity much more than other, and those are the ones usually regarded as "creative". There's this quote found all over the web that we love:
 "Being creative is not a hobby it is a way of life". We find this to be very true for us! It is exactly how we think. We are naturally creative, we have this need, this urge to make things, to use our hands and to be creative. Anything can trigger this: a sound, a smell, a picture, a movie or a tv show, something we see on the street or on a garden... 
Anything and everything can get the creative juices flowing and our mind starts racing with ideas and designs and things-to-do and we have to write it down or sketch it before it vanishes in the mists of memory. Sometimes, we even stop whatever we were doing and start working on the new idea. We have to! It's right there!

However, life has a way of stopping us on our tracks, sometimes, and that is just what happened to us this week... 
Swirly Foliage Love Spoon in Cedar wood - Handcarved, Welsh tradition, Wood sculpture, Wooden spoon, Decorative, Valentine's Day, Wedding gift
As you know, Pedro does all the carving and Cris does the wood burning. It's been a while since Pedro started experiencing some pain in his right hand when carving. We though it could be attributed to the long hours of carving, or to the fact that he had been carving hard woods more often, but with time it became more evident that something was not right. We decided we needed further advice and Pedro went to the doctor. It turns out he has a severe tendinitis on the thumb of his right hand. This is the finger that pushes the knife through the wood and the one with the hardest work. By doctor's orders he should not carve, he must not carve. Heck! That hand should be in full rest for a complete and as-speedy-as-possible recovery!

So... Pedro will try to stop those creative juices from taking over and he'll rest that pretty hand of his, or else!... Cris will nag him until he does! 

In the meantime, Cris has started woodburning a new box. She has been strongly attracted by mandalas, finding them both beautiful and mesmerizing. Mandalas are timeless masterpieces, very rich with tradition and symbolism. Each mandala is unique and incredibly versatile since they convey different meanings, depending only of the creator and the observer.
It has been a while since Cris wanted to wood burn a mandala and now the opportunity presented itself. This box measures roughly 8 inches (20 cm) wide, by 4 inches (10 cm) tall. We started working on it several nights ago, but the pyrography work it self only started last night. Here are some photos of the work in progress:

This photo was taken just after transferring the design onto the wood.

Here's the first teaser photo we published on Facebook.
"Let the wood burning begin!"

After two and a half hours of work we decided it was time to go to sleep... This is how it looked then.

We're looking forward to keep working on this box. Follow each step of the way as it happens on Facebook, as it it much easier to post there on the go, than here! ;)