Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Personalized Cookie Mug (INT) Giveaway + Claytopia Interview


I was lucky enough to find the company, Claytopia, on Etsy (a site that I love for handmade gifts) and thankfully, the owner, Gretchen Wheeler, was nice enough to answer some questions for us and even offer you a giveaway that is open to International entries. I'm eyeing these Cookie Mugs myself; I might need to order one soon!

1.Since your business is an actual store, what made you decide to bring some of your products to Etsy for those around the world?

My sister and I have owned Claytopia in Erie, Pa for the last 8 years. It's a "paint your own pottery studio" meaning we supply the bisque ( unfinished pottery) and you get to come in and paint it (using underglazes). You leave it with us and we glaze it and fire it. Painting pottery is incredibly addictive! I'm always working on new projects or samples for the studio. I also teach technique classes, so we have a lot of samples from those classes. Customers love to see new ideas, but they don't necessarily want to BUY the pieces, they want to re-create the ideas on their own pieces. We only have so much room for samples, so that's when I started thinking about creating a store on Etsy.


I opened my Etsy store on Feb. 26, 2012, and it just kind of took off! I've had 161 sales in 5 months which is waaaaaay more than I ever would have guessed! I love interacting with people from all over the world, and I have really enjoyed doing some fun custom orders. I just completed 25 vases for a girl in CA to give as gifts to people in her wedding. I also recently made a "patriotic" Monster Cookie Mug for the 4th of July, and a purple Zombie mug for a girl in Australia who has purple hair! I started a Facebook page for the Monster Cookie Mugs and I've had customers post pictures of themselves with the mugs- it's so fun!




2. How did the idea of cookie mugs come about, and what are some of the more unique "faces" you've made? 

We've had the cookie mugs available to paint at Claytopia for a few years now. Our customers have come up with some great ideas on their own. I've seen the mug painted to look like Sponge Bob and Perry the Platypus! Because of trademarks and licensing, I've come up with my own cast of characters for the mugs. My very first order before I even started my store on Etsy was from a wonderful woman in Hawaii who called me at the studio and said that I HAD to paint one of my Monster Mugs for her son! Who could say no?! Upcoming cookie mugs that I'm thinking about are a Jack o' Lantern and Santa Claus!


3. What other types of items do you offer on Etsy besides the cookie mugs? Is there anything you hope to add in the future?


I have a variety of things in my Etsy store. I tend to go with trendy things that are popular in the studio: cupcakes, owls, cookie jars, but the Monster Cookie Mugs are definitely my biggest sellers. I have SOOO many ideas and fun things that I want to paint, but I don't always have the time to sit down and paint! Along with working at Claytopia, I also do interior decorating, so I am often shopping or pushing furniture around at clients' homes on my "days off"! I recently was a design assistant on Food Network's Restaurant:Impossible and was fortunate enough to have the whole cast sign a plate from Claytopia!

4. Through Etsy, are you the only one that makes these items or do you have a team?

As of right now, I am the only one that does the painting for my Etsy store. As we get closer to Christmas, I think I may have some of the employees help out. We have a really talented group of girls working for us, and they've all offered to help. The great thing about Etsy is that a lot of my pieces are "made to order" so when people purchase them they already know that it will take 5-10 days for me to get it painted and fired. The only ones I keep a number of already painted and ready to ship are the blue Monster Cookie Mugs because they are the most popular!

5. What other Etsy shops or online stores are you a personal fan of and why?


There are so many talented and creative people on Etsy! I have really tried to plan ahead for gifts and purchase things from Etsy stores rather than just running out and getting a "generic" gift for someone.

Some of my favorites are:

http://www.etsy.com/people/raspberryh

http://www.etsy.com/shop/RockinMamaBG?ref=shop_name_search_sugg

http://www.etsy.com/shop/sublimecolors?ref=seller_info

http://www.etsy.com/shop/FigJamStudio

http://www.etsy.com/people/June8Jewelry

Now Enter the Giveaway...this is my first time using Rafflecopter, so if you have problems, let me know!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/887ee60/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

48 comments:

Candace said...

Wow! These are AWESOME! And the perfect gift for about any adult. And I LOVE that owl cookie jar! Thanks so much for letting us know about the site Lauren!

And I don't know if you know this already, but the rafflecopter says that the giveaway opens 'soon'. Maybe that's just in a few minutes or something, but wanted you to know just in case.

Medeia Sharif said...

These products are absolutely charming. I love the cookie mugs.

Hilda K said...

Eeep, I love the mugs! Thank you for telling us about this lovely shop, Lauren! The products are beyond adorable! <3 And I'm always looking out for handmade gifts because there's just something very touching and lovely about personalized gifts! x)

Anyway, I checked out the shop and oh-em-gee. The cupcake cookie jar is beyond adorable! <3 Sooo cute!! x)

Maidenveil said...

Cookie Monster mug!!! Or if a koala-like mug is possible. But Cookie monster! omnomnomnom

Heather said...

This is awesome, I love your mugs! Can't wait to see the new designs!!

mary jo matsumoto said...

Such fun stuff--this mug has to be the best thing a kid (or adult cookie lover) could get! I really love the cookie jar myself!
xo Mary Jo

Kayla @ TheEclecticElement said...

Oooh, Oooh, I know what I'd do! I'd see if she could make me a yawning Totoro mug ^.^

These are SUPER adorable! Thank you both for such a great giveaway!

Linda Kish said...

I have no imagination at all. Could I just go with a monster cookie mug? They are so cute. Or maybe Yoda?


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Sam said...

Those mugs look fantastic! How convenient (and cool!) must it be to have a slot for the cookies. ;) I definitely want to get my hands on some of these. :)

kluckingbear said...

That's hard...I like them all! I guess the cupcake monster would be my choice at this current moment, though. Thanks!

Jessie said...

I think the vow mugs are cute - except I actually don't like milk... haha, so I would probably do something along the lines of a mug talking about milk and a mug refusing the milk - I definitely love the cookie slot under the mugs though! I would just put hot chocolate or water in my mug.

Thanks!

Kaitlin Boles said...

I would love to win the groom mug for my fiance, it's super cute!

Kristen said...

I love the zombie one!! :) Would totally want that. :)

Jill The OWL said...

I love them all but I also saw some owl stuff so I would beg and plead if there was any way she could somehow make a cookie mug have some kind of owl face!!! That would rock so much!!!

Terra H. said...

I'd like the pink and green Cupcake Monster Mug- Milk and Cookies Dunk Mug. Thanks.
partymix25(at)hotmail(dot)com

L-Diggitty said...

I love those paint your own pottery places!!!! I totally painted my very own zombie garden gnome for my birthday in June. I LOVE these coffee mugs - I've got some gifts I'll need to buy over the next few months so I'll check out the Etsy store!

Liviania said...

Those are all supercute - I think I'd choose something more like the Cupcake Monster mug, with lots of colors. But not that exact one.

Jenna Wood said...

I'd probably want a minecraft creeper mug.

Amy V said...

I LOVE the zombie cookie mug!! I'd get it for my hubs!

annae07 at aol dot com

Annie Rachel Cole said...

The mugs are so Cute!!!

jojlem said...

I like the pink and green monster mug...love the googly eyes!!!

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

What a fun post and fun shop those monster mugs are adorable. I would have to think about my mug...I would likely do a fun monster mug with googly eyes and then a pretty one with dragonflies. Cool giveaway!

Serenap95 said...

I would love to have one in the design of Cookie Monster.

serenap95(at)hotmail(dot)com

babalisme said...

The mug is shaped perfectly for a Frankenstein's head! An added bolt on both sides of his head might be cute too!

bxcrochet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bxcrochet said...

Love the pink zombie girl

mrs.mommyy said...

would get a family name mamotts

Giselle said...

Omg these are SO COOOOOOL!!!!

Chey.W said...

I'd make a vampire themed mug if I won ^__^

Sara Mcconville said...

I would choose the mustache

helpful heather said...

i like Monster Cookie Mug but id want it in pink with my name on it! heather.loftus@aol.com

thescreamingmeme said...

i love the zombie mug as it is! lol

ihearttoxie@gmail.com

Austin Baroudi said...

A sonic , knuckles, or shadow cookie mug would be realllllly awesome!!!

Helen said...

I like the Monster Cookie Mug in Lime Green

Karen Propes said...

Gosh, love to get a beagle cookie mug, but like the blue cookie monster too. So cute... Doggie lovers would love doggie cookie mugs.
ncjeepster@aol.com

Jennifer said...

i like the monster cookie mug
jenniferwinchester@ymail.com

Danielle said...

Cupcake! No, Zombie! No....
ZOMBIE CUPCAKE!!!
daniellepriser (at) mail (dot) com

1955nurse said...

OMG - they're ALL so cute... love the Pink Zombie, The Cupcake zombie & the Red one - that's it, an AR Razorbacks cookie monster mug!!! (Holly) Thanks for the chance....

Debbi said...

I love the Mustache mug, and I would like it to say "Don't touch Mu-Stache" or something like that. :-)

clenna said...

I'd make one that was a zombie Princess

Lynette Paige said...

I am a cookie monster freak.. so I think I would go with that!

Tami Valentine said...

I like this one:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/95534300/cupcake-mug-lime-green-hand-painted

Thanks for the chance to win!

Laurie said...

luv the cookie monster

Tabitha said...

'd like something related to grandma.
kayleefaith1228@aol.com

Terri Menke said...

I love the Zombie mug!

Jennifer Barata Allen said...

I would like the cupcake monster mug like it is with a purple bow added to it.

jmbarata21@hotmail.com

[Whatever U are, be a good one!] said...

I super love the Cupcake Monster Mug- Milk and Cookies Dunk Mug! Soooo cool :-)
Thank You So Much for the chance!
Fiona N

maryjaco1 said...

I would have a yellow smiley face cookie mug made for a good friend.