Thanks for the Memories…Boxes, that is!

An Interview Chat with Sisters of the Moon Owner, Liss

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

She is a quiet and stately sort of lady on-line but what makes Liss of Sisters of the Moon Memory Boxes, Wiccan jewellery, beeswax candles, and tarot cards boxes tick? I hope I can do her justice in my very first attempt at interviewing an on-line shop owner, for she makes the most amazing one-off items! Not only does she single-handedly design and create every product she sells, but she is also the sole advertiser, running four social media accounts to that end. And, if that weren’t enough, Liss also creates her gorgeous photo collages which showcases her stunning work! And, somehow, she still manages to keep the tidiest and cleanest home in Surrey…I’m not that good! So, in her words, let’s see how she manages it all!

What was your biggest inspiration for beginning your business, Sisters of the Moon?

It was twofold, really. My husband died and I was left in a dreadful mess financially, due to all sorts of legal glitches and errors, so I needed to make a living. At that point I had no idea what I was going to do. I certainly wasn’t planning on creating a craft business. Sisters came out of nowhere. I was chatting to a friend about Joseph Cornell’s shadow boxes, saying I’d love to make some sort of memory boxes “with a secret hidden inside” and she said, well, why don’t you? And she ordered two on the spot! And other people saw the boxes and wanted some and things kind of evolved from there. I always say Sisters was created in adversity and forged in love.

How long has Sisters been online?

We went online in October 2013, just in time for Samhain, so that seemed like a good omen.

What keeps you going, besides the obvious reasons of any online shop owner?

Sisters isn’t just a business or a way to make money, it’s a part of me. I’ve put my heart and soul into this venture. I love what I do and it’s a privilege to be able to do that every day. I think it’s the friendship and support from my fellow on-line business owners that keeps me going. We have a fabulous little community on Twitter. We’re all in the same boat, needing to fulfil all these separate roles in a day – designer, maker, shop manager, advertising executive, sales person, accountant, administrator. It’s very demanding and sometimes it feels impossible but there’s always someone there to give you a word of advice or listen to your woes or just give you a large slice of virtual cake.

Of all your products, which are your most favourite to create?

 

Liss picture one

property of sistersofthemoon.org.uk

The Memory Boxes. In particular, custom orders because I love the ideas my customers come up with! Once I’ve been given a theme I then go off and do my research. It’s important to me that the artwork, the embellishments, any quotes – even the colour of the paint I use – are appropriate and in-keeping with the theme. I made a box for a lady who was really into the Arts & Crafts movement and one of her favourite places to visit was Watts Cemetery Chapel, in Compton, so I went along there and took lots of photographs. The “secret” inside her box was a 3D angel I created from one of my pictures of a sculpture.

Of all your stunning Memory Boxes, which one was the one you enjoyed the best making on a personal level?

Liss picture 2

I have to say, each one I make, at the time, tends to be “the one” but I had the most enormous fun earlier in the year making a Grim Reaper Wedding Keepsake Box. It was one of those projects where the customer and I were so on the same level and I couldn’t wait to send her pics of my progress each evening.

What are your favourite ways of marketing your business? Which ones works best?

The majority of my orders come from Twitter. I don’t think sending out random tweets garners much attention, you do need to be organised and take part in networking/shopping hours, connect with people, make relationships. And you do need to make the best little “ads” you can – great pics, great descriptions of your products. Pinterest, for me, is a sort of back up for Twitter. I probably should spend more time there. I was rather late to the party with Instagram but I’m getting into the swing of it now. I try to post there every day. We also have a Facebook page.

What are you most proud of with Sisters?

That I made it happen. Before I started Sisters I’d never made jewellery or boxes, or done anything remotely “crafty”. I didn’t even own a paint brush! Every time I learn a new skill I do a little dance – although I’m still quite scared of my kiln!

Do you do all the design and crafting of your beautiful Memory Boxes?

Yes, I do. I start with a bare wooden box and a theme and roll from there! The various textured finishes are all made from my own recipes. I add corners and plaques and felt the base. Each box has several coats of paint and each coat must left to cure before the next, so it’s quite time consuming. Antiquing or ageing a box takes a fair while, too. I usually have a mood board that I work around and I either create altered art or make my own. The designs evolve as they go along, really. At some point everything falls into place and the box has the face it’s meant to have – even if it bears little resemblance to my original sketch!

If there were one tool or making item you would love best to own for creating your products, what would it be?

An iPad Pro – that would be fabulous for all my artwork.

Whom are your favourite online makers at the present time?

Yourself (do people realise all your wands are hand carved?) [Editor’s note: Ah, thank you 😊], Molly G Designs (exquisite soutache jewellery), My Four Cats (the cutest cat chalets ever), Louisa Houchen (pet artist extrordinaire), ClickClackKnits ( I want an Elf Pom Pom Pixie Hat), Poochweasel (rather magical hand sculpted miniature dogs).

What are your plans for future of Sisters of the Moon, such as new products or new methods of advertising your beautiful work?

Memory box 1

Bespoke Morrigan Memory Box by sistersofthemoon.org.uk

I had planned, this year, to launch a collection of my original digital artwork and pattern designs on various products. Unfortunately, I lost a year and a half’s worth of work when I got a virus on my computer. It wrecked my external back up, my cameras, my printers – everything.  Disaster! I’m starting again from scratch but it’s going to take a while. That’s the next stage though. In the meantime, I’m working on a new collection of Goddess Memory Boxes. I’m hoping to have the first one ready in time for Yule. [Editor’s Note: These should be wonderful! Liss has already created a Morrigan box for my daughter and it is stunning!!]

Finally, how do you un-wind after a long day at Sisters? Any favourite hobbies, telly?

I read. All the time. Even when I’m hoovering if it’s a particularly good book! (Best done with an upright hoover and never on the stairs). I’m a bit of a connoisseur of horror movies (I find them strangely relaxing!) and I have a secret YouTube habit (but I’m not telling you what I watch!).

Liss, many thanks for sharing so much of your very talented and busy life with us! I think all of us will be a little more in awe of you after reading this…it is very difficult to wear so many hats in a business and still go through it all daily with as much grace as you do. And you have had more than your share of adversity but come back stronger and more creative than ever.  A little fact – you have always inspired me to give my personal best every day so I think you’ve actually made a better person of this old Crone😊 I am sure you will probably inspire many other new and older makers who read this! And, we’ll discuss those YouTube videos another time, shall we? Haha! Many thanks again!

** Sisters of the Moon posts to most countries, including US, AU, and NZ.

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