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Part II ~ Irregular Expressions: A Mother/Daughter Team

It wasn't planned, but I love the fact that my 2-part article about this dynamic and loving Turkish Mother/Daughter team hugged our Mother's Day weekend!

Aysegul's mother, Sebahat
Crochetkween: Aysegul, are you an experienced crocheter or is your mother teaching/tutoring you?
Aysegul: I learned basic crochet stitches from my mother when I was eight years old, I was creating clothes for my dolls. I am just a beginner when it comes to crocheting with beads and my mother does not have much time to teach me at the moment. But, I plan to learn her beaded crocheting techniques and use my experience as a learner to create educational tutorials for other crocheters in the future. Other than crocheting, I have learned a lot from my mother since we started working together. She surprises me with the way she solves her creative problems; she always finds new ideas to combine different techniques, colors and design elements. She uses her tools in unexpected and imaginative ways; and she never gives up, always trying new things until she is satisfied with the result. I am inspired by her curiosity to learn new techniques, her courage to challenge herself to create something new every day. 

Crochetkween: Aysegul, you have said that you and your mother are in this business together and that you are an “enabler.” How are you enabling her?
Aysegul: I want my mother to focus only on creating, so I try to handle everything else. Managing our website and online store, photographing new pieces and listing them online, ordering supplies, preparing packages and shipping, are my responsibilities. I also share my ideas with her when she needs feedback or she wants to discuss her creative ideas. I believe the most important part of my work is answering messages and communicating on her behalf. My mother is delighted whenever she receives a message from her followers, hearing that her work is loved and appreciated makes her truly happy. I hope my mother's enthusiasm for her work and her gratitude for the compliments on her pieces are reflected well in my replies. I really love working with her and learning from her every day. My goal is to build the best environment for her to create freely without anything else in her mind. And I will continue to support her as long as she wishes to create.

Crochetkween: You say the jewelry making is time-consuming. “How long did that take” is a common question from people who know very little about crochet. Are you happy with the price people are willing to pay for your detailed works?
Aysegul: My mother works for eight to ten hours daily, seven days aweek. Each piece is completed in at least three to four days, some of them take even weeks to complete. She also spends a lot of time experimenting, she has numerous pieces abandoned half way, so even if a piece looks simple compared to others, my mother spends a lot of time to bring it to its final stage. I am not sure how we can set prices so that they can correctly reflect the time and effort my mother puts into her work. She says she would continue crocheting even without any compensation. So, our priority is sharing my mother's work with as many people as possible and making our customers happy through our work, we do not want our prices to get in the way of their excitement for my mother's creations.

Crochetkween: How long have you sold on Etsy? How did you discover the site?
Aysegul: My mother sent me her first crocheted necklaces in late 2006 when I was a student in Istanbul. I was receiving a lot of compliments whenever I wore one of her pieces. I wondered if I can find a way to showcase her work online. While surfing through the blogs of several fiber artists, I discovered that some of them are selling their work on Etsy. I could not be happier when I realized that Etsy is open to users from all over the world. My mother loved the website and she was inspired by the works of other fiber artists on Etsy. She was convinced that she could find an audience for her work there and I encouraged her to create unique pieces to list there. I told her that I would handle everything else and help her run the online store. We have been selling on Etsy ever since we listed our first bracelet in September, 2007.

Crochetkween: How did you get so lucky as to be featured in a video on Etsy? How appropriate that we are near Mother's Day 2015 and your business was a heartwarming Mother's Day feature on Etsy!
Aysegul: We were interviewed by Artizen magazine  for their November issue, in 2011. A few weeks later, we received an email from an Etsy video producer who came across our shop from a recommendation.  She loved reading our story in the magazine; and after talking to us about the details of our backgrounds, creative process and how we started our Etsy store, the video department decided to create a special video to be released on Mother's day. We would have never imagined that our story could be captured so beautifully, we will always be grateful to the talented filmmaker, Alana Kakoyiannis. We were thrilled with the wonderful feed back, and we have received a lot of messages telling us how the video brought back the precious memories of time spent with their mothers, creating things together. 

Crochetkween: I am curious about your clients. Do you have any information on the demographics of those who purchase your mother’s creations? The necklaces are very unique; what type of woman likes to wear the jewelry?
Aysegul: We have clients from all ages groups and from all walks of life: Businesspeople, doctors, illustrators, musicians, students, visual artists. Our work has been gifted to teenagers and men purchase our work for their loved ones. We feel lucky to have hundreds of people from thirty-one countries interested in our work. Our audience seems to be as varied as my mother's creations. We are not sure if there is an underlying theme or pattern that will allow us to describe the characteristics of our customers. We guess the colors, uniqueness and creativity of my mother's work somehow appeal to them, excite them. We are often surprised by the amazing feedback we receive from our customers, we are grateful for their continued support and we hope our work can bring just a little bit of joy to their lives.

Crochetkween: Aysegul shared a few of the many positive comments they have received from their Etsy clients.
March 2015-“This is truly wearable art. I've wanted a piece from this store for a long time and I'm so glad I got one. Thank you so much for sharing your gift with the world.” 

February 2015-“Aysegul and Sebahat, I love my necklace, it's even more beautiful in person. You have an incredible talent. This was one of the most memorable Etsy purchases I've ever made and the necklace is definitely the most extraordinary I own! ” 


August 2013-“The workmanship of this cuff is so exquisite and the design so imaginative that I can't stop looking at my wrist when I'm wearing it. And nor can anyone who is with me. Photographs cannot begin to do it justice. ”

May 2012-“The bracelet was breathtaking. The attention to everything--packaging, the earrings that it came with--it almost made me tear up to think that a package could be treated so lovingly for a complete stranger. ... Never have I received anything prettier, more carefully-wrapped, and yes, thoughtful.


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