We have another amazing sponsor to share with you today! Meet Amanda, the talented and creative lady behind Nerdtastic!
1. What’s the name of your store, and what do you sell? Where did the name come from?
Nerdtastic is the name of my creative outlet & shop. I offer a wide range of different handmade items but you will mostly see jewelry, lip balm and coasters of the nerdy variety. The name started when I was planning our superhero themed wedding. Everything was nerdy and fantastic so it must be nerdtastic.
2. How did you first get the idea that you wanted to open your online stores?
There were a few factors involved. I have always been a crafty person. I love art in many forms and I love making things. While working on DIY projects like cufflinks and bridesmaid jewelry during our wedding, I started realizing how much I loved creating special gifts for other people. At this time, I also moved from Pittsburgh to Chicago where my husband lives. Having no friends yet in a new city, I started learning new techniques and creating more items since I had plenty of free time once my daughters went to sleep at night. The real push was attending Wizard World that year. Those of you who attend cons may have walked into the Sparkle vendor booth. Their shop blew me away. It was the pinnacle of everything I have always wanted to do with my life. I knew that is what I wanted to do. I opened up my shop online two months later with the end goal of having my own physical store before I turn 40.
3. Do you sell your wares in other places besides online?
As I mentioned in my last long train of thought (I do that… tangents of the mind), I do hope to have my own artisan shop someday. Currently, I sell in multiple places online and you can see me around Chicago at different comic & collector cons. (And sometimes Wisconsin, Indiana and Pennsylvania.)
4. Who are your artist/online shop role models?
Sparkle in Georgia was really my big influence but I find inspiration and drive from all artists and makers I meet. We all have this passion to want to create, bring joy to people, and to have our ideas brought to life. Every show I attend, artists bring me a spark that makes me want to keep plugging away even when I’m having an off week.
5. Who is your biggest supporter(s) and cheerleader in your life?
Definitely my family. Without a supportive husband, this would be an uphill battle. He’s known from day one that I want to turn this into a full time job which can be scary when it comes to financial security! My daughters love that their mom goes to conventions and knows how to make nerdy jewelry. (Of course, my oldest hopes I mess something up so that she can keep it.) I’ve been surrounded by artistic people (especially my sister and BFF cousin) since I was a child so now that we’re all in our 30s, we push each other’s creativity so it’s not forgotten.
6. What would you say to an iggle who wanted to open their own store?
Be prepared to be frustrated. I know it’s not shiny and happy advice, but that’s the one thing I wasn’t ready for when I first started. I opened my first shop on Etsy and sometimes you think that sales will magically start coming in. That’s not how it works and if you’re not prepared upfront for that feeling, you might quit before you give yourself a chance to succeed. It took me a solid year before online sales started coming in enough for me to see real profits. Even now, when I hit a slow week, I can be frustrated and question my motives. But you have to accept that there are ups and downs to a business and keep going.
Know your product. Know your audience. Be uniquely you.
7. What’s your favorite part of running your online store(s)?
Money? Just kidding (sorta). While making money off my art is awesome, the people make this worth it. Even when I’m having a bad show, meeting new nerds who share my interests (especially more obscure ones like a love for The Tick) make everything worth it. I can go to bed happy knowing that my work made somebody’s day better.
8. What’s your favorite product you have ever made?
Wow, that’s hard. I make so many different things that I end up having a lot of favorites. (I’m that person who’s favorite color changes with the season.) From my lip balms, I’m partial to my Butterbeer lip balm since I got it to smell like the drink at Universal Studios and I like the fake drink label I created for it. Jewelry wise, my Firefly theme lyric cuff is my favorite because I’d wear it… once I actually create one for myself.
9. What are your favorite animated shows, past and present?
80s cartoons FTW. Jem & She-Ra round out the top of my list. (I have a nice collection of dolls and figures from those shows.) After that, I have to list the 90s X-Men animated series, Gargoyles, Sailor Moon, Phineus and Ferb, and Powerpuff Girls.
10. If you were an animated character, who would you be?
I want to be the kick butt lady like She-Ra, Teela, Jean Grey, Sailor Mars, etc but I know I’m more like Queen Angella, Sailor Pluto or another ‘mom’ like figure.
11. What’s your favorite part about the IGGPPC?
Finding nerds like me. 😉 Stopping by the House Organa forums or chatting with people on twitter has been fantastic. When I was in my teens/early 20s, I used to be a part of quite a few online RPG and other fandom organizations. I met a lot of friends this way but as I got older, work and family life drew me away from that and quite frankly, I miss it! IGGPPC has really allowed me to feel included in a group again and even at the age of 35, you still want to feel like you’re not on a lonely nerdy island by yourself.
Thank you Amanda! You can find Nerdtastic online here: