In the series “Professional Crafters” we will be having interviews with (small) business owners that monetize their crafting skills. The goal of this series is to give you an exclusive insight in what drives these entrepreneurs.
In Episode 1 we will be having a chat with Lisa McKew from OneOakDesigns.
If you like the interview or have questions, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.
Lisa McKew is founder of OneOakDesigns. She works full-time creating beautiful things which she sells on her successful Etsy Shop and Website. Also make sure to check the OneOakDesigns mega bundle with $300 worth of goods for just $29
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Lisa McKew. I have 2 grown children and live with my husband of 25 years, 2 cats, and a dog in the country in Virginia. I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland.
I enjoy gardening, cooking, sewing, and machine embroidery. I’m also kind of addicted to Seinfeld reruns and The Food Network.
How did you get introduced into Crafting
I have been crafting in some fashion for as long as I can remember. My mother was not particularly crafty, so we did not have craft supplies in the house like I do now. I remember when I was about 12 years old, I made some Christmas ornaments using blown-out eggs, cotton balls, old Christmas cards, Christmas wrapping decorations, and clear nail polish! I still have those ornaments and hang them on my tree every year!
Tell us about OneOakDesigns
I create designs for crafters to use with their electronic cutting machines. The hardest part of my job is coming up with new ideas for designs! Many times, a request for a custom design will be my starting point for a new design. Or sometimes, an idea will come to me in the middle of the night! Many times, my ideas come to me when I decide I’m going to learn a new tool in my software and I discover the fun things I can create with it.
I do all of my designing in Adobe Illustrator. It’s an expensive (but powerful) program and has a pretty steep learning curve, but there are lots of online classes and tutorials to help you learn. Once a design is created, I test it in several different cutting machine software programs to make sure there are no problems with the cut lines, etc. Then, once I fix any problems, I save my designs in several different file formats so that they can be used with most cutting or graphic software programs.
Once I’ve tested and saved my design, I create a finished project using the design so I can photograph it for my Etsy shop and my website. Sometimes I do a mockup using Photoshop if it’s not practical to make a real sample (a car decal, for instance – I’d have a hundred decals on my car if I didn’t do mockups!).
Then I list my new product on Etsy and my website.I make sure the pictures are sized correctly and that that the description is clear and concise. I try to answer all the questions so buyers won’t have to ask.
I also help people after their purchase. Many buyers are new to their software and cutting machine, so I’ve made several video tutorials to help people use their new files. You can find my videos here: One Oak Designs YouTube Channel . I also have a blog where I like to share new products that I find and links to my free designs!
I really do enjoy helping “newbies”. I always tell people, “we’re not born knowing this stuff!” That seems to put them at ease when they are hesitant or embarrassed to ask questions. We were all there at one time.
What tools do you use
My first electronic cutting machine was a $4,000 Pazzles back in 2004 before cutting machines became a craft-room staple. I used it to make die cuts for my scrapbooks. I sold it when I realized that it was way too much for me (and I needed the space – it was huge!). Fast forward a few years and I bought a Silhouette Cameo. The Studio software that comes with the Cameo is very nice for designing, but they have restrictions on selling designs in their format. So when I decided that I’d like to start selling my designs, I started looking into other designing software. That’s when I discovered Illustrator. I bought a Cricut so that I could test my files more thoroughly before putting them up for sale. so I’m glad I have (and I use) both.
Even though it’s really not my “thing”, occasionally, I will get a request for a finished product rather than a design file. In those cases, I use vinyl or cardstock, depending on the job. I really like the heavy cover stock that Fed Ex Office (formerly Kinko’s) sells. It’s great for greeting cards and any type of box you want to make. It’s called Classic Crest Cover, #04456. Just ask for it at the counter. For vinyl, I buy from various sources, including Amazon and eBay. My favorite place to purchase HTV is HeatTransferVinyl4U. I’m particularly fond of the Easy Weed Stretch for t-shirts. For other applications, Oracal 651 is my go-to vinyl. And I just discovered Oramask 810 for cutting stencils for glass etching. I order that from www.thevinylspectrum.com.
What is your favorite piece of craft
My favorite thing is almost always the latest thing I’ve created. For now, it’s a Valentine’s Day card with a cut-out filigree heart design. This design is not only perfect for Valentine’s Day, but it would be great for Mother’s Day, Weddings, Anniversaries, Engagement announcements, and more. It’s so new, it didn’t make it into the Bundle, but you can grab it here: Filigree Heart Card .