Saturday, July 18, 2009

INCrowdteam Interview 7/18/09 - Theresa Kolbus a.k.a. Eclectic Collective Designs by Roboresa

There's a new girl in town, readers! Well, she's not new in town, but she's new to the INCrowdteam. It's my pleasure to introduce to you Theresa Kolbus of Eclectic Collective Designs by Roboresa.

Where were you born and raised? I was born and raised in Indianapolis. I spent a great amount of my childhood split between the east side of Indianapolis and Greenwood where I went to Center Grove High School.

Where are you now, and what led you there? I now live in Irvington. I live with my boyfriend, and I own a house just a bit west of Irvington that I rent out. I work, and in most of my free time, I play roller derby on The Circle City Socialites roller derby league. That takes up a great amount of time, but in any free time I have, I’m making new items, posting new items, or looking up business tips online.

Hey, since you mentioned The Circle City Socialites, I think our readers would love to know more about roller derby, if you don't mind. I've got a bunch of questions! Are the Socialites affiliated with the Naptown Roller Girls? Where can we find the Socialites’ schedule, and is knitting possible/encouraged in the audience? Sure! I LOVE to talk about roller derby because it’s such a huge part of my life, and I love to tell newbies about it because it’s such a fun sport to watch. The Circle City Socialites and Naptown Roller Girls are two separate leagues. We have a couple members from Naptown, and we have a lot of friends on Naptown. Our two leagues are quite different with attendance requirements and such. We have no mandatory pratice attendance requirement for members. Our schedule as well as all kinds of other information can be found at Also, we are always recruiting. I hadn’t skated in probably 12-15 years, so there’s hope for anyone! Knitting may be possible if your attention isn’t diverted to the girls on the track. I wouldn’t suggest sitting in suicide seating and knitting, or a roller girl may end up with your cap on her helmet!

What's the origin of your shop's name? I thought of Eclectic Collective very quickly and on a whim because I was really eager to get my shop started. I know it’s good to include what you do in your title/tag line, but I plan on doing a lot more than just earrings, or even jewelry for that matter - an eclectic little shop.

What types of creations do you sell in for your Etsy shop? Pretty much all jewelry. At this point, it’s all jewelry (mostly earrings), but don’t be surprised if something else shows up there. I like to try my hand at everything that I possibly can.

What's your educational background, as it relates to your work? I went to Center Grove, and from there, I went on to Indiana State, but school wasn’t right for me at the time. I’ve actually been thinking of going back for an education in some sort of business management or adult education.

What’s your real-world job? I work in auto new loss where people call to report an auto claim. I do all the in-class job training for my department, answer the help phone, and I’m the lead of quality team. I get to roll with the punches and help everyone else in rolling with them, too. Things change and move pretty quickly, and I like to help others. I also bartend on Sunday nights.

Does creating stuff run in the family? Yes, but in quite a different way. My mom always took me to this place called The Plaster Shack (down past Greenwood). We would fill our arms with little plaster figurines, wall hangings or light switch plates, and we’d go home and open the big box of acrylic paint and just paint all night. She was very into stencil painting for home d├ęcor. I really branched into more into making jewelry and decorating boxes and re-crafting old thrown out items.

How'd you get started creating? I’m really not too sure. I never took the optional art classes in high school because I didn’t think I was artsy. I found my niche at home doing my own thing. And that was really whatever I could get my hands on and think up. I started making jewelry again about two years ago. My friend Amanda puts together the Indieana Handicraft Exchange. She asked if I would want to be a vendor. I decided to pair up with another friend and do as much as I could to sell at the inaugural event. I sold jewelry and soap. I fell off the crafting boat as my schedule tightened, and I started making new items about a year ago when the derby league formed. Along with T-Shirts, we wanted to make merchandise in the form of green and black Circle City Socialite jewelry.

What's your muse, or what turns that little creative light inside you on? Really, I spark by other people. If I see that other people are being creative or made something really cool. I don’t know if I’m trying to test myself or what, but it really makes me want to clear my schedule for a day and just work away.

Tell me about the “shrink plastic” I see mentioned in your shop – is it similar to the Shrinky Dinks of my youth? YES! Shrinky Dinks are shrink plastic paper. Instead of buying the Shrinky Dinks with images printed on it (as kids we always bought the Smurf ones to make game pieces out of), you can buy Shrinky Dink shrink plastic at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. They make this plastic that you can put in your printer to print and shrink, but my printer is not so great for that. I know that #6 recycled plastic works the same way, but I’ve never tried it. I saw the coolest necklaces and earrings at a craft fair, and I was told they were made from Shrinky Dinks. I was in awe. I knew I could do that, too. Mine; however, need a LOT of work. It’s a skill that I’m still developing.

Do you belong to any Street Teams (other than the INCrowdteam)? I am not a part of any other team just yet. I’m still a newbie.

What's your favorite thing about selling on Etsy? I haven’t sold anything yet, but my favorite thing about being on Etsy is that I can post my items, and they look so professional in my little shop.

Please recommend your five favorite Etsy shops.
1) kpglassjewelry1
2) isidoraverde
3) ghettogato
4) ModelCitizen
5) bountyofbeads

Show us three of your own favorite pieces, from your shop and work.
Matchbox Blues - I’ve been stocking up on turquoise colored beads for some reason, so I’ve been using them more than other beads. I thought these went really well with the chunky wooden circles. I like to name my items after whatever I’m listening to while I’m making them. I was on a blues kick the day I made these, and I named them after Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “Matchbox Blues.”

Darkroom Scene - I like these because they’re sort of nautical looking, yet very simple. I like the simple design on the buttons, too. I think the two buttons used complement each other very well. Buttons are actually really easy and fairly versatile to work with, yet the results of a simple button can be quite surprising. I named this set after some lyrics in Depeche Mode's song "Ice Machine" because that’s what I was listening to at the time.

Venus Shame - These earrings remind me of an antique piano. The cream colored circular bead is a shell bead, and it has a somewhat marbled look about it. There are two different black beads. The one in the middle of the shell bead is circular yet flat. It actually spins inside of the shell bead. The other black bead used is more of a disk shape, and this gives it quite a bit of character. These dangle from a fish hook ear wire. Very Art Nouveau.

Do you sell on consignment? If so, where? No. I would like to, but I am just starting out, and I’m not too sure how this works. Everything I’ve made so far is so inexpensive, that I’m not sure how well this would work. I may look into it for the future. If anyone has any tips, send them my way!

Where else can we find and follow you online? Do you blog? How about Facebook? No blog yet. I’m thinking of just getting a website, but I still need to read up on doing this effectively. I don’t have any “followers” yet because I haven’t sold anything yet. So... we’ll see. I plan on doing a Facebook fan page soon. I’m on facebook personally, but I don’t access it at work, which is where I’m online mostly. Keep an eye and ear out for Eclectic Collective/Roboresa. I’ll post on the boards. Follow me on Twitter.

Do you yourself have certain pieces of jewelry that you always, always wear (other than on the roller derby track)? Tell us about them. Strangely enough, I don’t really wear jewelry much at all. Would this be like a hairdresser with no hair? I have two hair bands that I wear around my wrist, but I have nothing that I always, always wear. I have a necklace with a traditional rose in resin pendant that I wear quite a bit. I may have to take my matchbox blues earrings because I like those quite a bit. I don’t wear anything that I sell, and if I make something REALLY cool, I’d rather post it up in hopes that I can make a sale.

Anything else to brag on? Nope. Just my Etsy shop. I’m trying to take it slow, even though I really just want to jump into everything. Waiting for my first sale…

Last question: if you could have one Etsy-related question answered by some of the wise and wonderful experienced Etsy sellers who read our blog, what would it be? Really, I just need all of the free/cheap, worthwhile promoting advice I can get. I’ve been on Etsy for about a month now waiting on a sale. Everything I make is very low-priced. I know it’s just a matter of getting out there. For jewelry makers, how do you promote/stand out?

Readers, this is where Stockannette encourages you to post your helpful promotion tips for Theresa in the blog's comments!

One last thing: congratulations, Theresa, on having a several sales between the time I interviewed you and the time this is posting to the blog! Readers, that doesn't get you off the hook - post your promotion tips in the comments!


  1. Teresa is awesome, and her creations look amazing!

  2. Hey, I thought of a tip! When you list something new, come by our monthly thread (July's is at ) and let us know about it! We love to shop local!