With the Holiday Season upon us we find a lot of people looking for that one special unique gift that transcends anything else found in a department store.
Look no further. Heather Wass has been busy putting together Holiday themed bottles for her Etsy store, Custom Bottle Design. These bottle lights are all hand crafted and will add some Christmas cheer to any room in your house.
I have to admit I am still pretty new to all of this. I made my first lamp as a Christmas decoration project for myself a year ago. My boss at the bar I work at liked it and asked if he could buy it. Then he put it in the bar as a christmas decoration last year and somehow they just took off! I now even have local businesses who have asked to sell them for me in their business. I have made and sold well over 200 in the last year, and now am experimenting with selling online. I have to admit I am clueless to all of this online stuff but I am learning! I haven’t had to advertise much at all, I post pics of them on my facebook page and other than that it has all been word of mouth and people seeing what I have already sold!
BL – Why Bottles?
Heather – That’s a great question! I have bar tended for years, and at the end of the night after we log all of the liquor bottles that we emptied for the day, we then just threw them all away, and for years I never thought twice about it. Then I was throwing away the bottles one night and thought… This could turn in to something cool somehow, I’m sure of it! So I took a few home and they sat on a shelf for quite a long time. Then last year while decorating for Christmas I thought, I should make a Christmas decoration with one! (white Bombay Sapphire bottle with snowflakes and blue lights picture) Since My boss told me I could take the bottles home with me I decided to take it in and show him what I did with it and he bought it right then and there! He then used it as a Christmas decoration in our bar, and the orders/requests started flowing in almost immediately! The more I did, the more ideas I came up with, and the better I got. The next thing I knew, a local sports bar started buying sports themed ones in bulk and selling them in his bar! I’m not a drinker myself, but I live in a small town so several local bars and recreational drinkers started saving me their bottles, and now I have a very steady side job on my hands! I mostly use bottles because that is what got me started and has pretty much become my signature, but I have also ventured out and used other things like jars and vases etc…
BL – Is it hard to find time to work on your projects?
Heather – YES! I have always been one who has to stay busy. So for many years I have always had 2-3 jobs at once. Because I have been fortunate enough to pretty much stay over loaded with orders, I spend just about every spare minute I have making them! I’ve made well over 200 in the last year! However, I am happy to say that just as of last Saturday I am now down to just one job! Well, one job (Costco) plus my bottle orders. It has been completely overwhelming trying to keep up with it all and be with my family too. So now I am able to work from home and be close to my family and still keep busy doing what I love!
BL – Do you get any special requests?
Heather – Yes I do. about 95% of the bottles I’ve made are requests. I let people tell me what they want… designs, colors etc. and I create their vision. On the rare occasion I have the extra time to just make something on my own, it usually sells as soon as I post it to facebook! I get sports themed orders the most, but the personalized ones are my favorite. Every one is made for each individual order, I also make my own stencils for each individual bottle, therefor every one is one of a kind!
BL – Any words of advice for people just starting out?
Heather – Don’t be afraid to be creative! I have never been “taught” anything. Everything I do I’ve learned by trial and error on my own. Sometimes I think some things would be much easier for me if I had some instruction along the way, but I also think that is what sets everyone’s art apart. I started with wood. I’ve made shelves, bookcases, wall hangings etc for my own home and believe me that wasn’t pretty in the begining! I bought wood and nails, and started pounding them together until I got it right! lol But now I have some really great pieces in my home that others have seen and paid me to make for them as well! I am now doing the same with my bottle lamps. Each piece I send out is a piece of me that then enters someone elses life, and to me that is pretty darn cool! I now have my work in 8 different states, and well as 4 in Pittsburgh… one on each of the Steelers coaches desks!
If you would like to contact her with questions or to see more of her bottles you can reach her at:
Etsy: Custom Bottle Design
Facebook: Custom Bottle Design by Heather
We would like to thank Heather for taking the time to do this interview. The Holiday season can be pretty hectic and we appreciate her thoughtful responses. Be sure to leave a comment below about her crafting passion.