INTERVIEWS,  SHOPS INTL

Shop Feature: Bird Wing Productions

I’m happy to start the week with a new featured shop. Bird Wing Productions is owned by Haidee Soule Merritt. She personally creates recycled lamps, chandelier and customizable shades from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The story behind the shop name is so cute:) Let’s get to know more about Bird Wing Productions.

What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name?

I have a publishing business called Bird Wing Press so the addition of “Productions” was just natural. Here’s the story behind Bird Wing:

When my dog Henry was a puppy my husband tried to train him to retrieve ducks; apparently this is done by saving the wings off previously caught ducks that my husband stored in the freezer. I found this to be horrific!! This tiny little dog would run around with a giant dead wing in it’s mouth.

One day I said to him, Henry, if you were a Native American your name would be Little Bird Wing. So, Little Bird Wing is the Indian name for my dog Henry, thus Bird Wing Press/ Productions.

How old is your shop?

Not that old at ALL actually, though I’ve been an artist in various forms for a long time. I’d say less then two years for sure. It has grown slowly but surely due to my “real” career which, the owner of a gardening business. Winter has become the time, for obvious reasons, that I can really take time to find, restore, and redesign the lamps and shades. I do custom orders all through the Spring, Summer, and Fall, but there are definitely more of my own listings added when gardening is on the back burner. It does seem that my hands are NEVER clean though.

What inspired you to start your own home business?

Well, it’s actually sort of evolved from the first lampshade I recycled. Then I was determined to make it better. Then it became an obsession. I used to say I was the Kate Spade of lampshades, referring primarily to the fabrics and trims I was using at the time. Then I started the rewiring and base redesigning and it just grew and grew. A woman in the studio next to mine kept telling me about Etsy–something I HAD to do–and eventually I knew I had to start moving these things.

Please Name:

the things you do when you’re not busy in your shop:

Collect mosaic tile plates, try to train Henry to DROP the ball, contemplate what’s to be done about the asbestos shingles on my house, and market my first comic book (One Lump or Two: Things that suck about being diabetic) shamelessly–I’m sure you’d all like a copy, right!??!!! (You can view and buy it here: www.HaideeMerritt.com)

stuff inside your bag you can’t leave home without:

Trident White, Hello Kitty change purse, iPhone, sunglasses

your top 3 favorite picks from your shop:

1. The Amy Butler Paisley Hatbox Lamp–LOVE it! Dread the day when we have to part.

2. The Bluebird-and-Berry Recycled Lamp–it has wonderful personality!

3. Pair of Vintage Porcelain Lamps–SO classic and cool!

What tips would you want to share for aspiring home based entrepreneurs like you?

Have a steady income from another source and or marry into money. (I chose the first option.) Etsy had been a godsend: I reach people in places that would never have otherwise heard of me! I’ve sent lamps to Singapore, Norway, and a ton to Australia.

Any message to your customers and the people who support you?

I’m really flattered that people come back to my site and request another lamp when they need one, or want something to match their nursery, or update an old chandelier. Man, those chandelier shades have been the BIGGEST hit of them all! I never would have imagined.

I’m trying to get people to think of lamps, especially repurposed ones, as a great gift, for a birthday, a new mom, or housewarming. For a dorm room even. Everyone needs light, like food, water and shelter, so you’ll never go wrong. Plus, each lamp really has it’s own personality and you can be sure it’s a one-of-a-kind piece.

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