IndieMade: Thank you, Weener Ware fine artists, Jeanmarie Petri and Barbara Tinger, for agreeing to this interview. How did you get your start?
Weener Ware: We got started making our recycled bottle cap jewelry from a love of making something from nothing. Both of us are fine artists as well. I make collage and Barbara uses collage elements in some of her paintings. Inspiration came one night while bar tending. Becks caps are a pretty pink inside! That's all it took for me to start collecting them so they could avoid a life in landfill.
IndieMade: What factors made you decide to create a website/your online business?
Weener Ware: Very few artists had websites when we started 14 years ago. We had a friend who loved Weener Ware and wanted to help us create a site.
IndieMade: Is this Full Time or Part Time for you?
Weener Ware: Full time.
IndieMade: What do you like most about your online business?
Weener Ware: Waking up to an order!
IndieMade: What advice would you give to someone who has objections or is hesitating about starting their online business?
Weener Ware: You either have time or you have money. You can pay someone to create and maintain a site for you. Make sure the person or company is capable of doing what you need and can make changes when they need to be done. In the past this was the only choice. Or you have time to create and maintain a site yourself. You don't need to understand code and there are many DIY websites to choose from, Indie Made being one of them. The advantage here is affordability and control. I don't enjoy working on the computer so to have a system that is easy to use with good support is huge for me.
IndieMade: How has your life changed since you started your business?
Weener Ware: Once we were working full time for ourselves, creating a working structure was hard for both of us. We still struggle with. There are so many aspects to running a business that when I'm not in the studio working, I find myself thinking, "I didn't sign up for this!" The trick is to recognize when you need help & actually ask for it.
IndieMade: What’s new in your business?
Weener Ware: We started a new line of Weener Ware in which we flatten the bottle caps and collage onto the surface. There are also a lot of new craft beers out there with cute pictures on them. Sometimes we just flatten them and highlight a part of the picture with a rhinestone. We used to discard the caps that were too bent up for traditional Weener Ware which is filled with resin. But now we recycle the recycle!
IndieMade: Do you do any offline promotions (craft fairs, pop up shops, etc.) to tie it all together?
Weener Ware:There is nothing that can take the place of meeting your customers face to face. Hearing their laughter, seeing their joy, or sharing a childhood story is why we participate in fairs & festivals. It depends on what kind of business you want to create. For us, the human element is very important, especially now, as we straddle the cyber world with the real world.
Thank you, Weener Ware fine artists, for your time!