Anita DiRenzo is the creative force behind In Fine Feathers. One of the more unusual stores here on IndieMade, she makes and sells costume pieces and props for dancers, all with a gypsy flair. Today, she’s with us to talk about why she started selling online, her inspirations and her advice for other creatives who are thinking about following in her barefoot footsteps.
Tell us everything we need to know about you in 2 sentences.
Anita: I'm a business-minded, freethinking, city, rural, grounded, gypsy, hard-working dreamer.
What kinds of items do you make and sell?
Anita: I make and sell dance hoops, also teach Hoopdance for Beginners-Intermediate. I also make natural henna paste and am a henna tattoo artist. I make boho and tribal style jewelry using feathers that I hand dye and also use vintage tribal pendants and coins, I also like to paint on canvases and other objects with henna.
Why did you choose that field or did it choose you?
Anita: It all came together very organically, so I would say both.
Tell us about your favorite piece either currently in your store or in the past.
Anita: My favorite item that I sell, would have to be my henna paste. It took a few years to come up with a recipe, though I don't really like calling it a recipe. The amounts of different ingredients can vary depending on the time of year, temperature, humidity as well as the current crop from any particular region that the henna is from. I suppose, I would rather call it a method. I use safe and natural ingredients, which is so important when there are a lot of chemicals and toxic preservatives in commercial branded henna paste. Further explanation is available in my listing details.
Talk about the decision to start selling your work? Was it a difficult decision to make?
Anita: I was a new mother when I started this business. I was working a part-time job and having to leave my child to go to work was a struggle for me, as I'm sure many mothers also feel. It wasn't a hard choice to make. I tested the waters for about a year before ultimately going "full feather" and making In Fine Feathers my main and only source of income. I also became instantly happier!
How do you market your business?
Anita: I operate my business on three different websites, there are ways to promote my online items on the other two sites. I check up on my SEOs every so often, especially before busy shopping seasons. I hand out business cards at events that I vend at and also at henna tattoo parties. Of course, I also use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
What inspires you?
Anita: To tell you what inspires me I will have to tell you the meaning of my business name, In Fine Feathers.
In Fine Feathers is the feeling of weightlessness that comes from when you discover who you really are, your place in life, in your family, your community, the world! It's like breaking the shell of all the things society has tried to place on you and you become this perfectly authentic, unbreakable, bouncy egg. You are this incredibly unique person that has been shaped by your experiences, culture and everything you love!
Dancing, music and art are ways we express ourselves and allow us to shine our light. We believe in being light, to tread lightly on our planet and also allow our hearts to be light, like a feather. It's more like a community of like-minded individuals that believe in peace. My logo is a mandala which is a symbol of peace and harmony and there are feathers coming out of the mandala and then you notice outside of the mandala is a hoop. Everything is in chakra colors. Hoop dancing is such a great way to find your peace and help you bring balance to your life.
What frustrates you?
Anita: This is probably the toughest question, because I am very happy with my choice to do what I do. I guess the thing that would be frustrating is working for someone else, the many years of being in sales where I was not working from my heart but being given an outline to follow, a dress code... hah! If there is one thing I did my way, it was what I wore. Black and white? No, try lime green. My only regret is that I didn't push for my co-workers to also have the right to wear colors.
What’s something you’ve kept since you were a child?
Anita: My love of dancing and just being carefree!
If you could get up tomorrow and do anything at all, what would you do?
Anita: Create world peace, cure cancer or at the very least take my family and even my cats to a tropical island beach house where we'd spend the day swimming, playing drums and exploring nature. Can I have all three?
Your friend is going to sign up with IndieMade tomorrow (while you’re off doing whatever you wanted to do). What advice do you have that will help her be successful?
Anita: Be true to yourself and you will find what you are meant to do. Just don't believe that if you build it they will come, you really need to work hard to get noticed with your own website, so if you don't see results right away, give it time, but don't give up.
Is there anything else you’d like to add or say to our audience of creative people?
Anita: Keep doing what you love!
Check out Anita's store In Fine Feathers right here on IndieMade.