I am very excited to introduce you to Vicki Potter of Orion Designs. Vicki asked me to transform some hand-painted T shirts into tote bags which I shared with you a few weeks ago. I believe we met on Twitter, but since then, I’ve been interested in getting to know her a bit better. I think she’s cooler than cool because she lives in Alaska! She has been featured on Etsy’s “Quit Your Day Job” Series, which makes her a rock star in my book!  Most importantly, her creations are gorgeous! 

Tell us about Orion Designs?   What was your inspiration?

Orion Designs was born when I lived in Arizona, way back in 1996. I had just left a corporate job in preparation for my move to Alaska. There was a bead store nearby, and I signed up for a basic bead stringing class. Later that year, I did my first craft show.

How long have you had an Etsy shop?

I opened my Etsy shop in February of 2007. I had been aware of the site before that, but waited until I was prepared and had more time to dedicate to setting up shop.

Walk us through a typical day.

Typical day: wake up somewhere between 6:30 and 7:00. My husband (he is also a jewelry designer working from a home studio) and I take Jet, our 2 year old Giant Schnauzer, for a long walk. After breakfast, Rick heads out to his studio (on the other end of our property) and I get to work in my studio, which is an integral part of our house. We meet up again for lunch and then it’s back to work until dinner. That’s when I let Rick back in the house!

Do you blog? What do you love/hate about blogging?

I have a blog (vickiorion.blogspot.com) but have been posting less and less frequently over the past year. There are only so many hours in the day, and blogging, while I enjoyed the process and the outlet, has been pushed to the back burner.

When I moved to Alaska in 1997, I signed up for some craft shows and met my friend
Carol. In the winter of 1998, we were lamenting the lack of high quality art & craft shows so we decided to create our own. That first year, 1998, we produced our first show in the banquet room of a small hotel in Anchorage, complete with complimentary hors d’ouevres and a cash bar. That led to a much larger show the next year. Soon we expanded to Fairbanks and The Valley.

Do you enjoy other hobbies?

I’m an avid paper crafter, book binder wannabe and a knitter. I wish I had more time for all of those activities.

Do you work and/or study outside the home?

I do not work outside the home, but I do like to take classes and try to do that at least once a year.

You work a lot of craft shows. What’s your advice for others who sell in this type of venue?

At a craft show, display is everything. Strive towards a well lit, inviting display that urges customers to linger in your booth longer. The longer they stay, the more likely they are to make a purchase. Friendly, but not overbearing is what I aim for in my behavior at a show.

How would you describe your fashion sense?

I tend towards classic styles, with a touch of something (an accessory, maybe) funky.

Are you a small town or big city girl?

I was born in New York City and have lived in big cities, small towns and rural area. I would call myself adaptable!

Favorite vacation spot.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the Caribbean and would go back to any number of islands there in a minute!

Fondest childhood memory.

ing on a lake in upstate New York with my parents and my brother.

Who would you like to be for a day?

I’m happy being me.

What’s your favorite chain type restaurant?

I try not to go to chain type restaurants, because I think it’s important to support locally owned businesses.

What things are unique to where you live?  As in special customs, favorite restaurants, slang, etc.  (I love to find the unique things of an area when I travel. So much of the US is homogenized – Anywhere USA).

There are some really crazy events that take place in Alaska, like the Running of the Reindeer (think the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, but smaller and colder). We also have the Northern Lights, when the conditions are just right. Anchorage also has many wonderful restaurants and arts activities.

Favorite candy.

What helps you when you are in a bad mood?

A long walk with Jet.

Use one word that best describes yourself.

This may be boring, but I’m really, really organized.

Thanks, Vicki, for sharing your wonderful creations and helping us to get to know you better! Take a look at her About page and the Quit Your Day Job article to get to know a bit more about her. You can also connect with her: