As the saying goes, good things come in small packages… and seriously: who doesn’t love tiny awesome things? So when we discovered Etsy shop “A Little Small Talk” by Creative Director & Inventor Heidi Seitz, we fell in love and asked for an interview. The Dublin, Ohio based maker founded her specialty shop to create thoughtfully designed messages encased by tiny bottles, for celebrations of all sorts. Before we get down to brass tacks, here are a few fun facts about this can-do kitten: Heidi hasn’t had meat since 1995, she idolizes Stevie Nicks, and often baby talks to her plants. This mastermind has also seen the “Paranormal Activity” series at least sixteen times, and funny sayings make her happy. Her cleverly designed tiny bottles make us giddy in return.
bunnyhawk >> We love TINY at Bunnyhawk, and your miniature, beautifully designed messages in bottles are spot on. What was your concept and design process like?
a little small talk >> I absolutely love itty bitty things. I found some random little bottles at a craft store one day and pondered.. “what tiny delights would fit in here?” I started by adding little pieces from modern train collections, like tulips and sunflowers. Then, I began ideating around a modern approach to the traditional message in a bottle and came up with a hanging message from a bottle.
Creatively, it’s a challenge to get a message or expression of love, luck (or even lust) on such a tiny space. I thought… what would it look like if the message was simple and to the point (?). In a world with way too many words, I approached this with the notion of, “say it all, when you say it small.”
The design process varies depending on the customer’s vision. Quite often, they come to me with an occasion and a theme and I write the line for them. This is the most rewarding, especially when it exceeds their expectations. I design the tag, hand foil it, add either sand or glitter to the bottles (most are under 3″ tall). I attach the foiled message through the cork with a wire.
bunnyhawk >> What came first – your first client or the shop?
a little small talk >> The Etsy shop did. It actually took a different direction at first. I illustrated downloadable cards for various occasions. As soon as I added the bottles, they immediately took off. My first sale was for a beautiful bride who was planning a Pop-Up-Wedding! She was so thrilled with the work and pumped me full of compliments – it fueled my fire to make this bigger. It was then, I decided to apply for a design patent.
bunnyhawk >> How do you source materials and what is the assembly process like (omg)? Do you make the tiny paper flowers as well? It all looks so amazing – and amazingly tedious at that!
a little small talk >> I buy all of my supplies from other Etsy shops. The handmade flowers are from a beautiful woman in India named Shabab Reshamvala. She’s a contributing artist to A Little Small Talk.
Large orders of hundred or more can take a couple weeks. I assemble each one with love and design detail. Sometimes after a weekend, my arms and hands are extremely sore – but it’s all worth it.
bunnyhawk >> You’re creating lots for the land of celebratory love right now – bridesmaid invites, wedding save the dates, baby announcements… any plans to expand into other categories?
a little small talk >> Yes, my core business is “bottled invitations for stylish celebrations,” however I have expanded the line to include much more! Essentially, the bottles are positioned as an alternative to any kind of greeting card. So you will see anything from get well cards that say “Cheer Up ButterCup” to congrats cards like “Shine on Super Star”. My faves are the ones that reveal something in the box. For example, I have a bottled card where on the outside of the box reads “He or She, what will baby be?” The inside reveals either a boy or a girl.
bunnyhawk >> Can you tell us about your recent pop up at West Elm, and the store goers’ reactions?
a little small talk >> Yes, it was such an honor to do a Pop-Up shop at West Elm! A friend on Facebook reached out to me to ask if I’d like to do this during the holiday season. Many retailers are embracing the “Maker’s Movement”, and are hosting events and allowing space in their stores for makers. I designed bottled place cards for Thanksgiving, winter Holiday cards and New Years Eve invites. It was so fun seeing the reactions of the customers. People were so ecstatic about anything tiny! I had a couple of big sales, so big thanks to West Elm for the opportunity.
I hope that someday A Little Small Talk can have a permanent place at West Elm. I also have dreams of selling my bottled greetings in Anthropologie and Kate Spade. Know anyone? Ha!
bunnyhawk >> Do you do your own product photography, too? What’s that process like with the micro goods, reflective bottles, etc?
a little small talk >> I shoot and style all of my tiny sets. I’ve worked in photography for twenty years, so I have a good sense in photo direction. I do have plans to have a photographer shoot these for me in a studio. Reflective foil and bottles are certainly tricky to capture the right way. I also would like to hire a model or to help tell the story of scale.
bunnyhawk >> Any pointers for someone crafty with a big dream?
a little small talk >> Absolutely! Test your styles on Etsy. Don’t try to force a design or style if it hasn’t received any likes or faves. Also, advertise on social media. It’s important to really understand the nuances of each platform in order to get your message out at the right time and place. Participate in local craft events. This is a great place to solicit feedback. Be flexible, yet be true to yourself.
bunnyhawk >> If you had a spirit animal, what would that be?
a little small talk >> Meerkangaroo (Meerkat/Kangaroo)
bunnyhawk >> Your fave tunes to bottle to?
a little small talk >> 70’s folk for sure
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