Friday, October 16, 2009

Feature Friday - Lindsey and Shannon of milanddil

Hey everyone! Allysattic here. I tell ya, it seems like Friday's are coming faster and faster!  :)

It's time for another great Feature Friday spot. This weeks featured member shop is milanddil.

To begin, I'd like to mention that milanddil are offering to their fellow Lab Rats team members a 15% discount on anything in their shop. All you have to do is enter "Lab Rats Rock" in the 'message to seller' box when you checkout and they will refund the difference (not including shipping) via PayPal after your payment clears! Super!

Now lets get started with the questions!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, your shop, and what brought you to the Etsy community.

We are a mother-in-law (Lindsey-MIL) and daughter-in-law (Shannon-DIL) team that creates affordable, unique, handmade, upcycled button jewelry. We work almost exclusively with repurposed materials and specialize in transforming the ordinary button into something extraordinary!

Our story of how we came to be in the Etsy community begins in California. MIL was there visiting her daughter and just for the fun of it, began creating button bracelets. When MIL returned home, DIL admired the bracelet and suggested they team up and create a business together…so we did and here we are!

2. Besides creating beautiful things for your shop, what do you spend your days doing?

DIL: Besides MilandDil, I am an instructor at a Northern Illinois University, so most of my time is spent either teaching my 2 classes (Introduction to Physical Geography & Introduction to Maps and Mapping), meeting with students, preparing to teach and/or making sure everything is generally running smoothly. My husband and I are also in the process of purchasing our first home, so packing and getting ready to close and move is also how I’ve been spending my time lately.

MIL: Besides MilandDil, I have been and done any number of things in my life. I’ve taught children and adults in public and private school, I’ve worked in churches and am an ordained minister. I’ve been a hospital chaplain and am a licensed professional counselor and a certified rehabilitation counselor. Throughout the years I’ve turned to crafting as a sideline; sewing, knitting and crocheting among other things, but collecting buttons along the way like many others have done. I love the name of our business and I love that our family has grown to include a Dil, (Shannon) and a (Sil) Steve. In addition to our son and daughter in law, my husband Bob and I are the proud parents of two sons and two daughters. They are grown and so as they’ve made me aware my ‘kids’ now are the 4 Chihuahuas and 2 cats that share our living space.

3. What sources do you draw your inspiration from and what is your creative process(es)?

Our inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. Nature, events in our little world (real and imagined) - what we've been thinking about, symmetry, and oftentimes a button is the basis of a bracelet (especially found buttons that add a sense of adventure to the bracelet) and so everything about the bracelet might stem from that one button. It all depends. We like it best when we can trust our own personal creative process and our intuition.

4. What market (group of people) do you see your items being for?

ANYONE & EVERYONE! - Females, males buying as gifts, little girls – looking to dip the toes into the big girl world without losing out on childhood, moms, best friends, anyone who likes jewelry or likes gifting jewelry, people who are nostalgiac for buttons, environmentally conscious people, people who have a strong sense of individualism & like being unique, people who want handmade items, cost-conscious people, people with empathy for relationship between mother-in-law & daughter-in-law…basically anyone who likes designer jewelry at friendly prices!

5. Name your top three:

- Books

DIL: Anything by Daniel Quinn, coloring books, and plant identification guides...and many more!

MIL: Little Prince, Spoon River Anthology – basically, I should be a bookaholics anonymous charter member – so many great ones!

- Music (song or artist)

DIL: Iron & Wine, Rufus Wainwright, & Andrew Bird…to name a few!

MIL: Jackson Brown, Teddy Thompson, Nilsson sings Newman (ask me tomorrow and 2 & 3 might be different)

- Movies or Television shows

DIL: The Wire, Lost, Friends; Princess Bride, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Phantom of the Opera

MIL: Harold & Maude, Ordinary People, Annie Hall; Six Feet Under, Nip Tuck, Dexter

- Websites

Do you have to ask! :) – of course & too! Also,

6. What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see added?

We like: Lab Rats (& virtual labs), Etsy success and news emails, and the ability to convo people!

New features: More batch edit tools that are easy to use – like for prices and shipping…etc

7. How do you market your work? What has or hasn’t worked for you in the past?

Primarily we use the usual social media networking tools like:



We also go by word of mouth and update our blog often and try to incorporate a personal touch to make connections with our buyers, friends, and fans.

We’re relatively new, so we are considering this a learning year as to what works and doesn’t work!

8. What do you like most about the Virtual Labs?

We like that you can connect with other people and see what other people are doing. We basically want to absorb all we can in order to make our shop successful and the virtual labs are a great resource for this.

9. What topics or events would you like to see added to the Virtual Lab offerings?

We think it would be cool if they did sessions where they had rotating invited guests that could share some information on a more local level.

Thanks milanddil! Remember about that 15% offer for purchases made today Rats!  :)


  1. I love these features; they're such a great way to get to know the other members here, and they are so well done! Lovely, adorable bracelets. Happy sales, Lindsey and Shannon!

  2. i love MilandDil!! their tweets are always so fun :) it's great to learn more about such a talented duo!!!!

  3. Aw, yay! MilandDil is the best.

    Also, I LOVE iron & wine so much. good choice.

  4. Thanks everyone! We love it here at Lab Rats!

  5. This is great! I love finding out more about the people on our team.

  6. I love Feature Friday and getting to know more about the shop owners, really well done! I envy your relationships, I'm not sure I could spend that much time with my MIL,lol.

  7. I want to thank Shannon aka Dil for suggesting that we connect with all you great Lab Rats and thank you rats as well. It's great to have a partner in business. I'm more of an introvert - although I've learned to be an extrovert - but my inclination is to sit and make the bracelets. We learn so much from you all and the support and friendship is great- even if I don't say so very much. So THANKS!!! Rats Rule!

  8. Awesome Feature Friday! I have recently be watching (and re-watching) Coraline and up-cycled button jewelry is exactly along the theme of (other) Mother, cats, and creepy Other Worlds! Awesome Shop Mil and Dil!