is the woman behind CityCrochet, an Etsy shop that sells unique and
beautiful crocheted and felted accessories as well as felted home décor
items. The dreamteam recently caught up with Tonya on her way to a post
1. Where do you live? I live in Richmond, VA, a nice city full of history. Its geographical position is great. It’s just 2 hours away from the ocean, Appalachia mountains and D.C. with its museums and rich cultural life. I actually grew up in Moscow, Russia and moved to the U.S. 12 years ago with my husband, who is half Russian and half Hungarian. I love Moscow and try to go back for a visit every year.
2. What are you obsessed with lately? It’s actually felting. I started felting a while ago but still cannot get enough of it. It’s so rewarding to work with wool creating completely unique and beautiful items adding just water and soap. The process is very eco-friendly and that suits me well. I myself enjoy wearing items made of natural materials and make accessories in my shop as environment friendly as possible. The technique of felting has been known for centuries. It was especially advanced and well established in northern countries where I come from. People used decorated felt to build houses. They used it as clothing, shoes, blankets, toys. I’m glad to be able to continue an old Russian tradition of felting!
3. Coffee, tea or both? Tea, definitely. We drink only black leaf tea in our family which I actually bring from Russia every time I go there. Somehow it’s impossible to buy black leaf tea in any local supermarket. Even Wholefoods doesn’t carry it.
4. What is your favorite thing about being on Etsy? I’ve met so many amazing people on Etsy! I honestly think that Etsians are the biggest asset of Etsy. I befriended great craftsmen and simply nice people from all over the world be it Sweden, Argentina or Siberia. I admire people I met on Etsy for being so adventurous, creative, self-motivated, stubborn (in a good sense) and brave. It’s one thing to open your shop while living in Brooklyn, NY and it’s a completely different story to have a shop on Etsy while living in a small town in Siberia. The number of obstacles one has to overcome to make one’s shop active is enormous. I simply admire these people! Care to share a photo of you when you were little?
5. And what is your least favorite thing about being on Etsy? You know it’s probably people too. We all inspire each other. The creative process is based on inspiration and exchange of ideas. I think that is totally OK. What is not OK is when people take your pictures and claim they belong to them, when people copy your descriptions without even changing a word, when people post your pictures on their web-sites without even letting you know about it. With huge benefits of Etsy being a global well-recognized marketplace come certain pitfalls we have to deal with.
6. What are you afraid of? Butterflies, believe it or not! I can definitely admire them from afar but I wouldn’t dare touching one!
7. Who are you in love with? I have a great family that includes my husband and our two sons. I have my dear parents who live in Moscow, Russia and my little brother (not that little any more) who lives in Moscow and has three sons. My husband’s family lives in Hungary. So it’s one wonderful extended family that is spread out all over the world. Welcome to the 21st century!