Columbia artist makes pawsome designs inspired by pets
COLUMBIA - Shelby Watson started her online art business in 2012 by accident. Her mother had recently passed away and as she was sorting through her mother’s things, she found an “overabundance” of collectibles and wanted to try and thin those out.
That’s how Watson discovered Etsy, an online market where users can sell homemade goods, artwork and clothes.
“We’d seen that some of the products were cute little birdhouses. So it’s like ‘ok, let’s just do our version,’ because, we love dogs, didn’t see any dogs, what we thought should be out there, started making it, and before we knew it, it just became a hit, and we started expanding,” she said.
Watson decided to create custom items such as birdhouses and mailboxes modeled off of people’s pets.
She’s been an artist her whole life. She says her parents encouraged her to try out different mediums around the house - something that helped her later on when crafting her designs.
“I always loved art, always had an interest in wood, this was just something that seemed like fun,” she said.
The objects take around 2-3 weeks to make. Customers send in a picture of their pet and Watson does her best to make her art look like them.
Customers can ask for almost any animal. Watson has made bird houses with dogs, cats, rabbits, frogs, pigs, cows, tigers and even a dragon. The only one she had to turn down was a pufferfish because she was worried it would break if shipped.
The business has expanded to include bird feeders, pet feeders, planters, house signs, t-shirts, and soon, clocks.
Watson said she was received lots of positive feedback, and it keeps her motivated.
“It was an adventure, and it was fun. And that’s one of the things I liked about it. It’s a lot of fun. The customers that we have just get so excited about the product, and what they receive. We have a lot of return customers,” she said.
Watson is from Columbia, but will soon be moving to Texas, where she says she’ll have a lot more room to work on her designs.
She says she’s not worried about her business since it’s all online, so her mid-Missouri clients can still reach her.