July 21, 2008

NewNewInterview with Sharla & Mei-Lynn of Rare Bird Finds

It's number six!! And we have Sharla & Mei-Lynn of Rare Bird Finds!

1. So tell us a little about your site and how you got started?
Rare Bird Finds is a shopping blog dedicated to bringing you unusual products from all over the Web.

We started a few years ago because we were frustrated that many of the big-name blogs wouldn’t give the indie designers a second glance. When we started in March 2006, we were one of the first pioneering blogs to feature indie designers. Our goal was to create a dynamite blog that attracted mainstream shoppers and introduce them to talented yet unrecognized designers around the world, the kind of designers who unfortunately were being overlooked by mainstream media.

We love products that are off the beaten path. Our blog is full of quirky finds that make perfect gifts to treat yourself and your hard-to-shop for friends. In a typical day, you’ll find an eclectic mix of the kitsch and the beautiful, a little bit of something for everyone (even men!)

2. What do you look for when featuring an artist?
We love a clean, easy-to-navigate website with high-quality images. If the images are dark or blurry we won’t feature you no matter how much we like your product.

Obviously we love to feature items that are unique. Because our blog strives to keep our readers one step ahead of the pack, we probably won’t feature an item that has been done to death on all the blogs.

3. Suggestions on how to generate buzz about your products?
The best way a designer or artist can generate buzz is to talk up his or her product! Some designers find it hard to toot their own horn, but its part of the business. Many of the products we feature come from designers sending us emails letting us know about it – and we’re so glad, because we may never have stumbled upon it without them putting it on our radar.

4. What not to do when contacting sites like Rare Bird Finds?
After receiving hundreds of emails from designers, here are a few tips:
* If you add us to your mailing list without our permission we will never feature you! We already get bombarded with emails.
* Please don’t send us multiple emails or pretend you are the company’s “friend” emailing for them.
* Remember to include your shop’s URL
* Don’t send a long email. Get to the point.

5. What blogs do you follow to stay current?
Neither of us have a lot of free time to read a ton of blogs. We both spend so much time searching for items to feature that if we are going to indulge ourselves in some blog reading it’s going to be something like Perez, TMZ or Go Fug Yourself.

6. What trends do you see developing? What products or styles are hot?
I joked in a post the other day that even toast is trendy these days. Our readers tend to love our “cute” finds, but even finds about zombies and robots are popular, too!

7. Do you see yourself embracing new media to reach your audience (podcasting, video)?
We got the scoop recently from our readers through correspondence and a survey that our readers enjoy Rare Bird Finds at work. So for our blog it’s best to keep things simple and silent (for when the boss is around..)

8. What do you think sets you apart from other design blogs?
We’re not a design blog, per se. We’re a shopping blog with one goal – to make each find a new discovery for our readers and make them go, “Wow! I didn’t even know there was something like that out there.”

9. Is blogging more of a hobby or do you see this becoming a long term career choice?
For now it’s a hobby. At this point in our lives it wouldn’t be financially feasible for us to make it a career choice. But, who knows what tomorrow will bring!

Special thanks to Sharla & Mei-Lynn for taking the time for this interview. Be sure to check out Sharla & Mei-Lynn at Rare Bird Finds (http://www.rarebirdfinds.typepad.com/).

Collective Elements

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