Meet Michele Iljazi of Danbury, Connecticut, owner, creator and curator of One December.
"I am Michele, mom to four young children, creator, and a collector of cool vintage items! I live in Connecticut with my wonderful family, our Newfie, and two overly-friendly cats. I love this location and the changing seasons, especially in October. We live in the country, but are only one hour from all the hustle and bustle of New York City. I have a terrific husband/best friend and I'm a homeschooling Mom to four fabulous kids! They're awesome and they keep me very busy! I have a BA in Anthropology and Sociology and love to travel, both near and far.
In my spare time, I like treasure-hunting for unique vintage items, trying new eateries, practicing Pilates, enjoying the outdoors, beachcoming, quadding, hiking, camping, and taking walks. I also love nature, traveling, thrifting, cycling, spending days wandering the streets of NYC, and rustic things. We are always dreaming and scheming up new adventures for the future. I am also a fitness and healthy food fanatic, making time each day for my health and happiness. :)
My home is an old, very rustic converted barn with a backyard sprinkled with goats and chickens. My walls are cluttered with rusty tools and could pass as an antique shop. I love my house, its huge, cozy fireplace, and all of its amazing uniqueness! My barn is decorated to match the feel, which is why I am drawn to antiques and old, rusty, vintage items. If I find something I like and don't have a spot for it in my home, it ends up in my shop!
My family and I are currently building an off the grid, self-sustainable home in New Fairfield and we are very excited for this venture. Our home will be extremely unique, round, and built into the earth, using alternative energy sources. My husband and I are working to create a life where we can work together, live simply, and have the freedom to experience many other places and cultures through extended travel, while homeschooling our children. Time is one variable which cannot be recreated, and we would like to spend ours together and with our kids.
When I was young, I was always rummaging through flea markets and tag sales, creating, and crafting. Even more, I was outside getting dirty, experiencing and enjoying the natural world and collecting the many unique elements of nature. Now, I'm outside just as much, collecting just as much, and I think about what I can do with my finds. I appreciate eco friendly, upcycled and natural materials. I believe in reduce, reuse and recycle. This is often evident in the packaging materials I use for shipping!
I make handmade custom, personalized tumbled marble drink coasters, which I sell in my shop. Every coaster purchase is made to order by me. I am the one-woman show behind One December. I am the photographer, marketer, maker, shipper, etc.
After finding myself home with the kids, I had the desire to work from home so I can be present while they are young, homeschool them, and financially contribute to the family. It is a tricky balance, but so worth it! Etsy has opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities I never knew existed! It is so wonderful! I still get excited with each sale or every time someone "favorites" one of my items or shop. It makes me happy that someone else out there actually likes what I'm doing! Etsy is such a wonderful community to be a part of! I'm so glad that I get to do what I enjoy and be home with my kids! I also love this opportunity to connect with people all over the world!
I have had a great experience with Etsy. I opened my shop just over four years ago and it has been a very positive and eye-opening experience for me. It has allowed me great flexibility to be able to earn an income while at home raising and homeschooling my four young children, which is why I began this journey in the first place. It has also been rewarding in how it has allowed me to work as much or as little as I need at any particular time. For example, I easily put my shop on "vacation" while I took a three month cross-country road trip with my family last summer.
When I first opened my shop, I was unsure of what it would lead to. However, I am so glad I decided to give it a try. I find Etsy to be an extremely creative place, full of trends and unique items. I sometimes make something new and put it in my shop just to see how it will do, and if it takes off, I make more. It's exciting! My Etsy shop may not be the top seller on the site, but it is just enough for me to be comfortable and has shown me that I can create something and people will enjoy my work. I am so fascinated each time I sell a piece to places like Australia, France, or Greece. The fact that I am able to connect with people across the world from what I have created in my own home is fascinating to me! I see Etsy as a community - sellers, buyers, and the staff at Etsy are all so clearly real people, doing real things that they love."