Friday, May 28, 2010

Member Interview

Who are you? Mary of Little Brown Bird.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm Mary Ryan. I run my little business out of my home in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. The main focus of my shop is jewelry, but I also make hair accessories, scarves, clutch bags...really anything that captures my attention that day. I also have a few vintage items in my shop and hope to open a separate vintage shop when time allows. I currently have two other shops on Etsy
Urban Metal - Fine Silver Jewelry
In the Raw - Supplies

My shop name, Little Brown Bird, comes from a story I heard once, can't remember where. But it talks about a Buddhist teacher who is teaching his young pupil about the wonders of the forest. The young boy looks up and sees an eagle flying high above the trees. For the rest of the day, he can't stop talking about the eagle. His teacher finally points out to the boy that while he was so focused on the eagle, he has missed all the little brown birds flying around him. The story reminds us to take note of all the beautiful things in this world, no matter how big or small. It's a story that has stuck with me for years.

How did you learn about Etsy Project Embrace?

I learned of Etsy Project Embrace through a team member, Erika Price, who is also on another team with me. The idea of helping to raise awareness and money for cancer research seemed like a wonderful way to give back. I've lost many family members to cancer and my own father is a cancer survivor.

What is your favorite item in your shop at the moment?

Oh boy, that's a hard one. They are all my favorite when I first list them. I guess the item that has always been my favorite is my Love Quotes earrings.

I first designed these about 5 or six years ago. They are made of fine silver and I just love that they can have different meanings, depending on the order that you read them. I recently had a request from a buyer to make them into a necklace, so I added a necklace design to my shop as well.

What favorite vintage or antique item do you own, and why do you cherish it? 

I have some old metal cases filled with family slides from the 50's, 60's and 70's. I found a slide of my parents when they were dating. I love how Mom is sneaking a little hand-holding in the picture, scandalous!

What is your favorite handmade possession? 

I have about 93 pages of items saved in my favorites on Etsy, no joke! Had I the money, I would buy them all! But of things that I have right now, my favorite handmade item is a picture of me drawn by my nephew from when I got to visit his first grade class as his Most Valuable Person! Priceless.

What do you collect?

BEADS! I'm such a bead whore. I love shiny things.

Where would you like to be and what do you hope to be doing ten years from now?

I would love to own my own brick and mortar shop filled with all my jewelry and accessories, as well as those from about a 1000 of my favorite Etsians.


  1. Great interview Mary! Love the photo of your parents.

  2. Mary, I love the meaningful story behind your shop's name and the photo of your parents too :) Thank you Mollie for this lovely interview.

  3. Wonderful interview Mary and Mollie!

  4. I love the story behind your shop name!

    It's been great getting to know you better Mary!
    Thanks for another great interview Mollie!

  5. what a lovely choice for a shop name.... & I love your parents photo too - thanks Mary (& Mollie ;-)

  6. Great getting to know you better Mary and very cool story about your Shop name, Love Love it!! And those earrings are Awesome! I'm All about words and it's so unique the way you have set that up to mean different things depending on the order they are read....can I borrow that?
    Rockin' interview once again Mollie, looking forward to next week!

  7. oh i love your love quotes earrings! and how you chose your shop name~ perfect!

  8. Fantastic interview with such gorgeous photos too! Love it all, but the Love Quotes earrings are truly special! Thanks, Mary, for letting us get to know you a little better, and thanks, Mollie, for putting it all together!

  9. i've known mary for a while now, but loved learning more about her. love those earrings and everything else in her shop, too :)

  10. Wonderful meeting you. I have always thought your work was great. Yeah, that photo is so cool, they look back in style, lol! Mollie, you made another wonderful interview come alive.

  11. Nice meeting you Mary! Your creations are beautiful.