EFA: Etsy For Animals Etsy For Animals: EFA MEMBER iNTERViEW... EkNeverFeltBetter by Rebecca of KneeDeepOriginals

Etsy for Animals (EFA) aka Artists Helping Animals,

is a team of independent artists, craftspeople,

vintage sellers and craft suppliers on Etsy.com

who are dedicated to providing charitable relief to animals

by donating a portion of the profits from their shops

to an animal charity of their choosing,

and/or to EFA's featured Charity of the Month.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

EFA MEMBER iNTERViEW... EkNeverFeltBetter by Rebecca of KneeDeepOriginals

Chicagoan and Knitter Extraordinaire
by Rebecca of KneeDeepOriginals

Esse Kipnis was born in Chicago and has lived there all her life. She believes it’s the changing seasons that keep her there, finding each one to be special in its own way, “kind of like the people and animals who define our lives and make us who we are.”  

Esse is married with three grown daughters, and she is “the proud grandmother of seven beautiful grandkids.” 

Esse is the person behind the Etsy shop, EKNeverFeltBetter.  She began her relationship with the Etsy community over 6 years ago when she opened Never Felt Better, offering hand knit and felted items.  As a grateful breast cancer survivor, Esse says, “The name Never Felt Better seemed like a perfect fit. As time went on, in an effort to grow and diversify my shop, I added embroidery services offering customized items, focusing on personalized gifts for women and children.” 

In her shop you’ll find beautiful hand-knit sweaters, accessories, and felted bags. You’ll also find personalized backpacks, lunch boxes and nap mats which are some of the popular items manufactured by Stephen Joseph, Inc. offered for young children. These make great gifts!!

It's a Wrap Dog Sweater
modeled by Ava


When it comes to pets, Esse enjoys telling the touching story of gaining her new family members.  She and her husband currently have three adorable puppies: Bailey, Violet, and Ruby. 

She says, “When we lost our beloved English Bulldog, Ava, the void we experienced was overwhelming. We knew we could never replace our Ava, but we desperately desired and needed a new purpose to make our days more meaningful. We reached out to a local rescue organization, Pitter Patter Animal Rescue, and made arrangements to adopt two puppies, Bailey and Violet. When we picked up our new additions, we were informed that a third puppy (who would become our Ruby) had been returned to Pitter Patter by the police because of abusive treatment by her owners. The puppy had been burned on her back with what appeared to be a thick cigar and had bite marks on the top of her head. The previous owners took her to their vet for treatment, and the vet reported the injuries to Pitter Patter. The owners were unwilling to relinquish the puppy, so Pitter Patter got the police involved and forced the return of the puppy to them. Pitter Patter asked if we might consider adopting the remaining puppy in the litter of six to keep her with her sisters. How could we not?  So we ended up with our three gorgeous girls instead of two!”

Bailey, Violet and Ruby are a mix of Maltese, Poodle and Yorkshire Terrier. Sometimes called  Mapookies, they are all from the same litter, but they are each unique and a different color, and just as cute and sweet as can be. Esse says, “They came into our home when they were just three months old and they will be nine months at the end of October. We’re fortunate to have a fenced yard and a park close to home to diffuse some of that puppy energy!”

 Esse’s husband, Gary,
and their three adorable puppies!

While Esse’s major involvement with animals has been caring for her pets, she is also proud to be an EFA COTM sponsor and she regularly makes donations to the Humane Society of the United States and The Anti-Cruelty Society.  

She also supports the Chicago English Bulldog Rescue group.  “We adopted our Ava from this wonderful group of people who are dedicated to helping bulldogs find their forever homes. They were chosen as the EFA Charity of the Month in January 2012.” Esse says her dream would be never to need these organizations, but until animal cruelty and mistreatment no longer exists, “thank goodness for the work of these wonderful groups.”

When it comes to a favorite animal, Esse says that she is especially fond of elephants. She asks, “Don’t you think Esse the Elephant sounds kind of cute?” Why yes, Esse, I think that has a special kind of ring to it!

Artwork courtesy of Rebecca Dresser,
Knee Deep Studio


“I always enjoy this time of year, looking forward to the excitement of the holiday season. It proves to be a very busy time of year for Never Felt Better as people start preparing for personalized gift giving.”

Personalized Dino Backpack 


“I began knitting about 55 years ago (yes, I said 55!) when I was only 9 years old. My mom had a large bag of black wool that had been abandoned along with plans for finishing a needlepoint piano bench cover. That bag of wool sat hidden away in a closet for what seemed like a very long time. I had come across a beginning knitting booklet and was unable to resist trying my hand at knitting. I received permission to use the wool in the closet and that was the start of my love for knitting.  

To this day, each sweater I make amazes me in its own way. I always look at my completed work and wonder how the heck I did it! I get a huge sense of satisfaction with each hand knit or felted piece I complete.”

SHRUG IT OFF handknit sweater shrug

“Personalizing items for children is also very gratifying. I hope each child gets a big kick out of seeing his or her name embroidered on a new gift.” I’m sure they do, Esse!  It’s a wonderful thing for a child! I know because my daughter owns a piece from Esse!


“The shop and the puppies pretty much fill my days with activity.  But when evening comes, I sit for a while with my husband and the puppies, watching a little TV, knowing that my family is doing well, and counting my blessings.”


“I have had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful people associated with the Etsy community. I derive so much pleasure working with my amazing customers, and I have never met a group of more caring and devoted individuals than the selfless members of Etsy For Animals. I am honored to be a part of EFA.”  

Sounds like Esse is saying that it’s important to be involved with a team to broaden support and community! I totally agree! And from a personal standpoint, I know that Esse is very good at customer service, an essential part of a successful online shop!


“I believe that love puts meaning into our lives, that without it we cannot be happy individuals, especially as we approach our senior years. Having warm memories that embrace the people and animals we have loved throughout our lifetimes is the reward for being kind and caring human beings and I cannot think of anything more important in life than treating others with consideration, kindness and respect.” 

The Love Glove Mitten Set 


  1. It was a pleasure to work on this interview with Esse, and I truly admire her work and her love of animals. It's wonderful to have her as a EFA sponsor! And oh my gosh, those puppies are adorable!

  2. Great interview! Really enjoyed it!

  3. What a wonderful interview! Esse, your work is gorgeous!

  4. I really like these interviews, Rebecca! So nice to learn more about our team members. I love Esse's shop; her creations are so much fun to look through.

  5. Esse what a beautiful story of your rescuing the pups, they are so lucky to have you. Beautiful story and I agree with so much in your interview. Hope you are having a wonderful day and having fun with those pups!!


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