Enjoy the interview!
1. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?
I make a variety of jewelry. I work mainly with sterling silver, genuine stones and pearls. I also like to incorporate leather in to many of my pieces. Most of my pieces come together by experimenting with combining different stones and materials. I’ve also done a few lost wax cast pieces which is a pretty laborious process and involves melting silver. Hammering and hand stamping silver is my favorite, though. As for how I got started: When my youngest daughter started driving, I really felt a void. For years I used to spend my days, evenings and weekends picking up and dropping of my kids at different activities and events. Then one day – the day she got her driver’s license - it all stopped. I now had to find something to do with all my new free time (since both my kids were now driving) so I started spending my evenings at a local bead store. I found I really liked creating pieces of jewelry I could wear and started to take an interest in different stones and styles of jewelry that other people were wearing. When that bead store closed about a year later, I took a couple of lost wax casting classes. I enjoy the whole creative process and know that when my kids and their friends ask for and wear my jewelry, it has passed the “cool” test!
2. How did you get involved with Etsy?
A couple of friends encouraged me to sell on Etsy and I took their advice!
3. What inspires your creations?
The love of my kids inspires me above all else.
4. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?
Marketing - by far. I have to confess that I am not on any social networking site and am a bit shy in talking about it too much. I need to get beyond that so I can bring in more sales!
5. What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
I have a couple. I like this sterling silver horseshoe necklace that I made using the lost wax casting process. I like the size and shape of the horseshoe and also that fact that it started off as a piece of wax I shaped.
I also like this carnelian and suede ribbon tie necklace, too. I like the orange on orange. The facets on the carnelian show off the stones irregularities and flaws and make it all-the-more interesting. I also like the texture of the suede ribbon.
I should also mention, that in the beginning, I got too attached to some of the pieces I made and didn’t want to sell them. I’ve had to force myself to part with them. I just have to remind myself that someone else will get to enjoy the piece, so that makes it easier for me.
6. What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?
I’m still learning, but I would say to make an effort to post on the forums and ask questions. Do quality work. Have high standards and take pride in your finished pieces. Also, have good communication with your customers and ship quickly!
7. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.
My kids really have been my inspiration for all things artistic. When they were young I took lots of pictures of them. One of the snap shots I took of my daughter with my old Canon A-1 camera happened to come out nice and I entered it in a local photo contest. I won third place. The prize I won was a free photography class. I came to really like it and was pretty hooked. I also made high-end clothes for my kids when they were little. I used to study the European children’s designers and subscribed to Vogue Bambini. I even sold a couple of my pieces to a local children’s boutique. From there I started making them some pretty elaborate Halloween costumes. I did it not to impress anyone, I just felt a “need” to see what I could create.
8. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your shop or your work?
I find that I am more artistic than business-minded. I would like to learn more about marketing and technology so that I can increase my sales!