Q. Where did you learn to make your beautiful jewelry?
A. My jewelry making started about 6 years ago after one of my sisters came home from a jewelry making party and showed me what she had created. She showed me the basics and instinct took over from there. I somehow just knew how to do it and I was instantly addicted.
I have always had a creative streak in me. There are times that it is almost a physical need that has to be expressed. Prior to making jewelry, when the creative bug would bite me I would make something, anything. And I've tried it all. Painting, pottery, sewing (phew… really bad at that!), computer graphics, photography. You name it, and I've given it a shot.
When I started making jewelry I was finally able to completely satisfy that creative 'bug'. I am a nature lover and every piece of jewelry I create is an assembly of odds and ends from Mother Nature. I am drawn to vibrant gemstones, precious and semi-precious gemstones, silver and copper. All from this little planet called earth! I see it as a form of recycling in a way. Or maybe upcycling is a better term.
Q. How has your shop changed/evolved since the first day you opened?
A. Well, it's certainly been a learning experience! I started out slow, with just a few items and slowly built from there. I took a lesson with a local photography artist and learned how to take better photos. One thing I know for sure, is that to successfully sell jewelry (or anything else really!) on Etsy, you have GOT to have great photos of your product. It is not like a retail shop, where women can pick up my items and try them on. The photo has to sell it. I love shopping in little boutiques and have tried to recreate that feeling in my Etsy shop through my banner, titles, descriptions and photographs as much as possible. I wish we had the ability to 'wallpaper' our shops here. Then I could get REALLY creative and set a shop mood!
Q. Everyone always asks "What inspires you?" so let's try a different angle on this...let's say that you've been out hiking in the forest. You wander through, just soaking up the beauty around you, and suddenly you stop dead in your tracks, gasping in sheer delight. What did you see? How will you honor that with your artistry?
A. Can I change my forest to a desert or the beach? Most of the year I live in the foothills north of Phoenix, in the beautiful sonoran desert and beauty abounds here! When we aren't in good ol' AZ, we are down at our beach house on the Caribbean island of Isla Mujeres. In both homes, I am surrounded by natural beauty.
So no forests in my life, but to answer your question:
If I were out walking in Arizona…it could have been the colors of a sunset that stopped me in my tracks, the clouds lying down on the mountains or the the blue blue blue of the Arizona sky.
Down in the Caribbean…I have literally looked out my front window at that amazing, indescribable blue turquoise water and cried. It is that beautiful. Last fall I made a pair of earrings called 'Out the Casa Window' and in my item photos included a picture of the amazing view that inspired them. They sold quickly. I should do that more often!
Q. What do you feel has been the most effective method for promoting your shop? How did it help your shop?
A. Hmmmm, this is a tough one. I haven't really done any formal advertising other than occasionally purchasing a showcase here on Etsy, and unfortunately that hasn't turned into sales for me. I'm now considering an advertisement on either Craftcult or Craftopolis.
What has been successful so far has been word of mouth, repeat customers and getting into the chat rooms on a daily basis promoting other sellers shops. They tend to return the favor! We are a great bunch here on Etsy, aren't we?
I also use Twitter and Facebook. I tweet different items from my shop 3 or 4 times a day on Twitter. This always generates a good number of views and has turned into a few sales.
I am excited to get my blog going! I have it laid out the way I want and am almost ready to go public with it! Stay tuned!
A surprising sales producer was when a friend and neighbor down on Isla Mujeres featured me in his blog. He blogs almost daily about the island, but he had purchased a necklace from me and liked it so much he wanted to let the rest of the world know about it. He posted a link from his blog to my Etsy shop and that turned into a bunch of sales for me! In fact, I think I sold out of all of my 'island inspired' pieces that following week. Sweet!
Q. What new and exciting pieces are you considering for future posts in your store?A. Last month I went to the Tucson Gem and Lapidary Wholesale show and stocked up on a ton of supplies! I purchased some incredible turquoise, some amazing gemstones that I had never even heard of, and lots of unique sterling silver and copper findings.
Here are two new pieces that were created with supplies from that show. This turquoise is my all time favorite. It's a higher end turquoise called 'Sleeping Beauty' from a mine not too far from me, in Globe Arizona.
And this piece features copper from my favorite Arizona copper artist, Patricia Healey. She makes incredible copper pendants and clasps and I just adore her work. They all have an amazing patina finish and are little bits of art themselves. I love to incorporate them into my pieces.
But next on the agenda is learning the art of Precious Metal Clay. I am so excited about the prospect of making my own pendants and findings! I will be taking a class on this within the next month or so.
Q. Which famous person would you love to have come to visit and purchase from your shop?
A. Wow, so many people come to mind. The First Lady, Michelle Obama, would be pretty fantastic. Whether you like her or not, it's impossible to say she doesn't have great taste! She has the fashion sense and class of a Kennedy. And standing next to her, I'd like to see Ellen DeGeneres. I just adore her. She doesn't normally wear much jewelry so maybe she could buy some for her wife, Portia de Rossi.
Thank you so much for including me in this very fun series on the Etsy Chat Team Blog! I wish you all many sales, prosperity and happiness!