Happy New Year to all! With the start of 2009 let me introduce you to another Etsy Treasury Team member: AdornMeJewelry
What’s the story behind your store, where did it all start?
Technically, it started when I was a girl. My mom raised two girlie-girl daughters. I've always loved clothes, makeup, jewelry, purses -- all that stuff. Well, as a fat girl going to school in the 60s, and at the time when Carnaby Street Mod was at its apex and I could not fit in a flarking thing, because they didn't make cute clothes for fat girls back then, jewelry was the one thing I could make fit. I did that by riding my purple Stingray bicycle around my area of the San Fernando Valley in search of yard sales offering jewelry. I'd buy pieces that had elements of jewelry I liked and then, with the help of supplies at the bead store (and I used two pair of TWEEZERS back then, because I had no clue about REAL tools at that time), I would use those elements I liked, along with bead store findings (I can still remember the way that place looked -- it was magical), and make jewelry that I thought was pretty and cool and that fit me. I at least had SOMETHING that fit -- which is why I'm so big on doing as much as I can to make sure I have enough offerings so that the lovely plush women can have jewelry they like that fits them the way it should.
In high school, I participated in the first work ed program in my city by training at a gift and gem studio. There, I was taught to design a piece in my head and then choose the stone, shape and polish it (the owner cut the stones -- big saw, possible missing limbs and fingers... students not allowed), and then decide if I was going to torch and smith the piece or do a wax casting. So I learned how to create jewelry from conception to the final rouge polish.
As an adult, I worked in a high-end jewelry store, which was like a creative death. Only worked as Christmas help and got the heck out, because it was basically assembly line work.
Since then, off and on I've made bits of jewelry here and there. In the early 90s I worked a lot with leather, feathers and crystals, and then did some southwestern stuff -- all kinds of things. But it's been a small scale kind of thing.
When I came here to Canada to be with my husband, one of the few things I brought with me was my basic tool box -- my bare bones supplies with tools, findings, wire, stones, and such, but ultimately only holds less than a 10th of what I now have. I'm still not sure why I brought it with me, as I didn't really have conscious plans to use it. Moving here was tough in some ways. We live in a small city outside of Montreal, and while Montreal itself has a number of English-speakers, our city does not. I found myself feeling isolated and for the first time ever in my life, bored and lonely. Even as I child I was never bored and was always able to entertain myself with music and either books, riding my bike, art or making jewelry. "I thought, maybe I'll just make a little jewelry to sell." Sheesh. I have so much I need to devise a better system to store it all until it sells. It's all taken over my studio office.
So, I just decided to do it and jumped in with both feet, and now I'm surrounded by stones, pearls, crystals, glass beads, metals, tools, business cards and boxes with my business logo and name on them. And now I have an Etsy store (http://www.adornmejewelry.etsy.com) and am getting ready to open a store at Lollishops.
What can we find in your store?
Jewelry. Lots of jewelry. :) My tastes and style is very eclectic, so I don't just make Modern or Romantic, or gemmy, but do a bit of all of it.
Do you have any favorite items?
I think my favorites are whatever I'm hung up on at the time. At one time, it was the very sparkly Orion Nebula necklace here:http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=15955745
Lately, I've been making more things with flowers, in a more Romantic/Victorian/Steampunk kind of style. The only one in the store right now is Annabelle Lee:http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=17040377I had made another one somewhat like it, using a pink rose, and it sold out within one minute of it being listed in the store:http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=11807457
I have many more roses and will be making many more somewhat like it, as I have a lot of roses, chandelier pieces and real antique keys.
Where do you get ideas for your products?
Various places. Sometimes it's from looking at items my usual suppliers have in stock, and I envision various elements coming together in a piece. Often, it's what I call the "visions of sugarplums" dancing through my head. As I lay in bed at night, falling asleep, an array of visions of jewelry runs through my mind, and I often design at that time. Agatha Christie said she often got her best story ideas as she washed the dishes. For me, it's laying in bed, relaxing as visions of creations flood my mind's eye.
What has been your biggest store challenge?
Promoting and selling. You can have tons of gorgeous jewelry, but if no one knows you exist, you won't sell anything. I actually sold quite a bit before even opening my Etsy store, through my blog (http://adornmejewelry.blogspot.com/). People would see my creations and message me through the link I provided to my domain contact page. I was amassing supplies and had my Etsy account and was buying supplies for five months before actually opening the store. So promotion is key, and having enough time to do everything without getting stressed out and burned out has been a real challenge. But I don't regret it. I just need minions. Lots of minions, to take and adjust the photos, write copy, do promotion and marketing -- all of the other work that isn't actually creating. :)
Do you have any advice to other store owners, especially newbies?
It's hard work and a lot of long hours. You get into a business doing something you love because you love to do it. But the fact is, you'll spend as long, if not longer, taking care of the business end and promotion and marketing. Be prepared for that. And keep good records. It also doesn't hurt to take screen captures of items you buy, whether it's from eBay, Etsy, or wherever. You may not, down the line, remember that those vintage crystal chandelier pieces you bought five months ago were from an old warehouse dating back to the 1940s, but you WANT to remember, because it's a good selling point for those who like vintage. That way, you have your image file, with the info and photos of items you have bought, so you can refer back to it in writing your item descriptions. It's been a life saver for me! Lastly. Try to savor the times you are creating and enjoying what you're doing.
A favorite quote of mine really speaks to that: “Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” -- Omar Khayyam
So don't forget to check out her store for all of the beautiful jewelry pieces!!