Happy Thursday peeps! I've got another very talented artist feature for you. Meet Mary ... she makes gorgeous jewelry, and you can clearly see her love for it in her beautiful creations!
What is your craft and how long have you been making it?
I've been interested in beadwork and other crafts since I was about 12, so around 17 years. I just started to make and sell wirework jewelry on Etsy around Christmas time last year.
What inspired you to start selling your handmade items and are you enjoying it?
I started selling online after a co-worker at my previous job introduced me to Etsy. Kathy shopped the site often and thought the stuff I made for myself would sell. I didn't want to sell online much before Etsy – I guess because Ebay didn't seem like a fun option. I am really enjoying it, especially all of the contacts I've made with other kind and inspiring crafters!
What is your best selling item?
So far my best sellers are cedar berry “ghost bead” bracelets and simple post earrings. Wrist malas are not too far behind, though. I love making jewelry that has a special meaning to the wearer.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
Almost anything that comes from nature. My favorites include pearl and other healing gemstones like Labradorite, Amazonite, Garnet, Amethyst and many more. Wooden beads and beads made from nuts and seeds are also neat. Sterling silver and hemp are definitely my top favorites to get my hands on!
What is your favorite venue for promoting yourself & your craft.
I don't do very much paid advertising right now – I don't have a budget for it, but a trial of Google Adwords did bring a noticable change in traffic. One place I really like to network and promote is MyCraftCorner. It's a really nice community of crafters who support each other. I also upload product photos on Flickr, tweet on Twitter and I especially enjoy interacting with fans on Facebook.
Where does your inspiration to create come from?
I find inspiration from a quiet, spiritual place within. It can sometimes be hard to cultivate that. It can also be very easy, such as doing some yoga breathing, or the act of clearing clutter off my desk. Ultimately I want everything I create to be a product of the love I have within me.
What do you do to keep busy when experiencing slow sales?
I have a lot to keep me busy. I spend as much time as possible with my loving and also very creative husband. I enjoy working out and doing a yoga practice at home. I have partnered up with a friend who wants to open a fine art gallery and boutique here in Louisville, KY. So that means I have to keep busy making inventory for that shop as well as helping with the planning and inception of the business! I couldn't be more excited about the future.
What would you say to artists who are new to selling and/or who are struggling with selling?
Stick with it! Learn more about what you can do to increase your sales. Don't beat yourself up because you think your shop isn't “good enough.” There are so many helpful resources you can read online about marketing, photographing your items, effective blogging, etc. I like Etsy's email newsletter, forums and Virtual Labs. Network with other crafters on sites like MyCraftCorner for absolutely free advice. Finding a mentor that's willing to answer questions is a good idea. If you are not willing to give it 100% every day, it probably shows... and people don't want to buy that. Believe in yourself, educate yourself. You'll be fine!
What are some of your goals for your business?
There's definitely room for improvement and expansion. I would like to start listing work on sites other than Etsy. I am looking forward to having a retail space where I can work and be available to clients looking for a custom piece. I want to develop my website into something bigger. Another goal is to get more capital up so I can take metalsmithing classes and afford more supplies. I can never have enough supplies!
Find Mary's handmade jewelry online at:
For custom work, email Mary at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent Mary! It's been a pleasure featuring you and learning more about you and your awesome talent!