Hi! I'm really excited to share with you an interview with a super talented jewelry maker, Melanie, from Beads N Style. Melanie creates beautiful and functional magnetic hematite jewelry that when worn is a natural, holistic method for alleviating pain and discomfort.
Q. What is the first craft project you remember making?
A. The first crafty things I remember doing were in Vacation Bible School as a child. I vividly remember a project where we colored salt so that it would be like colored sand. We then filled fun shaped glass bottles layering the various colors of salt. I remember thinking it was so very cool! :)
Q. What inspires you?
A. It’s funny you should ask this as a just wrote a blog post about that last week -- blog.beads-n-style.com/finding-inspiration-for-jewelry-designs/.
I find that I primarily find my inspiration in the things around me as I go about my daily life. A color combination that I see, maybe a pretty blouse I see someone wearing that inspires me. I’ve even found colors to use in my jewelry designs by watching my daughter color and draw.
Q. Can you describe some of your creative processes?
A. I don’t have just one way that I sit down and design. Some days an idea just pops in my head – seemingly out of nowhere – and I must sit down and do it NOW! :) Other days I sit down at my design table and look over all my beads I have out until something strikes me… a color combination, bead shapes to put together… something that inspires me to move forward and put a piece together.
Q. What is your most prized handmade possession?
A. Probably a quilt that my grandmother made for me when I graduated from high school. She used scraps of clothing that had been worn by my father and his siblings when they were children. So very special!
Q. What was the hardest thing about starting your Etsy shop?
A. For me, it was the overall learning curve in general. First, I realized I really needed to up my game with pictures. I had a lot to learn there, and honestly, I’m still learning. I think the second thing that I have struggled with was learning and implementing good SEO. And, third, marketing my shop.
The first two – SEO and photos – is ongoing for me. I’m always trying to learn more about both topics. Anytime an item in my shop is up for renewing, I review to determine if I need to re-take the photos and also review my titles, tags and description for any updates I think it needs for SEO.
I still struggle with marketing. I’m learning, but I find it hard to always know what is best to try or not try. So, if anyone has any tips, I’d be happy to hear them! :)
Q. What's the BEST thing about running your Etsy shop?
A. For me, it is knowing that I am providing a quality piece of jewelry that is both beneficial and pretty. I want to help others and being able to creatively design something that does just that is incredibly fulfilling.
Q. How do your customers find out about your products?
A. Most of my customers find me via Google and Etsy searches. However, I also have a new blog that has sent several new customers my way. I also use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and advertise on a large well-known website.
Q. What are a few of your favorite items in your shop?
Q. If you could give one piece of advice to a new Etsy seller, what would it be?
A. Be patient, but persistent. It takes time to be found. Learn and effectively implement good SEO and make sure those photos look great. With each change you make, be patient in seeing the results. It takes time. As I’ve done both, I’ve seen my sales increase incrementally.
Q. Where can we find you (etsy, facebook, twitter, etc.)
A. Etsy – www.etsy.com/shop/beadsnstyle
Blog – blog.beads-n-style.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/BeadsNStyle
Twitter – www.twitter.com/beadsnstyle
Pinterest – www.pinterest.com/beadsnstyle
Q. Finally, tell us 3 fun facts about you!
A. 1. My family is my happy place. No matter how stressful and busy life may get, my husband and two children are where I find rest, peace and much laughter!
2. I worked full time in the Information Technology field until I left two years ago to spend more with my children and my handmade business.
3. Today is the last day of school for us and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have fewer activities on the calendar, fun times with my children, more time outdoors, and lots of lazy summer days.
Thanks so much, Melanie, for sharing some of your creative processes and thoughts! It was great getting to know you a little better!!!
I invite you guys to stop by Melanie's shop, BeadsnStyle, to check out her beautiful jewelry and give her some love!
If you are a handmade artist and would like to be featured, or you know know a killer artist that I should feature, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment in the section below!