Hi! Thanks for stopping by! I'm really happy to bring you another handmade weekend interview with the owners/creators from Drakestail Jewellery, Roxanne & Robyn. Go grab a cup or coffee or tea (I'll wait!), get comfy, and get to know these lovely ladies a little better!
Q. What is the first craft project you remember making?
Roxanne: I remember making candles with my Mom every winter as Christmas gifts for my school teachers when I was growing up. I’m sure I crafted before that as well but making candles with my Mom is my first solid crafting memory.
Robyn: I've been pretty crafty all my life, but the first craft I remember making is wrapping yarn around the outside of a paper plate, to make a frame for a photo taken in Grade 1.
Q. What inspires you?
Roxanne: I find inspiration all over the place, sometimes it’s in period movies with lots of elaborate costumes, sometimes it’s from a song I hear or a long walk in a park. Sometimes I’m inspired by the colour combination in a meal I prepare, it can be so simple. Inspiration is such a neat thing, I find that if I keep your mind open, you can find it in almost anything.
Robyn: So many things! I'm a big rock hound, and I always feel inspired by the beauty of gemstones. It takes millennia for crystals to form, for mineral-laden water to seep through cracks in stone and build into gems, so agates and geodes hold a special fascination for me.
I'm also really inspired by other creative people, and not just crafters. I love reading biographies of musicians and artists, because I find the fire that drives them to create is inspiring.
Q. Can you describe some of your creative processes?
Roxanne: It varies depending on my mood and on the project. If I receive a custom order I will sketch out options, list various material options and review those with the client, back and forth until we come up with their perfect piece. If I’m just sitting down to make something new, I tend to just dig through my stock of stones and findings until I hit upon something that “grabs me”. Sometimes I will do a layout of the pieces first and play around with options that way before I get started, sometimes, if I am certain of how I want the piece to look, I’ll jump right to assembly.
Robyn: Often, I let my materials dictate what I make. I'll pick out a strand of stones, or a great pendant, and turn it over in my hand and mind until inspiration strikes. I carry a notebook with me wherever I go, so I can jot down ideas as they come to me. When I'm ready to create, I'll lay out all my materials to get an idea of what the end product will look like. I'll rearrange and swap until I'm happy, then I get down to work!
Q. What is your most prized handmade possession?
Roxanne: It actually isn’t something I made. It’s an oil painting I had commissioned from a friend of a friend, it is a landscape piece with a large silver tree and three ravens. It’s highly textured and has lots of blues, purples and greens. I love art and art that I cannot make myself always appeals to me. I’ve always felt it is important to support local artists and try to collect pieces from every place I live or travel to.
Robyn: The knitted baby outfits that my grandmother made for my children, back when I was still a child. My mother gave them to me at my baby shower, and I cried. My grandmother passed away years ago, which makes them that much more precious.
Q. What was the hardest thing about starting your Etsy shop?
Roxanne: I think the hardest thing was to maintain growth. We set up our shop and were quite pleased at having accomplished that and then we had a lull where we weren’t adding new items to the shop on a consistent basis. We’ve gotten a lot better at maintaining that consistent shop growth over the last year.
Robyn: Getting the inventory entered. It's a lot of work to take all those photos and do all the copy writing!
Q. What's the BEST thing about running your Etsy shop?
Roxanne: The most exciting thing for me is that as we’ve started to grow, we are reaching more and more people from all over the world. Earlier this year we had our first international sale to a lady in France. We were so excited by this! How thrilling to know one of our unique necklaces is being worn so far away!
Robyn: I love the Etsy community. I'm involved in several teams, and love to share ideas, from social media to doing craft shows to just socializing.
Q. How do your customers find out about your products?
Roxanne: I would say most of our customers learn about us and our work through word of mouth. We have the most supportive friends and family two ladies could ask for. They are always sending people our way and we feel very fortunate for that. I know other customers hear about us thanks to the retail locations that carry our jewellery. We have 3 at the moment, in Edmonton, Winnipeg and Gimli. Other than that, regular internet searches bring people to our ETSY shop. We’ve been working hard on improving our hashtags on every item we post to make us more easily searchable. We have lots to learn still but we’re always working on it.
Robyn: We're both pretty knowledgeable about our products, so customers can chat us up in person, if we're at a show, or online if they have a question about something on our Etsy shop. We're always happy to talk about our jewellery because we're so passionate about it!
Q. What are a few of your favorite items in your shop?
Roxanne: Personally the vintage inspired pearl jewellery stands out for me. They are simple and classic and the Swarovski crystal pearls just have such an opulent look. I also really love our tree of life pendants, although I’ve seen many other jewellery shops with a similar design, I find ours are different somehow and I like that about them. I love the customizability of the tree pendants, any stone chip can be used to create something of special significance to each client.
Robyn: They're all my babies so it's hard to pick favourites, but I'm particularly fond of the Tree of Life pendants. Each one is a little different, and I love trying out new combinations of metals and gemstones.
Q. If you could give one piece of advice to a new Etsy seller, what would it be?
Roxanne: Do some research about web search-ability before you start creating tags for your items, have a good grasp of what terms people use to search and then create your listings with that in mind.
Robyn: Be persistent! It can be tough to get noticed on Etsy, but if you consistently add items and make a little noise on social media, people will connect with you.
Q. Where can we find you (etsy, facebook, twitter, etc.)
Q. Finally, tell us 3 fun facts about you!
1) I absolutely love gardening, and have turned most of my backyard into a vegetable garden. Nothing says summer like standing out in the sunshine and eating cherry tomatoes or raspberries right from the bush!
2) I’m a big geek. I love playing role-playing games (think Dungeons and Dragons) and video games. My favourite game these days is Dragon Age, and I can’t wait for the latest one to come out.
3) I love to cook but I’m a terrible baker. I’ve always said that baking is a science and cooking is an art, and I think I’m much more an artist than a scientist.
Thanks so much Roxanne & Robyn!!!! I love that you guys are friends running this business together! How fun!
I invite you guys to stop by Roxanne & Robyn's shop to check out their beautiful jewelry creations and give them some love (maybe even pick up a little something nice for yourself!)
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!