Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.
Today’s feature is all about Jane from Jacaranda Designs Jewelry on Etsy!
Tell me about yourself and your shop.
My husband, myself and two teenage sons live in Oakville on the shores of Lake Ontario, just outside Toronto. I’ve been a stay at home mom since I decided to leave the rat race about 5 years ago. However, my days are extremely busy working on my jewelry business and volunteering at the library where I teach seniors computing and social networking.
I love creme caramel, Cuban music, the Sarah Bernhardt peonies in my front garden, Merlin TV series, historical fiction, have a HUGE collection of cookbooks, can’t make macaroons to save my life, have a penchant for photographing flowers and am addicted to Instagram.
How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
I started making jewelry when I enrolled in a jewelry making course at a local college. That was about 7 years ago. I became quite obsessed with making jewelry and finally decided I better try and sell some of my creations. My sister mentioned trying out Etsy and so I opened my Etsy shop in October 2007.
What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)
For sure, nature. I’m an avid flower and vegetable gardener and so I really long for the end of winter and the first signs of spring, just to see the glorious plants that Mother Nature has to offer. If you look closely at flowers and even leaves, you’ll see beautiful textures and color combinations. Even the smell of certain plants can be intoxicating. There’s nothing quite as relaxing as taking a stroll around a gorgeous garden and just observing the plants and insects. I take tons of photos during the spring and summer and often refer back to them when I’m making jewelry as they are full of inspiration.
What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
I like too sit down and flip through a favorite magazine or read some posts on a BLOG that I enjoy. It doesn’t take long when looking at the incredible things that others have created, to get me back in the mode.
What is your best achievement?
I think my best achievement in terms of my business, is marketing. Not to say that I do a fantastic job, but that’s the area where I have the least expertise and have had to really push myself past my comfort level. I not a natural born seller, so I’ve spent many hours researching how to sell and advertise my products and I think it’s paid off. There’s still so much to learn though. At times, it can be quite daunting.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade is anything that has a human touch to it. It may be made from recycled products or made from scratch but by looking at it you know it’s not mass produced and that someone put time and effort into creating it. I love it when there’s a story behind a handmade item!
Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
Yes, I enjoy working on custom orders. In the jewelry business, many customers are brides looking for jewelry to match their dress or bridesmaids outfits and so most of my bridal orders are custom orders. There’s always a bride that leaves everything to the last moment though and that can at times be stressful 🙂
What plans do you have for the future of you business?
To grow and grow and grow. So lots of hard work on the horizon!
Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
Be patient. It takes time and lots of hard work. It’s easy opening an Etsy store and adding items to your shop but getting people to your store is very challenging. Stay on top of all the communications from Etsy and visit the forums on a regular basis so you are aware of how changes to Etsy will affect your business.
Good photographs are a MUST! Take the time to experiment with different settings on your camera, various backgrounds, lighting at different times of the day etc… I have spent hundreds of hours practicing small product photography and although not perfect, my photographs are a hundred times better than when I first opened my Etsy shop.
Many thanks to Jane and be sure to check out the rest of her shop!
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