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 Nicole from Eva M Designs on Etsy!
Tell me about yourself and your shop.
I am the creator of Eva M Designs, a shop that features a little bit of everything. I’ve always loved crafting but didn’t get into the business end of it until I started making jewelry. Needing a way to fund this addiction, I started a shop on Etsy. Eva M Designs is named after my grandmother, Eva Manko, who passed on her crafty-gene to me. I think she also passed on an entrepreneurial spirit — I remember hearing stories of her and my grandfather running all sorts of ventures, from an ice cream shop to selling eggs to clothing alterations. Having recently decided to leave a career in teaching (and a decent salary) to manage a non-profit animal shelter in Olean, NY, I could use a little extra cash. I’d like to make Eva M Designs that “second job.”
As for an interesting fact about me — I am an adoptaholic. I started adopting dogs when I brought home Molly from a summer course I took in Mexico after my freshman year of college and have found homes (generally within my friends and family group) for 5 other dogs since. It’s practically an addiction. The great thing is, I will soon be paid to do it!
How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
I’ve always been crafty — I got into scrapbooking in high school, and I did a lot of sewing. For a few years I participated in Civil War reenactments (haha, yes, I’m a geek), so I sewed all my 1860s-era dresses myself. I also made a number of quilts and my prom dress. After I began college, my time was swallowed up with school and work, so it was just within the last few years I’ve gotten back into crafting. I started making jewelry in 2010 — first, for myself, and then as Christmas presents. I briefly ventured into Etsy at that point, but my time was again taken up with graduate school (M.Ed. in Middle and Secondary Ed) and I abandoned that first try. I got back on to Etsy late this fall, utilizing the little time I have after work (when I’m not planning, grading, calling parents, etc.) to create! Finding teaching not to my liking, crafting has been a way to cope with this stressful year. I’m looking forward to my move to Olean, finally getting into a career that I love, and I hope all that positive energy will flow back into my creative work!
What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)
When it comes to jewelry, I am always most confident about pieces that I myself straight up love. If I would love to wear it, I know someone else would, too. I love working with beach glass – it’s so unique and pretty – so I am in the process of creating some pieces that blend modern, professional jewelry styles (the type of stuff I’d wear as a young teacher) with the use of beach glass as opposed to beads. Right now I’m working on a double strand sterling silver necklace (one strand figaro chain, one basic cable) with beach glass sprinkled strategically throughout the chains. I recently sold a similar necklace that used teal, brown and ivory beads — I am shooting for the same look but with a unique touch! I’m definitely starting to feel I am figuring out my niche. 🙂
What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
Pinterest. Or browse through Etsy. I just love seeing what other people have created, and it always brings ideas to my mind. It’s also just inspiring to look through the listings and see people finding real success selling items similar to my own. It gives me hope that I can get my shop out there too!
What is your best achievement?
While I hope I don’t say this my entire life, the greatest thing I ever created was my senior thesis at Allegheny College. I worked my butt off for an entire year, researching Native American women in Puritan New England, digging through primary resources, creating a REAL and ORIGINAL argument, and writing over 100 pages of text. I even won an award for it from the History department. I really do consider it one of my greatest achievements and probably the thing I am most proud of.
What does handmade mean to you?
To me, handmade means it is not made thousands of miles away in some factory by a minimum wage paid worker on a long assembly line. It means it is uniquely designed and created by someone who sees their work as not just a paycheck but also art.
Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
I would definitely be interested in creating custom listings! I have made jewelry pieces for family, friends, and friends of friends, etc. who have seen my jewelry on others, and I would be happy to do the same through Etsy as well!
What plans do you have for the future of you business?
I just want to see my shop grow and who knows from there! I am trying to learn all I can about the business aspects, marketing, photography, social media, etc. and am excited where all this might lead.
Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
Try it. What do you have to lose?
Many thanks to Jill and be sure to check out the rest of her shop!
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