This is a new thing for me, so please let me know how you like this. Even though I’ve mainly focused on the podcast, here is an interview that was done over email instead. If you like the idea of reading the interviews with Etsy shop owners please leave feedback below and I will consider incorporating more of these on the site.
Don’t worry though, they will NOT take the place of the podcast, I promise… I know how much more convenient it is to listen while you workout, jog, work, craft, commute, etc. than it is to read 🙂
This interview is with Liz who owns the Etsy shop Elle & Belle Jewelry. Enjoy!
When and how did you first discover Etsy?
I was introduced to Etsy in December 2012 when my children encouraged me to open my Shop, Elle & Belle, which I started in January 2013 after being retired for several years.
What do you sell?
I sell mainly necklaces and bracelets handmade with care using semi-precious stones, fiber, and other eco-friendly materials. I like the organic nature and unique quality of tagua, coconut, hemp and cotton.
How do you manage your time?
I spend a great deal of my day on my Etsy shop and try to break it up between creating and management activities but I make sure I start my day with stretches and a brief workout first. I usually devote mornings to promoting and administering my shop through team and treasury activities, and editing my listings and shop info and appearance as well as managing my Facebook and Pinterest accounts. I find reviewing the forums provides useful information.
l love the creative process so I try not to let these distracting, but necessary jobs, keep me from spending a few hours a day fashioning my jewelry. If I am having a creative block, I find taking a walk or gardening break helps me to see a design from a different perspective.
How much time do you spend looking at your Etsy competitor’s shops?
I occasionally visit other Etsy shops that are doing well to see how their shop presents and how they are using titles and tags.
Is your shop profitable?
Although my shop is not really profitable, I am happier with my sales now and each one is still exciting. It took about three months to get my first sale.
When I first opened my shop I was expecting a lot of sales right away and didn’t realize how much marketing and administration time would be involved. I have been trying to improve photographs and shop appearance as well as my SEO, Etsy relevancy and social media exposure and have had some shop trafîic from my Facebook and Pinterest accounts.
My shop has only been open for a year. Hopefully, I will see an increase in sales in 2014 with the positive changes I have been making.
What inspires/motivates you?
I am inspired by my husband and children who have all had their own businesses. After studying jewelry design, my daughter started Elle & Belle which is named after me and my mother, Isabel. She created a Hearts for Sick Kids campaign, donating a portion of the proceeds from her glass heart necklaces to the Sick Kids Foundation in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My daughter’s interest in jewelry and her charitable generosity was the main catalyst for me and from there I developed a passion for jewelry design.
When she moved to New York City, she taught me how to make her wire-wrapped hearts. I continue to support her chosen charity through my heart sales.
I admire individuality, quality and creative talent in any art form; whether fashion, furniture or art work etc. A desire to be proud of my own work keeps me striving to produce good quality jewelry which someone will enjoy for a very long time. I am motivated knowing that my friends and customers admire my work and that they feel happy and special wearing it.
Motivation has also come from family in the form of encouraging words of wisdom and design advice as well as photography assistance from my son. Friends have also been very helpful in getting me to step outside my comfort zone to photograph, promote and sell my work.
When you get a new idea, how long does it take you to execute and list it?
The amount of time between a new design idea and actually listing it depends on how detailed or involved the piece is. I usually draw a rough sketch and then set the materials out in the design.
If I ’m not immediately happy with the way it looks, I’ll leave it and go on to something else or for a walk while I think about it for a while. Sometimes I find myself over-thinking a design in an attempt to make it perfect and will rework a piece even after I list it.
So, from inception to execution and listing could take anywhere from one to several days or a week.
How has Etsy changed your life and has it had the impact on your business that you expected?
Etsy has definitely changed my life and been a positive experience. It has given me the opportunity to pursue something I love and has challenged me to learn new skills such as business management and photography.
I spend at least three full days a week just managing my shop and listing items. I am very busy and feel empowered by my new skills. It has also enabled me to communicate with many special customers around the world in addition to making good friends at home who have generously given of their time and skills.
Elle & Belle Jewelry Treasury