The Adorned Article Fine Handcrafted Sterling Silver and Gemstone Jewelry

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Giveaway Train

I've noticed quite a few giveaways going down lately and I'm starting to feel left out. So I thought I would hop on the giveaway train and do one of my own. It's actually excellent timing as I'm in the process of clearing out my old inventory to make way for a new line coming out in September (probably mid-September at this point).  I just can't figure out which piece of jewelry to giveaway...I've narrowed it down to a couple of options...but I still can't decide. Does anyone have any suggestions? If you do help an indecisive sister out and leave a comment with your suggestion...or I can just pick one using the oh so scientific eany meany miney moe method...




 



 




Saturday, August 27, 2011

Artist Snapshot-Ozetta Handmade Knits


Hailey was kind enough to take time out of her busy designing/knitting/making schedule to sit down and answer some questions for us. I really enjoyed getting to know more about her and I am certain you will too! Click on the link above to visit her gorgeous Etsy Shop and drop by her Blog or swing by Tumblr to check out her 365 Project!


Please tell us a little bit about yourself
Hello! My name is Hailey, the proprietor behind Ozetta handmade knits. I grew up and currently live in a small town in Oklahoma. I married my high school/elementary school sweetheart and we were blessed by a little boy almost two years ago.


How did you first get started knitting…what appeals to you about this particular medium?
I started crocheting when I was ten years old, but took a long break from it and picked up knitting. However, I have found that both are equally important in this industry. So, I do both. This art form appeals to me because you start with yarn and needles. That's it. And with great care and process I begin to create something. It's amazing what you can create with so little and make something so extraordinary. When I work on an order, I like to look at it as something entirely different than just an order. It means so much more to me than that. Each piece I create is full of meaning, love, and high attention to detail. According to my father-in-law I am building a piece. And I guess in reality, I really am.

Can you walk us through your creative process? Every season is like a new beginning to me. I get to add to my previous collection and sometimes that proves to be a challenge. I sketch, decide what colors to use, create sample swatches of patterns, and build on the foundation of all things knit and crochet.

 


Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I constantly draw inspiration from this beautiful world-Nature. Music. Fashion. Words. Photography. Family. I once lived in Alaska for a short year of my life and very few places have been close in comparison. You may notice a lot of the titles in my shop are named after places; it's my personal way of having a piece of Alaska with me. My handmade items are mostly named after cities, bodies of water, and small towns that make up Alaska. This cold and mountainous place made a huge mark on my life and I wanted a part of it to always belong in my shop.

How/when did you decide to start your own business?
Ozetta handmade knits is deeply inspired from my great grandmother. My grandmother taught me how to crochet, among many other things, and most importantly she showed me to lead by her example in life and that was to do what makes me happy. When she passed away a few years ago, I stepped back and took a look at my life and where I was heading. I was heading down the monotonous path and I wanted to become something greater than ordinary. I wanted to make something of my time and myself, just as she did.


How did you come up with your shop/business name? Is there a meaning or story behind it?
Ozetta is the middle name of my great grandmother. What's surprising is the name was never really an issue; I always knew my shop was going to be Ozetta. My Memaw was the brightest person in any room. She had the best advice, was so very patient, and dropped subtle hints of what she knew you could become. She would always say "little Hailey, you can do anything". I would sometimes stay for weeks with her in the summer months. We would wake up early to cook a huge breakfast for the two of us, watch movies, curl up in her handmade quilts while crocheting and talking talking talking. I think she always knew what I could become with my creative abilities. I wish she could see the skill that she alone taught me from just a chain stitch, has grown into something bigger than maybe even she imagined. Well, maybe she knew all along.

  
What’s your favorite part about running your own business? What do you find most difficult?
Being able to stay at home with my little boy has been the absolute best outcome I could have imagined. I love being my own boss, having time to be a wife and mama, and being able to make things full time. I am my best person when I create. The most difficult (and I should add, the most fun as well) is the holiday months. Being the sole person behind Ozetta can be exhausting but is rewarding at the same time. To be able to say that I alone have sent out every order in my shop, well, it’s quite amazing.

 

How do you promote your work?
I promote on Etsy, my blog, and my 365 project. I also build relationships in the Etsy community and have found amazing friends through there.

Do you have any advice or tips for artists wanting to start their own business? If you fail, try try again. Do not give up. Take perfect pictures, have a unique shop name, and keep your shop organized and up to date.
Where do you want to be in five years?Exactly where I am now but even more successful every month.
Is there anything else that you want people to know about you?
A quote that has always stuck with me is “a dream deferred will hurt you over time”-Michael Emerson (most of you may know him as Ben on the TV show LOST). When I heard this quote I was even more determined to make my dream reality. What was I waiting for?


 





Thursday, August 25, 2011

Artist Snapshot-Elegance Farm Homestead

Meet John and Jane, the husband and wife design team behind Elegance Farm Homestead on Etsy. Both have degrees in science (John in Chemistry and Jane in Biology and Environmental Science) and work full time in science fields...

Once the owner of a victorian home restoration company, John is now a research chemist, but still loves creating things with wood. Jane, a full-time children’s science book editor by trade, has always been crafty. She can’t walk away from a pile of great fabrics, and has been known to make her share of quilts, dresses, and drapes. She also has another Etsy shop where she sells her personalized beaded book thong bookmarks (that’s right, book thongs!). You can check it out at http://www.elegancefarm.etsy.com/


Tell Us a Little Bit About Yourselves…

We are John and Jane, husband and wife, living in a turn-of-the-century colonial farmhouse in NJ. We love to make things together! We both have degrees in science and work full time in science fields.
Being creative in our shop is a fun opportunity to use the other halves of our brains. We work really well together and are celebrating another wedding anniversary next weekend! We also love to grow lots of our own fruits and veggies – even corn on our front lawn; luckily the neighbors like it, especially at harvest time. That’s why we used the name “homestead” in our shop title.
When we are not banging wood together or working, we enjoy hanging out with our families, including our 12 nieces and nephews, whom we adore. The oldest just left this week to start studying at Harvard, and he'll be hanging a magnet board in his dorm room, the oldest building on campus!


How did you get started designing & making memo boards?
Our niece Mary Cate was actually the inspiration for this new business. She liked the idea of a magnet board because her teacher had one, but Mary Cate wanted a pretty one with bright colors for her bedroom . John got to work in the shop and I went shopping for fabric. Voila, our new business was born. We opened the shop in mid-February 2011


Would you walk us through your creative process?

We love the look of really simple design, letting the material speak for itself. Whenever we see great fabric, we make sure to grab it. We are inspired by elegant cottage style and think it is reflected in the selection of items in our shop.
We individually handcraft each memo board frame from hardwood using our original design. We are currently offering four different sizes of frames for our boards, and each one can come in the customer's choice of wood color and fabric. Customers can also order custom sizes for frames. We pick fabrics that are either really rich and neutral or crisp and vibrant in order to appeal to a range of tastes.
John does most of the woodworking with me as his assistant. We work in our basement shop or out in the yard and garage when the weather is nice. John does not use nails or screws and the pieces fit together like a glove. Together we cut and apply the decorative molding, paint or wax the frame, and assemble the final piece. I photograph each board and do the Etsy listings and customer service. I think what we are most proud of is the quality of John’s construction and the duality of the magnet boards. They are both functional and artistic, with the decorator’s fabric complementing a home’s d├ęcor. We love knowing that we are giving a really well-made product to every customer that will be a special addition to their home. We also love offering an unpainted frame option: natural beeswax and carnauba oil finish. We are glad that we can use natural products like these instead of solvent-based finishes.


What has been the most gratifying part of running your own business?

Happy customers! We have started selling to brides for their wedding escort card displays and knowing that the board will be used on their special day is an honor.
We love hearing the little back stories of how our boards are being used: for a Mum in the UK who is in a home and can't use a pin board due to shaky hands but still wants a place to display her postcards;
a young girl getting a bedroom makeover; an adoptive family bringing home 2 daughters from Africa, adding to their family of 5, who need a wall organizer for the paperwork and photos. These are the stories that we LOVE to hear. Each board is unique and special to us and we take lots of care in making each one.

What advice would you give small business owners who are just starting out?

LOVE LOVE LOVE what you make, and love what you do! Don't make something because you think it will sell. Make something that you feel passionate about. Tell your story in your product descriptions; people who buy handmade like to connect with the seller and feel like it is more than a manufactured product. Also, keep records of all expenses from day 1, and keep all your receipts.

Don't undercharge for your items, either. You must account for your time to photograph and list an item, package it (up to an hour for a deluxe board), shop for materials, and still make a profit if you want to do this as a business. When we started out we added up the cost of materials for each board, right down to the glue, dowels, magnets, and paint and followed a formula for what we wanted to earn per hour (each board takes about 4 hours to make, at least). Charging a fair price makes it easy for us to take our careful time with each board and to never rush a job.


What are your best marketing tips?

Great customer service. We treat each customer with our full attention to all the details of their order, from the time they place their order to the time it ships. We all love special attention, right? And people remember that. Since we really love what we do, it is a joy to interact with the customers and create something for their home, office, or wedding. Word of mouth is also great. It is not in our nature to talk about our business or hand out cards to everyone we know, but we are starting to do that more and more. Since we work full-time in addition to running this shop, we don't have much time for blog posts, giveaways, or social networking. We were featured in the Etsy Finds email, and that sure boosted sales and shop hits. It also seems like our product is selling well on Etsy since there are not many shops offering custom made boards. Because we hand make the frames, we can create them in any size a customer wants, to fill the exact wall space they have in their home. Filling a niche is a great way to succeed.


What are your plans for the future of your business?

Cork boards, magnetic chalkboards, wedding table numbers in frames, magnetic picture frames, and on and on!! There is just not enough time in the day. But we will slowly get these into the shop.

We daydream of being able to “quit our day jobs” and create things full time (while living on a farm next to the bay, of course. Hey, we can dream, right?!)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Needful Things

If you are already acquainted with Etsy-then I don't need to tell you how much fun it can be cruising around the site looking at all the gorgeous things other Etsians have to offer. It never ceases to amaze me how very talented these folks are and how much love and work goes into their shops. As you can imagine I've compiled a pretty impressive list of favorites (if I do say so myself) and I wanted to share all the goodies I've found with you all. The shop owners were kind enough to give me permission to use their images and link to their shops so without further ado...here are this weeks Needful Things.


















 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 





















































Friday, August 19, 2011

September Wish List

Just FYI everyone my birthday is in September so if anyone feels the need to go out and get me a birthday gift (or gifts) please feel free to choose something from the list below. Thanks!