Member Feature: Gillisflowers

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Gillian of Gillisflowers, our featured member!



Tell us about yourself.

I’m Gilli, I’m 56 years old divorced and I have a wonderful daughter, son-in-law and three gorgeous grandchildren.

I love creating, designing and I love making my jewellery and seen the pleasure it gives to other people.
About four years ago I was diagnosed with quite serious arthritis in my neck together with damaged discs and had to undergo surgery. Although it was successful, I have developed some other problems as a result including mobility problems and chronic pain in my neck shoulders and my arms right down to my fingers. Because of this I had to initially change my job role and go part time but I am now seeking early retirement.

As well as my family and my faitcrafting taking up origami and gradually developing its to where it is now has been really positive for me. It’s almost like therapy. When I’m designing folding or making jewellery I am completely focused on that and it brings a great sense of achievement. It brings me into contact with the new people both in the real world and on websites and developing my skills and knowledge of social media etc stimulates my brain will stop it is also a really good Rachel and press a seven-year-old grandson when you share a video you have made with him and then tell him you have your very own website!

The ironic thing is, that if it wasn’t for having become disabled and having to give up what I was doing I would not have the business that I have today. There are times when it’s difficult, when I’m too exhausted or in too much pain to make anything but even then I can sit and workout designs in my head or watch a video linked to selling on Etsy and online marketing.

When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?

I am Gilli and I set up my businessGilli’s flowers about 15 months ago now. I I sold through local designer markets initially and although I opened my Etsy shop in the latter half of 2016 it’s really been since January this year that I’ve been putting more effort into it and been working on it and my brand more.
I took up origami about three years ago after I was told by physiotherapists that I had to give up my previous hobby of cruelty and patchwork due to arthritis in my neck which also affects my shoulders and arms. I was advised by occupational therapy to find a way of exercising my fingers and after trying several things I discovered origami. I gradually found that it was easier for me to fold small items with dinner paper (although even with this I am limited in how much I can actually fold in a day) and so this led to me into making jewellery. I particularly love flowers and so this became central to my brand and while I do make the more standard origami jewellery fans, leaves and birds I also want to really push the boundaries. I decided to open my business because as I’d had to go part time at work some extra money was useful and because of the best will in the world there are only so many piece of jewellery any one person can wear. I also love what I make and create and I wanted to share this with other people.

Tell us a bit about your products.

Although I obviously have to use bought jewellery findings as well as the occasional bead or crystal in my designs the bulk of them is traditional origami folded from paper. I use lots of different kinds of papers, pearlescent paper, Mulberry tissue paper and a range of specialist origami papers as well is also recycling old books, sheets music and vintage maps.

I sometimes customised paper either by layering its are or adding additional colour or texture to it. Most of my pieces are made folded squares of paper measuring between 1 to 2 inches although for some designs such as the lily of the valley flowers in the next picture I folded squares of paper measuring just 3/4 inch and had to use precision tipped jewellery tweezers to help with this.

I use good quality waterproof varnish – either liquid or aerosol depending on the design when finishing my pieces and typically apply around 5 coats of varnish. This not only adds to the finish of the piece but also adds strength, durability and water resistance.

Due to the materials used and drying time it can take me up to 5 days to get a piece completed and an individual pair of earrings can easily take up to an hour to make once the time taken to fold, varnish and assemble the piece is added together.

What inspires your work

Nature is probably my biggest inspiration not just the flowers themselves but natures colour combinations which are also inspirational. I always seem to have more ideas to things I want to make than I have time to make. In many ways although the bulk of it is themed around flowers my inspiration takes in Victorian and vintage jewellery as well as Art Deco and is even a touch of Gothic thrown in.

Sometimes the inspiration comes from the paper itself which wants to be used in a particular way. Film and television period dramas are also a rich source of inspiration and the next photo is of a piece that was inspired by some Victorian mourning jewellery worn by one of the characters in a recent BBC television series, Taboo.

What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?

My immediate goals for this year are to sell consistently on Etsy and raise my profile on social media. I am now having to take early retirement and so to have an additional regular (-ish) source of income would help me continue to buy the occasional treat not so much to myself as for my grandchildren, daughter and son-in-law. I’ve had some very positive response to my jewellery, for example this year II am one of the winners of the #small business Sunday competition run byTheo Paphitis (former TV Dragon and owner of Ryman’s), and I sell well at markets. The next stage is to transfer this success to online marketing.

My dream is for this to become a shared business with my daughter, we are very close in many ways and it would be wonderful for us eventually to be able to develop Gilli’s flowers together.

What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?

My unique designs. I take traditional origami folds and use of a new ways as well as modifying them and developing my own folds. In seeking to recreate vintage bone china flower jewellery to the use of origami I’m doing something very different and pushing the boundaries of this form of jewellery making. The row use colour and a variety of papers I use also makes me stand out as does the fact that my work is mainly about flowers. As part of that I link my floral designs to the traditional language of flowers as well as to folklore adding a meaningful aspect to my jewellery and including information about this with each piece that I sell.

I also got permission from the William Morris Gallery in London to use original designs from their collection in my pieces, something else which makes my jewellery stand out.

Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?

I use what used to be my daughter’s bedroom. It’s a lovely light room,( although it does get very hot in the summer) which is perfect when trying to fold small piece of paper or assemble jewellery. I have set up so that I have four main work areas for photography, paper storage and cutting, varnishing and folding and assembling.I store my finished pieces in the kind of disposable plastic containers used by take-aways. They are cheap, it’s easy to see what is inside and they stack neatly. Downstairs I have what I term my office area with my laptop, printer records and so on.

What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?

That the designing and making elements is the easy part and in many ways the fun part. However like everything else in life you won’t succeed unless you put time and hard work into the background work, reviewing and updating Etsy listings, networking and making good use of social media. It’s like an iceberg, the part you see is the finished items on sale at a Designer Market or on a site such as Etsy, but underneath them is the hours of not so exciting work which is needed to make any business successful.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

It’s not enough just to have a good product and some decent pictures. There’s lots to learn about how to make sure listings standout and are noticed so I would recommend joining one of the many Etsy help groups that are based on social media sites such as Facebook. And from most sellers it would take a while to get noticed and get regular orders so stick with it. To make it work you have to put the effort in.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?

Because of my particular situation in terms of my disability I can only work for around three hours a day and these have to be spaced out. At other times, and when I’m not resting I enjoy watching dramas, reading or listening to audio books and best of all spending time with my family.

My main hobby has become my business so it’s just as well I enjoy it.

What is your favorite quote?

He did not say “You will not be tempest-tossed, you shall not me work-weary, you shall not be discomforted.” He said “You shall not be overcome”
Dame Julian of Norwich

Where can people find out more about your business?

Facebook: @Gillisflowers
Twitter: @Gillisflowers
Instagram: @gillisflowers
Website: gillisflowers

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Always be open to new challenges and new opportunities.


If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.


Items Of The Week: Kids, Kids, Kids

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Leader Spotlight: Cynhumphrey

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

The Etsy Christmas In July team leaders are an integral part of our success! Get to know leader Cindy from Cynhumphrey today!


Tell us about yourself and your shop.

I reside in VA. and and am an office manager, wife, and mother. I eat and breathe crafts. My shop was originally created at the suggestion of some friends. I am constantly making new things and showing them off.

What is your favorite leadership quote?

Ultimately leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.

What leader in your life has most influenced you?

I think the one leader who influenced me the most was a previous manager I had as I was working my way up the ladder to be an office manager myself. In fact, she was the manager just prior to my current job. She always treated her employees with respect, gratitude, understanding and patience.

What is your greatest leadership skill and how did you attain it?

Leadership is all about finding ways for people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together. My goal is to unlock people’s potential to become better.

What leadership skill do you want to achieve and how will you attain it?

A leader needs to be able to think outside of the box and harness creative thinking. Sometimes nontraditional solutions or approaching problems in nontraditional ways, can solve an otherwise unsolvable problem.

What are your social media sites?

Facebook: CynhumphreyCreativeCreations
Pinterest: humphrcl
Twitter: Cynhumphrey

Nesting With Nature

Contributor post by Alicia from AliciasFindings

I am a big lover of nature and know I am not alone in that. I love being among the trees and seeing all the colors, smelling the smells and hearing all the little peeps of nature.

I know I use a lot of color combinations and ideas from nature in my works, so that you can have nature with you all the time.

What do you have in your shop that brings nature into your home?

Cindy from Cynhumphrey says I love to bring nature inside! Here is an item from my shop that led me to our woods to find some broken branches. I also used nut shells for the flowers, which is another nature item. Pair these with fake floral flowers and a silk butterfly to give it just a splash of color and you have a beautiful centerpiece!


Faux flower arrangement

Nancy from EponasCrystals states we live in the country and always have an abundance of wild life crossing through our yard. My husband puts out sunflower seeds for the birds and we have squirrels, turkeys, deer, possums and raccoons come to eat as well. Here are some flying bird earrings to remind you of “nesting with nature”.

Bird earrings

Stock Lane Studio from StockLaneStudio says I captured this photograph during a relaxing and peaceful hike along the Cornish Trail that parallels the Hudson River. Scattered along the trail are old ruins of a once thriving estate. The old well has turned into a home for turtles and frogs. Brick chimneys and stone walls are all that remain of the buildings.

Abstract forest photography

Cristal from DesignsbyCristal said while my allergies sometimes get in the way of my venturing outside during the blooming season I still love the spring flowers! The colors are bright, bold and smell so good! One of my favorite flowers are daisies!

Daisy dog collar

Przemila from CanisArtStudio states in my shop, there are many items that show nature because I paint pet portraits and wildlife animals. But today I chose the miniature painted clock with cardinal songbirds, which will be the original Christmas decoration. In my shop is available a series of painted clocks with different birds. You can also order a custom clock with your favorite bird or pet.

Cardinal clock

Annie from DesignedbyAnneliese says I also love to be outdoors among the trees and flowers. I recently added these rose cards to my shop. I absolutely love roses, especially their gorgeous scent!


Mini rose cards

Pam from PamsPawsJewelry said I love nature, natural things, and being outside! For my Etsy shop I enjoy taking photos and incorporating natural items, flowers, rocks, shells, leaves, or just an outdoor backdrop into my item photos!

Sometimes I match the colors or exact flowers as in this handmade necklace photo to what is in my handmade and vintage items.

This necklace is pink rhodochrosite, rose quartz, and the pretty dogwood tree flowers match the sterling silver flower in my necklace design!


Rose floral and leaf necklace

Aska from PaintingsGallery states I work from my airy studio from where I can look outside into the distance and enjoy the beautiful view of the mountains and sea.I gain inspiration from nature colours & all the beauty in the ever-changing landscape which I want to capture in my canvases and share it with you. The beauty of the Island of Mull is my main subject. The island has been my home since 11 years now and still, there is so much to discover.

Golden grasses at Calgary art print

Susan and Sharon from MsPDesignsUSA says our quilt patterns are inspired by nature! This nursery quilt features animals who live in the forests and woodlands in Montana, where we grew up. I had such fun making the animals, as they each have a whimsical touch.

Woodland pdf quilt pattern

Alicia from MemaAntiques said my husband and I love wildlife. We live in an area where you see all sorts of birds and water fowl. It is nothing to see and alligator walking down the sidewalks where we live at.

Vintage owl brooch

Elisabeth from LizPOriginals states I love to be in nature and get always inspired with all the colors and textures there. Here is a nature inspired pair of earrings where the frosted leafs remind me of fall and the first frost.

Aqua leaf earrings

Candy from WickedlyCreative says I have a fondness for nature especially trees, flowers and birds. This owl I designed brings all of it together in a fun, whimsical way.

Owl pillow

Desert Dabbler from DesertDabbler says I love hiking and being outside. In the summer and fall we go to the Rocky Mountains to escape the desert heat and see the wildlife. Last year we went to Jasper, Canada. one of my favorite places. As we were driving there, we spotted a mother black bear and her 3 cubs. What a treat! I took their picture and was later inspired to make this necklace because of them.

Bear Necklace


Mythical Creatures

Contributor post by Cindy Humphrey of Cynhumphrey

Let us journey into a world of mythical creatures! Creep into the depths of your imagination and check out these examples on display in some Etsy shops. Many wonder and have questions as to whether some mythical creatures are real. One thing I can guarantee is that whether you believe or not, some talented people have been able to depict them in amazing and fun ways! Whether it be unicorns, dragons, mermaids, garden fairies or a phoenix, young and old alike are familiar with some sort of mythical creature. Here’s what I’m talking about.

Susan – Sharon Passmore from MsPDesignsUSA says:

Mermaids are the stuff of legends! Many ancient cultures’ folklore included tales of part-human & part-fish creatures, some who were good, and others who caused trouble for the humans who were unfortunate enough to encounter them.

Our little mermaid is a good creature. She has beautiful flowing hair, and a lovely singing voice. You might just hear her song, if you listen very closely.

Mermaid Applique Pattern

Stock Lane Studio from StockLaneStudio says:

Our cute little gnomes make everyone believe in the magic of Christmas and the joy of gift giving. SLS team member Ruby had fun designing this card, which is one of our most popular. Ruby drew inspiration from a childhood growing up exploring the woods and creek behind her home, peeking under rocks for elves and under ferns for magical gnomes.

Gnome Greeting Card

Richard and Tatiana from DesignstheLimit says:

In addition to the personalized gifts we create in our Etsy shop, we also create beautiful glass artwork on commission for any design you can imagine using any size or type of glass or mirror for any application or installation. Contact us for a free estimate for any idea you have in mind.

Custom Glass Artwork

Przemila K from CanisArtStudio says:

Eye of the dragon. It looks a little scary, but it’s a mythical creature and should impress. I plan to develop this topic in my store and offer more on this subject soon.

Eye of the Dragon Abstract Drawing

Member Feature: Eleven11Designs

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Jennifer of Eleven11Designs, our featured member!


Tell us about yourself.

Hello, my name is Jennifer Gamble and I’m a self-taught Jewelry Designer currently residing in Akron, Ohio.   Art is one of my biggest passions and I enjoy dabbling in all different types of art; drawing, painting and photography just to name a few.

When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?

I opened my shop on Etsy in January of 2009.  One of my relatives suggested that I look at ways to start selling my handmade jewelry after she received one of my handmade bracelets as a Christmas gift.  I did a bit of research and stumbled upon the Etsy website.  What started out as hobby, quickly turned into a little shop on Etsy which I lovingly call Eleven11 Designs.

Tell us a bit about your products.

I create unique handmade jewelry and most pieces are one-of-a-kind.  My collection includes bracelets, necklaces and earrings.  I would describe my design style as ethnic bohemian with a touch of vintage.

What inspires your work

I would say that nature is my inspiration when I’m creating.  I love to use the vibrant color combinations that I may have seen on a butterfly’s wings or the multiple colors you may find in a garden of flowers.  Nature produces the perfect color palette in the form of birds, flowers and insects.

What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?

To continue to grow my business and learn new jewelry techniques so that I can offer a wider selection of jewelry styles to my customers.  I also plan to add a line of colorful mini paintings to my shop.

What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?

I believe it is my choice of color combinations and mixing different types of elements (metals, beads, patinas, etc.) to create unique pieces that you can’t find anywhere else.

Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?

My current work space is my dining room table.

What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?

I have learned that it is extremely important to use the right tags and titles to describe the items in my shop so that I can be found among the thousands of jewelry listings on Etsy.  Also, that posting regularly on social media is a must if you want to grow your business and keep your customers engaged.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Go for it and have fun!  Sell items that you are passionate about.  Read the Etsy Seller’s Handbook, it contains a lot of great information that will help you every step of the way.  Take the best photographs that you can of your products.  Appealing product shots are key to the success of your Etsy shop.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?

I love to travel, spend time with family and friends, play sports, visit art museums, attend festivals and listen to live music.  As far as hobbies, I enjoy photography, drawing and painting.

What is your favorite quote?

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined. ~ Henry David Thoureau

Where can people find out more about your business?


Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I have truly enjoyed being a part of the Etsy community and connecting with fellow sellers and customers from all over the world.  I’m forever grateful for the friendships that I have made along the way!   I had the fortunate opportunity in 2015 to partner with the Cleveland Public Library and teach Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship Courses; it was an amazing experience!  I love to educate others and support other small businesses on Etsy.


If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.

Items Of The Week: Circles

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium