Contributor post by Natalie
Please join us in welcoming Veddma Creations, our featured member!
Tell us about yourself
I have been shaped by the Russian upbringing, literature, rock and bardic music, North American culture, English, and to a lesser extent French and German languages, honeymoon in Ireland, photography, piano and acoustic guitar, goth, Tolkien, Terry Pratchett, jigsaw puzzles, computer science education, a myriad of books, authors, musicians, and lately – birth and motherhood.
A Russian mother of two, I am a software developer, a self-proclaimed jigsaw puzzle addict, a lover of books and music, and am very passionate about calm pregnancy, peaceful birth, breastfeeding, connected parenting, and informed choice in all things. I create custom birth jewellery, assemble and blog about jigsaw puzzles, grow and photograph flowers, and have recently started making educational materials for children and adults. I am actively participating in several birth-related initiatives in Ottawa, including Mothers of Change, Consumers Supporting Midwifery Care, and CHOICE! Birth and Baby film festival.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I have always liked doing things with my hands – embroidery, assembling jigsaw puzzles, playing piano and guitar, and creating various art pieces from stones, beads, wire, and thread. While carrying my first baby, in the time I had at home, I have created a few bookmarks and necklaces and have opened Veddma Creations shop on Etsy shortly after his birth in January 2011.
Tell us a bit about your products
I offer handmade beads for a Blessingway necklace in a variety of lamp work bead styles, colours, and birth charms. A Blessingway is a gathering of women to celebrate a woman’s rite of passage into motherhood. Often each woman brings a bead or a stone, and strings it on a common thread offering words of encouragement or wisdom to the expectant mama together with the bead. That necklace can then be worn or held during labour, to remind the mama of all the positive energy and support she has from other women.
Pregnancy tracking necklaces:
Beautiful pregnancy tracker and a keepsake, pregnancy tracking necklaces made with gemstones make a wonderful gift to an expectant mama. A movable charm is used to indicate the current week of pregnancy. These necklaces can be worn or kept on a bedside table, on a desk, or in a purse. Trimesters are indicated in different colours, and there are separators for every 10 weeks, so the mama can tell how far along she is at a glance.
Menstrual cycle tracking bracelets and necklaces:
Whether your goal is to conceive, to avoid pregnancy, or to get in touch with your cycle, I make necklaces and bracelets to keep track of your cycle and your fertile days. Differently coloured crystals or gemstones mark the first day of the cycle, the infertile days following it, the fertile phase, the ovulation, and the luteal phase in different colours. A movable charm is used to indicate the current day of the cycle. The necklaces and bracelets are made to order, customized to your individual cycle length, ovulation day, and a charm of your choice.
I also make fantasy-inspired potion vial pendants, earrings, and necklaces, beaded metal bookmarks, fine art photography postcards, seven chakras rainbow necklaces and whatever else grabs my inspiration.
What inspires your work?
The first few years of being a mama brought more awareness of birth, life, and beauty to me. I have discovered the Blessingway ceremony and was moved to create a variety of Blessingway beads to honour expectant mamas’ rite of passage. I have delved into the rhythms of cycles and fertility, and the passage of pregnancy, and was inspired to conceive cycle tracking and pregnancy tracking bracelets and necklaces. Through birth, my sense of centre was strengthened, and I have made a few pieces that honour the seven chakras and the zen I forever seek in the moment. My love for goth aesthetic, fantasy, DnD, and all things magical, leads me to making décolleté necklaces, DnD-inspired potion vial pendants, and intricate earrings.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
I am working on additional designs for the pregnancy tracking necklaces and am currently field-testing belly beads – a necklace for the belly for pregnant women to celebrate their beautiful pregnancy belly. My dream is to give women beautiful jewellery to adorn their ever-changing body in a way that honours the rites of passage, celebrates the moon cycles and fertility; and to provide a way for partners, friends, and loved ones to find a way to honour a budding mama with a Blessingway bead, belly beads, or a necklace.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I focus a lot on the birthing community which not many of the jewellery makers do. There are not many Blessingway beads on the market, and the ones I make are unique and handmade. I have not really seen pregnancy tracking necklaces around either. I do a lot of custom work that comes from people seeing my existing pieces.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I have a room designated as the studio where I have all the beads and components set out, as well as a photo cube and a jigsaw puzzle table, just because I cannot be without jigsaw puzzles.
Where can people find out more about you and your business?
I blog about my beading, puzzles, and photography, as well as provide efficiency tips (especially for new mamas) on my http://www.FingeringZen.com blog.
I also have a Facebook page where I feature my latest pieces: https://www.facebook.com/VeddmaCreations
Why do you believe people should buy handmade, such as your products, vs buying mass-produced products from box stores?
I would much rather support a person I know than a large corporation. I can ask them any questions about the production of the item, I can ask for customizations, I can receive an explanation for why certain components are put together in a certain way, – I get a lot more satisfaction knowing how a thing was made, and it makes it that much more special.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
Listen to the people in your target audience – they have so much insight into what is out there and why it does not fit their needs. You can take that into account when making your items and set yourself apart from businesses who make similar products.
Any advise for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Participate in the community, create treasuries, explore. You can learn a lot. Be sure to answer conversations and questions in a timely manner, and treat people who purchase from you as you would like to be treated yourself, with multiple updates on the status of their order.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I am a jigsaw puzzle addict. I put together several puzzles a month and blog about them. At this point, I’m up to several hundred completed puzzles, and there are a few hundred waiting to be assembled. I put on a good audiobook (recently fantasy), and get lost in the puzzle and the story.
What is your favourite quote?
“If a woman doesn’t look like a Goddess during birth then someone isn’t treating her right.” Ina May Gaskin.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Love yourself and celebrate wherever in life you are: childhood is difficult yet magical, puberty is trying yet full of personal victories, adulthood freedom is overwhelming yet exhilarating, pregnancy and birth are intense yet enlightening, parenting is exhausting yet gratifying. And every stage can be full of love, friendships, and discoveries.
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.