Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Sandy and I’m a jewelry designer born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I live and breathe my passion for jewelry making. There’s really nothing else I would rather be doing, well aside from travelling. That was my first passion. I find that many of my designs are born from my love of destinations in this great world of ours. My interest for jewelry making was piqued at a young age when I came across an antique treasure chest filled with vintage beaded necklaces which I thought needed to be “rescued”. With little to no tools at hand, I began to reinvent some of those pieces by taking each one apart, then mixing and matching the loose beads and charms to create new pieces. Before long, I felt compelled to begin wearing my new upcycled designs and much to my surprise, I began to turn heads as people started to take notice of my new found talent.
I attribute much of my innate creativity to my mother, who is also an artist in her own rite. For as long as I could remember, she would crochet intricate items using brightly coloured yarn. Although her craft remained a life long hobby, she undeniably passed the skill of attention to detail and ability to work with delicate materials onto me. My mom often referred to myself and my 3 sisters as “Tesoro di mamma”, which translates to “mother’s treasure”, in which I have used as the inspiration behind the name Tesoro del Sol Jewellery Designs.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
After years of tinkering with beads and wire, and many creating things for myself, I soon found that people were showing interest in my pieces and wanting me to recreate them. Soon after that I decided I wanted to share my designs with the world so I opened my first online shop on Etsy in June 2010, and a few years after “getting my feet wet” with online selling, I put more effort into creating a brand and my website followed.
Tell us a bit about your products.
Although my designs have evolved through the years as my skill level improved, I feel that there has always been a cohesive theme. I’m always drawn to exotic, bohemian, and rustic elements which I often try to incorporate in most pieces that I create. When I began making jewelry, my work revolved mainly around stringing beads, then I moved into linking gemstones with various metals. Now, I am focusing more on the art of metalsmithing due to my newfound love of working with metals.
What inspires your work?
I’ve always been drawn to warm and intense colours, architecture, and textures. Much of this inspiration is sparked when I travel, and am surrounded by new scenery, flowers, textiles, music and culture.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
I’d like to expand my men’s line a little more as it has gained a lot of popularity in the last 3 years. I’d also like to branch out and have my products (men’s and women’s) in boutiques around the world. My ultimate dream is to see my jewelry sought after and worn by celebrities.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
This is something that I try to keep at the forefront of my mind, generally speaking. Since I primarily sell online and there being so much competition in the jewelry market already, I try to add my own spin on my pieces and collections while still keeping on trend and current. I’m not interested in mimicking other businesses. I pride myself on the numerous messages I receive from happy customers saying that they’ve been looking for something like this forever and are so happy to have found me/my products.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I am lucky to be able to have an entire spare room in my house dedicated to my business. Although it didn’t start out that way, I can now call this space my own. It’s a 30 x 10 square foot room with a walk in closet which serves me well for storing of supplies and such. It also has bay windows which I love because they provide me with a ton of light even on the cloudiest of days. Now I can do everything in this space from designing, creating pieces, metal smithing, packing and shipping, photography and of course all the pesky admin stuff that goes along with running a business.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
Tesoro del Sol was pretty much born online, even though it started as a hobby offline years prior. I was quite naive when I opened my first shop, thinking “If you built it, they will come”. That mentality quickly turned into an eye opener for me because it’s the farthest thing from the truth and reality. Sadly, I really had no clue about SEO or how to get traffic or how to be visible online. Photography was also not at the top of my list. However, with determination and perseverance, I started reading everything I could about how to get found online, finding your target market, creating an online presence through social media and how to shoot my products so that they attract the right buyer. It’s a work in progress and this part of the business never stops evolving. You have to stay on top of it.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
The most important thing to understand is that Etsy requires A LOT of work and time. It’s not an “if you build it, they will come” type of platform. The best advice I can give a newbie:
1) Have PASSION for what you create, because it is that passion that will keep you going when you have the worst days and feel like giving up. If you are simply opening a shop to make extra cash, Etsy is probably not the right venue for you as it can take months to get your first sale.
2) Know your target market so you can revolve your entire shop around that ideal customer. If you try to sell to everyone, you will end up reaching no one.
3) Learn everything you can about Etsy SEO. This is different than Google or search engine SEO. When I started selling on Etsy, I had no idea about SEO. In fact I had never even heard of that term until I asked in the forums, “How do I get more traffic to my shop?” and someone answered with something about search engine optimization and I went “HUH?!”. Well it’s 5 years later and since that day, I went on a mission to find out everything I could about how to apply SEO to my Etsy shop.
4) Know your target market, because if you don’t know who your ideal customers are, you wont know how to price properly, which keywords to use to attract them, how to shoot your products to attract them etc.
5) Have great photos. I know you may not be a professional photographer, but neither are most Etsy sellers. However, it is imperative that you have best possible photos so that your products stand out in search results, and people actually want to click on yours.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
Like I mentioned earlier, there’s really not much I would rather be doing besides having my hands on some aspect of my business each day. I love it that much. However, when I do step away, I really enjoy going on road trips, visiting small towns nearby, or getting on a plane and jetting somewhere where nobody knows my name. Photography is a good stress reliever too. Every now and then I dig out my Canon DSLR and go out and shoot. Immersing myself in a good book is also like a little “escape” and a good way to redirect my focus to relax and recharge. I also love music so I try to catch a live show every now and then.
What is your favorite quote?
“Not all who wander are lost” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
Where can people find out more about your business?
Tesoro del Sol can be found on the following platforms
Etsy – www.TesoroDelSol.etsy.com
Website – www.tesorodelsol.com
Facebook – www.Facebook.com/TesoroDelSol
Twitter – www.Twitter.com/TesoroDelSol
Instagram – www.Instagram.com/TesoroDelSol
Pinterest – www.Pinterest.com/TesoroDelSol
Newsletter – http://eepurl.com/w7gjf
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Do it with PASSION, or not at all.
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