Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I am a Dutch Australian. In 1981 I emigrated to Australia. I live in beautiful subtropical Queensland. I am married, have two daughters and two grandchildren. All my life I have been passionate about art. I studied art first in Holland and later in Australia.I have worked for years as a visual artist, in different media. I have exhibited my work in numerous galleries in NSW and Queensland.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
Two years ago a friend of mine recommended Etsy to me as a way to sell my work online. I liked what I saw and opened my shop, as it gave me the opportunity to work from home in my own time.
Tell us a bit about your products.
I have always been fascinated by rocks and rock formations. In my ceramic works I often imitate the look of natural stone. My interest in gemstones has been a natural progression from working with clay. The joy of making jewellery with gemstones lies in the endless variety and uniqueness of each stone. Each stone is different and its imperfections make it even more appealing.
Over the years I have made a lot of quick, dynamic sketches that capture the movement of the subject. Many of these were made at Life Drawing Groups, where models posed for one minute and then changed into the next pose. I have also made a series of sketches of my daughters when they were playing violin, painting or just dancing around. I have decided to put a selection of glicee prints of these in my Etsy Shop. Some are very faithful to the original, others I have edited during the printing process.
Recently I have started making digital art prints. I take a photo of an original painting made by me. Then with the aid of a graphic tablet, I work on the image to produce a digital print. These are now available as instant downloads.
What inspires your work?
I am inspired by my immediate surroundings The Australian coast is always a great source of inspiration for me. Whenever I can, I like to go to the beach for a walk, or sit on the rocks and take it all in. My latest drawings depict beaches along the NSW coast that I recently visited.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
My future goals are improving my Etsy business. One thing that I like about this business is that I learn something new everyday. I have come along way with my photography. I love the teams within Etsy. They are a source of support and knowledge sharing.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I originally started of with just jewellery. I think my jewellery is unique through the way I combine stones with different colours, sizes and textures. I love the patterns on the gemstones.
Now that I have more time on my hands I have also introduced original art work and prints. In my quick sketches and ink drawings, I always try to capture the movement of the subjects, which translates in a very dynamic piece of art work.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I work from two different areas in my house. I have a small studio space in the front of my house. This is used for all my hands on creative projects. My computer is in a separate room in the back of the house.
This is where I do my digital computer work and admin.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I have learned so much. I have made mistakes, but you learn from these. Everyday I learn something new. The main thing is to be patient. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Especially with an online business, it takes a lot of perseverance and hard work. I have found that every year my sales increase and that my shop starts to look better.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Hang in there. I think a lot of people expect an online business to be an easy way to success. It is not easy, but I enjoy it immensely.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
To unwind I like to spend time in my garden. Either gardening, or sitting there in the evenings with a glass of wine, watching the amazing bird life.
My hobbies are really my art, but I also love reading, go for walks, visit art galleries, go to the beach, travel with my husband.
What is your favorite quote?
Seize the Day. Life is short. Enjoy it while you can and make the most of everyday.
Where can people find out more about your business?
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I would like to draw attention to the #Makeforgood campaign.
This project is powered by Etsy sellers from Australia and New Zealand in support of Plan International’s Because I Am A Girl campaign. All funds raised will go towards supporting projects that help make a difference in the lives of girls held back by poverty and gender inequality.
The official launch was September 5th. You probably already have seen some of the wonderful products that Australian and New Zealand Etsy Sellers have been making on #Makeforgood Instagram. I urge anyone to have a look at the amazing creations in this collection.
I have made a series of prints for the collection. 20% off the sale price will be donated to Plan’s Because I am a Girl Campaign.
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.