Member Feature: SightStraps

Contributor post by Alicia from AliciasFindings

Please join us in welcoming Susanne of SightStraps Eyewear Accessories, our featured member!

SightStraps Eyewear Accessories

Tell us about yourself.

I have always been interested in the arts and self employment.  I have formally been trained in the culinary arts and worked many years in this field until my employer closed the kitchen.  Having enjoyed working with my hands and a love for animals, I went back to school and became professionally trained as a groomer operating my own mobile dog grooming business. Sadly I wasn’t able to continue working in this field due to a back injury. Needing to keep busy and enjoying being creative, I picked up some jewelry making tools, wire, semi precious gemstones and beads and started designing accessories.

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

I opened my business in 2014 on Etsy with my shop BeachandButterfly listing a small collection of earrings, bracelets and necklaces. I started making eyeglass lanyards because I was at that lovely age now where I was starting to need readers.  I kept losing them and thought to myself, there must be something out there that I could wear that will keep them always handy.  I searched the internet but I found nothing that caught my eye and was quite what I was looking for.  I started creating some designs and tested them on friends and family, finally listing them in the shop. The lanyards started selling really well and so I decided to work on building a new line and branding.  I opened a new shop in 2016 – SightStraps Eyewear Accessories that now offers unique high quality eyeglass lanyards, chains and necklaces for men and women.

Tell us a bit about your products.

My eye wear lanyards are made with high quality materials.  I use premium Greek leather certified lead free and enjoy designing with copper, silver, brass, pearls and gemstones.  The lanyards are in styles ranging from modern to rustic and most are adjustable in length and versatile to wear as a stand alone necklace or to hang your readers or sunglasses on. Every order is sent in lovely packaging ready to receive as a gift.

What inspires your work?

My inspiration comes from all around me.  I enjoy spending my time outside hiking and camping and find I am drawn to rustic colors found in nature.  I also enjoy vintage styles, textures and time-worn patina on metals and draw inspiration from these too.

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

My goals this year is to expand my product line to include vegan faux leather and more one of a kind pieces.  I also would like to see my brand expand into gift shops and boutiques.

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

I feel my brand of artisan handcrafted eyewear accessories are very affordable and versatile making them unique gifts for both women and men. I also strive for excellent customer service and have had many happy customers who return to buy these lanyards from me as gifts for friends.

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

My studio work area is located in my home in a small corner of my dining room.  I have a beautiful old solid wood desk that I work on and some shelving and storage located nearby.

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

What I have learned since opening my business is that I wish I could have started sooner.  I absolutely love what I do.  Since starting the jewelry design business I have taken a few workshops on silver-smithing as well as Lapidary.  I hope to add more metalsmithing courses in the near future.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Don’t wait !  Open up a shop and start.  The old saying stands true…”Do something you love and you will never work a day in your life” It is so rewarding when you hear positive feedback that your jewelry design has been noticed and appreciated by someone.

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

When I am not working I love to spend time with my fiancee and our two fur babies, Annie a miniature poodle and Zoey a border collie puppy going for nice long walks.  I also enjoy gardening, photography, road trips, camping, hiking, rockhounding and riding our dirt bikes and atv’s

What is your favorite quote?

My favourite quote is “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life”

Where can people find out more about your business?

I can be found on Etsy using this link:  https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/SightStraps

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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.

Member Feature: ClaireMcCallArt

Contributor post by Alicia from AliciasFindings

Please join us in welcoming Claire of ClaireMcCallArt, our featured member!

ClaireMcCallArt

Tell us about yourself.

I am a modern impressionist painter specializing in figurative work and light-filled beach scenes. I paint mostly with a palette knife rather than a brush. Originally, I picked up the palette knife to loosen my painting technique. With a brush in hand, I was often tempted to agonize over the detail. I actually love the loss of control that the knife provides and the application of oil paint with its buttery texture.

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

It was the exhibition of one artist that flicked the artistic switch for me in my early thirties. Fifteen years on there have been many painting miles refining my skills with varied and bold brush strokes to give my works visual texture.

Tell us a bit about your products.

In my Etsy shop, I offer giclee art prints on 100% cotton rag paper, ready to hang canvas prints and original paintings. You have to be quick to snap up an original…fortunately they are in high demand and the reproductions provide the opportunity to own a piece close to the real thing for a much smaller investment. I also offer commission paintings which gives my customers the chance to create their own family masterpiece. Just send me your photos..it’s a simple process.

What inspires your work?

There have been no formal art lessons in my time as a painter, only a few demonstration workshops by a select few painting heroes of mine, but my greatest teachers have been the actual artworks of the impressionist masters of yesterday and today. As a visual learner, the written word has meant very little in my journey but the images of bold impressionist strokes, rich colour and bright lights have been everything.

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

My dream is to gainer wider exposure for my art and achieve greater recognition of my very distinct painting style. I hope that others can enjoy my works as much as I enjoy creating them and maybe one day I will be the inspiration for another to immerse their artistic self in a love for painting.

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

A bold approach to painting makes my work distinctive.
Abstract or impressionistic backgrounds applied with a palette knife
are combined with realistic subjects detailed in textured brushstrokes.
My work captures everyday moments in time.Typically, a figure turned away
from the viewer in a candid pose.
The viewer is invited to complete the story..to fill in the blanks about
time, place, thoughts and emotion.

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

I have an art studio attached to my house which enables me to create a mess and not have to clean it up straight away.

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

I never realised what an impact that art can have on people’s emotions, especially custom work featuring their loved ones. I would have offered personalised commissions earlier in my career had I known this..it is very satisfying to bring such joy to someone’s life.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Persistence is the key, adding new product consistently and engaging in promotional activity will keep attention coming to your shop.

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

I’m lucky as painting is my happy place – it is my unwind amidst a busy family life.

What is your favorite quote?

“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.” Edgar Degas

Where can people find out more about your business?

My website at www.clairemccallartist.com

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

The greatest compliment someone can pay me is to genuinely stop in their tracks. They may want to take the time to study the range of values and textures of my paintings. Or they study the drama of abstraction vs realism that is my style. Or perhaps just because it captures their eye and holds their attention. This is when I feel that I have really made an impact on the viewer.

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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.

Member Feature: Heartfelt Giver

Contributor post by Alicia from AliciasFindings

Please join us in welcoming Christine of Heartfelt Giver, our featured member!

Heartfelt Giver

Tell us about yourself.

Small business owner, wife and mother of 4 beautiful girls. I am just an easy going person with a lot of hopes and dreams like most people.  

 

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

We opened Heartfelt Giver in 2006.  It started off as a hobby business to sell my stained glass and etched glass items.   I had a custom ask me how I made my etched glass and I explained I used vinyl as the template.  She asked me to cut a piece of wood and add wording to the sign for her.  She received the sign and loved it.  She told me to stop making glass and sell signs.  We have been selling signs ever since.

 

Tell us a bit about your products.

We make interior and exterior wood signs for homes and businesses.  Our exterior signs are made using pine boards that are primed and painted with a quality exterior grade house paint.  The vinyl lettering we use is also of outdoor quality.  Per the vinyl manufacture the vinyl has an outdoor life of 5 to 7 years.  Exterior vinyl is used on boats, cars, trucks, buildings and store windows to name a few.

What inspires your work?

I think signs are a great way to express one self.  Interior signs show the person’s sense of style and belief.  Exterior signs are used to help provide direction, warning and/or express a concern as well as relay a message when the home owner is not around.  Business signs also provide a message whether it be direction or to just let the customer know that someone will be with them shortly, puts one at ease. Signs with a purpose.

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

We are lucky, each year our business has been growing.  Growing a slow steady manageable pace. So the bigger and better is always our goal.  Currently, we make more exterior signs than interior signs.  In 2019 we look to expand on our interior signs portfolio.  Wish this we hope to get the attention of more people to our shop.  Our long term dream is to grow the business to were we can hire staff and expand into the wholesale market.

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

The quality of the materials we use.  The exterior paint, the exterior vinyl and the fiberglass rods all are key to a long lasting sign.

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

We use two areas of our home. We are working towards building a work space that will allow us to combine both spaces into one outside of the home.

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

Patience… like anything else things only grow with time.  I wish I got started with social media a lot sooner.  Etsy helps but you still have to market yourself.  Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all good sources to use for marketing.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Make sure you start off with 40 items to sell and market through social media.

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

We still make it a point to have dinner together and ask each other about their day.  Sharing time with family no matter how small. I still enjoy working with glass.

What is your favorite quote?

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Where can people find out more about your business?

Our website heartfeltgiver.com or on etsy www.etsy.com/shop/heartfeltgiver

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

We are a hard-working family that brings handmade items to you.  The shapes we use are hand cut and no CNC used.
No matter who you purchase from this season make sure it is handmade.  You help small businesses grow and we thank you for that.  We would also like to thank CIJ for allowing us to share our story with their viewers.

Best Wishes to Everyone

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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.

Member Feature: HollyBeeandCompany

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Debbie of HollyBeeandCompany, our featured member!

HollyBeeandCompany

Tell us about yourself.

I am a compassionate women who loves to be passionate about my businesses. I love taking something that is pretty much nothing and finding a new use for it! I love coffee, yoga and being creative.  One of my greatest passion is helping others find their talents and put them to use. I love seeing others succeed!

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

I opened my business 4 years ago just selling to my local community. Two years ago I had a friend encouraged me to open an Etsy store to expand. I have always been creative and sold items here and there but Etsy took me to the next level. I absolutely love the growth I have had in the past 2 years on Etsy. I love sharing my talents and seeing all the different places my work goes around the world.

Tell us a bit about your products.

We use a lot of reclaimed materials in our products. We like to keep with the idea of taking something old and making it new. We make all our stain from earth pigment so each piece is unique in the fact that the stain is custom. We liked to work with the outdoor elements and bring a touch of outdoors inside.

What inspires your work?

Nature inspires us. We also like to keep up with the trends and incorporate that into our own style! Yoga and meditation is where a lot of my inspiration comes from. When the mind is quite it is free to create.

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

My goal is to expand my following and my customer base. We want to continue to add new designs to our shop and offer the best products we can. I would love to see my business double in size by the end of this year. It is our dream to have Hollybee and Company be our full time income that allows us freedom to do what we love most.

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

It is our desire to see everyone be successful at what they are doing. We care deeply for our customers and send each product out with love and hope. I also think our passion for keeping things as environmentally clean and safe as possibly by using natural products as much as possible sets us apart.

One thing for sure we are grateful for each and every order we receive. We love what we do!

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

We work from our basement and garage right now. We are hoping our dreams of owning a separate studio come true this year For now it has served us to work from home.

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

Photography, shipping, and marketing. It’s so hard to say because I feel everyday I learn something new. If I had waited until I thought I had everything figured out I wouldn’t have ever opened my my shop. The one thing I would say is ask for help. Hire out what you are not comfortable doing. Don’t try to be everything all the time. Wearing too many hats leads to burnout.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Just go for it! You never know until you try and there is a place for everyone! I am a dive in and figure things out as you go kinda gal. You will learn and grow. Don’t be afraid to push yourself past your fears and step into something. If you fail you just try again. I would say I have learned to fail faster. The faster I fail the quicker I will succeed. Not all my products have been successful but I kept trying and it has been a joy!

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

I do a lot of yoga, hiking, and  spending time outdoors. We love to travel. Mostly this business is my hobby and I am lucky to have it as a job as well.

What is your favorite quote?

Whatever is good for the soul do that!

Where can people find out more about your business?

Website: www.hollybeecompany

Instagram: hollybeeandcompany

Facebook: HollyBee and Company

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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.

Member Feature: HellaGanorJewelry

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Hella of HellaGanorJewelry, our featured member!

HellaGanorJewelry

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Hella. I’m jewelry designer, sculptor and manufacturing jewelry for over 25 years.

I was born in Tel Aviv, Israel.

At my jewelry design I love combining materials in a nontraditional manner such as gold, gemstones, diamonds with nontraditional materials such as stainless steel, and other industrial materials.

My passion for jewelry design comes from architecture and sculpturing.

HellaGanorJewelry

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

I opened my business 30 years ago as I was frustrated that I could not find then a piece of Jewelry I liked.

On the other hand I wanted to become an architect but life had different path for me.

Tell us a bit about your products.

The Netline Collection combines classy, reserved cachet with contemporary spirit. The distinctive look is rooted in design and production techniques which bring together handicraft and 3-D computer printing. Created with this unique technology, common now among avant-garde architects, the pieces hug the body and flow with its natural movement. The pieces surge on with fine lines, as in an etching, evoking sensations of both hollowness and wholeness while making extraordinary use of the inner spaces of each piece, and coalescing into rich but airy objects.

What inspires your work?

My passion for jewelry design comes from architecture and sculpturing (big jewelry).

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

My future goals are to have worldwide sales both retail and wholesale.

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

My design and high quality stands out!

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

Yes, I have a separate studio and I work with other manufactures.

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

You need to have patience and passion, high quality items and great customer service.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

You need to have patience and passion, high quality items and great customer service.

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

I love my work and design is my passion. To unwind I like to walk on the beach or travel to different countries and learn about people, their life & culture.

Where can people find out more about your business?

In my new website: hellaganor

My Etsy shop: HellaGanorJewelry

Facebook (HE): HellaGanorShop

Facebook (EN): HellaGanorJewelry

Pinterest: hellaganor

Instagram: hellaganor  

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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.

Member Feature: DoveGlove

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Ebru of DoveGlove, our featured member!

DoveGlove

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Ebru and I design lace gloves and bridal accessories.

Located in Turkey and all products handmade by me.

I learned fashion design and sewing lessons at the university. I’m a professional photographer also.

My strong relationships with my suppliers and vendors ensure that you receive the best service and quality available. I am constantly seeking out the best, most unique products to help make each event one of a kind.

I take pride in making your dream of the “perfect day” into a reality and we look forward to working with you.

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

The Dove Glove was founded in 2008 and has become a wonderful and quaint one stop shop for the bride-to-be.

I have always liked to design new things.

It is a dream to start wholesale sales in this small business. Day by day, I can do I can do that faster production and more production. My business is very important for my family and me.

It’s a great pleasure, and it’s my priority job.

Tell us a bit about your products.

I am doing handmade gloves. I use French lace, guipures and tulle.

Sometimes I have different ideas and I create new gloves with the materials I have.

I accept custom orders also, because I love to be a seller. And make people happy. For their wedding days or formal days or casual days.

What inspires your work?

First of all, brides and weddings are affecting me.

Everything in the nature, an accessory I see or just the fabric itself.

Seasons and colors inspire me all the time.

I like to look at the good side of life.

And it’s great to share the happiness of people.

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

I will continue to work hard, of course.

I am looking forward to refining my product line over the coming year. Working on new ideas for products and hope to get close to 500 to this year.

I will continue to look for shops where I can do wholesale in different countries.

I want the whole world are recognized DoveGlove brand.

Because it is very fortunate.

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

I love all of the people who do this job. They all work to share the best days.

All my products are genuine handmade. Using very good quality materials, I complete my orders carefully.

I’m also an artist, and I can paint in any color my customers want.

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

Yes I’ve got a small work space or studio.

But I like to make my gloves with my family room.

And sometimes it’s nice to have a quiet and undisturbed work space to create in..  I can work and listen to my playlist. I like old rock music and I listen very often.

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

The most important thing I know and am sure of; honesty.

It never changes!

I learned very well the importance of not doing sales without being sure about the colors.

These are the things you should pay attention to when selling from the internet; colors and sizes.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Etsy is a most beautiful and useful platform for selling handmade products..

Etsy is a very dynamic place where things often change and you just have to be committed to keep learning and working on your craft and your shop.

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

I’ve got a lot of hobbies.

I’m a photographer and I love take photos since 2006.

I’ve got a bicycle and I’m going beautiful places for taking photos with my music.

.Music is my never give up hobbies and makes me happy always. I love rock music. Like Survivor, Journey, Asia, Hammerfall, Bon Jovi etc.

What is your favorite quote?

The world’s your playground, enjoy it.

Where can people find out more about your business?

Etsy: DoveGlove
Instagram: byharemdesign
Twitter: HaremDesign
google+ : Ebru
Pinterest: byharemdesign

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I thank you very much for this opportunity first of all.

I would like to say that I feel there are many talented people in the world and I encourage them to share their gifts with others, whether through teaching or making and selling.

Be happy and  spread happiness!

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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.

Member Feature: MaribelleCampa

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Maribelle of MaribelleCampa, our featured member!

MaribelleCampa

Tell us about yourself.

Hello!! I am Maribelle Campa, come and enjoy my creations. Everything you see in my shop has been made with lots of enthusiasm and love!! From engineering to metalsmithing, and the most important, motherhood, I have been growing into a very creative person. I have always loved making handmade items. As a teenager, I used to sew everything my sister and I wore. When my kids were born I crochet little booties, blankets and everything I could. Then I started gardening but couldn’t withstand the insects!! After being into home improvement for a while I decided it was time to make something that could make me feel and look pretty, not the house! It has been a couple of years of handmade jewelry and believe me: I love it! I enjoy it to the point that I went back to college and took courses on metals. What makes me so happy is the support I have receive from family and friends!! If you like something from my shop just let me know. To design, to create and to smile is my goal of everyday. Welcome to my shop, and lets forge that idea together!

Maribelle Campa
Certified Bonafide Artisan
Metalsmith

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

Soon after finishing my silversmith degree at the University of Puerto Rico I began searching for a venue where I could show my pieces to the world without having to go from fair to fair. At that time my kids were at very young ages and required lots of mommy’s attention and it was very difficult for me to attend long hours fairs. That is when browsing the starving artists chat room I found out about Etsy. More than ten years ago! I immediately opened an account and the rest is history!

Tell us a bit about your products.

I love to work with gold, silver, copper and gemstones. My original pieces involved subtle hammering, lots of movement and everlasting quality. From hammered hoops that will last a decade to unique rings with large gemstones.

What inspires your work?

My motivation is to create pieces for the modern woman who is on the run and needs to have jewelry that goes from casual to elegant with great quality. Love gemstones, pearls, turquoise, rough diamonds, everything. During the last couple of years I have resurrected my love for filigree! Creating pendants, earrings and rings that have awaken the local customers Spanish roots and their love for intricate filigree work including cameos!

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

I would love to keep working on filigree creating more intricate works of art! Our Spanish heritage is very rich and would be very proud to contribute to keep this for of art alive.

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

My shop is a one person shop where I Create, photograph, pack and ship, do the social networking, customer service, everything! I think people love to have special treatment and support small business more than ever! I am ready to make you custom order alive!

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

One of the things that allowed me to have my business going is to have my studio right at home. I am my own boss, decide my working hours and at the same time I am available for my family needs! It is been wonderful!

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

I have learned to be more organized and definitely to follow my passions always!

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Start! Have clean good photos, detailed descriptions Start and do not be afraid. Maybe later your username will not be available!

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

I love to go to the beach! For inspiration, or just to relax! Happy and grateful to be an islander!

What is your favorite quote?

Smile! Keep on working!

Where can people find out more about your business?

You can look for updates of my job at instagram or facebook. Look for Maribelle Campa Artisan Jewelry on Facebook and Maribelle Campa on Instagram.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Follow your passions and smile!

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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.

Member Feature: GULDENTAKI

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Gülden of GULDENTAKI, our featured member!

GULDENTAKI

Tell us about yourself.

Hello, My name is Gülden Köylü. I live in Turkey. The city I live in is Ankara. I am married and have two children. I also have a very cute and 2-year-old grandson. I also have a dog of my friend Golden Retriever. I love my dog (Pasha) and my grandson Cinar.

I’ve been designing jewelleries since 2004.  I love making original designs.

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

I have a store on Etsy since 2012 Designing jewelry, making handmade necklaces, bracelets. Jewelry is my favorite work. I opened a store in Etsy because, I wanted to business for myself.

Tell us a bit about your products.

My shop currently has 103 items. I do handmade and custom designs. I design and manufacture products with careful and precise workmanship. While I am taking supplies for my work, I dream of producing new designs. It makes me so happy. I love doing my work and being in Etsy.  I love custom orders because, I like to produce what customers want and make them happy.

I prefer natural stones, semi-precious stones, leathers, cultured pearls, raw silk, embroidery, seed beads, gold and silver plating jewelry findings and swarovski stones while making my products.

I love making original designs. I’m here to introduce boho style, tribal, ethnic, authentic and modern my works (necklaces, bracelets, earrings) using technique of peyote, beadwork technique and other knitting techniques and to make exclusive designs for you.

What inspires your work?

Nature and  my imagination, inspires me to make original designs.

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

My future goals for my business are to produce and sell more. To follow the latest trends to produce new designs and to satisfy the customers. Which is a small business yet, I aim to grow my store in the future.

My goal is to work harder to enlarge my business and increase my sales at Etsy.

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

I use high quality materials. I produce precise workmanship and original designs. I customize my work, so that it separates it from the others and hits the eye. I have 14 years of experience and I stand behind every piece I sell.

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

A small room of my house is my studio. I am very happy to work with all kinds of materials, tables, cupboards and my computer in this room. This is the nicest place in my house.

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

Taking lessons from mistakes, making too many products, taking the best photos and learning SEO.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

You have to work very hard. Photo quality is very important.

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

Spending time with my family and with my grandson. Walking with my dog.

What is your favorite quote?

To be or not to be…

Where can people find out more about your business?

My Etsy Store:  GULDENTAKI

My Facebook Page: guldentakitasarim

Pinterest : guldentaki

Twitter: GldenKyl

Instagram: guldentaki

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Thank you for the opportunity to feature my little store.

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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.

Member Feature: PleasantExpressions

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Debbie of PleasantExpressions, our featured member!

Tell us about yourself.

Hi there! I am a wife, mother of two wonderful adult children, one fantastic stepson, and several beautiful grandchildren with two being great-grandchildren. I am very blessed! I am 63 years young now and enjoying my family and my creative business. For many years, I worked two jobs until I married my supportive husband. After giving birth to our first child, I became a stay-at-home mom and homeschooled for four years. This put a damper on our finances some, so I made all our home decor myself. When my children went to pubic school, I became a paraprofessional so I could work with children with disabilities. My time in this job gave me precious memories.

I have always been active and big on fitness. I like to water ski, snow ski, dance, do aerobics, walk, camp, swim, play piano, and research anything I hear that I don’t know. My husband is the mechanic of our house, and I am the techie.

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

I have a daughter that has had chronic illnesses that began when she was 16 years old. We have been all over the USA in search of successful treatment.  Her illnesses have caused ME/CFS and she has adrenal insufficiency. I retired from being a paraprofessional so I could be with her at home as we continued to search ways to help her. She is 29 now and still fighting illness.

I continued to create decor for my home when it occurred to me one day that I could also make pretty things for others and sell them. I started researching ways to do this and stumbled on Nancy Alexander’s video tutorials. Nancy owns Ladybug Wreaths. I contacted Nancy and joined her Facebook group so I could grow my new business the right way. After learning the valuable instruction Nancy has, I also joined her Nancy’s Inner Circle Group. I enrolled in her Etsy Training course and from there, she and Linda Joseph helped me create my own website pleasantexpressions.com after I won a contest in the Etsy Training for being the most improved student. When I chose the name for my shop, I wanted it to sound like what I feel in my heart about creating warmth for a home. That’s when I chose the name Pleasant Expressions. That was three years ago. This last year, my son Charles became my partner in business. He has a BBA in Business, and a MA in Administrative Leadership. He is my financial advisor, marketer, and shipper. He also handles our gift shop on Amazon. I am so thankful for him.

Tell us a bit about your products.

I began my business only making and selling wreaths. After a few months, I saw so many other types of decor that I loved, so I began branching out to other areas in handmade products. I discovered that I love making arch swags. Many of my customers have bought these for wedding arches. I also love lanterns and embellishing them with triple bow swags hung with beautiful greenery and seasonal picks. Then, I discovered that I could make centerpieces using many kinds of bases like wagons, wheelbarrows, and trucks. I also enjoy making beautiful grave saddles. I found cute signs and sleds that I could decorate with bows, picks, and seasonal florals that many people have liked. I especially like creating things that no one else has done yet.

After working on my handmade products for two years, I decided to start selling some of my overstock as a way to keep my bulging inventory in check. When Etsy opened up Etsy Studio, I was ecstatic!

What inspires your work?

Oh, so many things lure me out to my workshop! I see so many things around me that give me ideas. Just walking around our woods and gardens brings nature into my creations. Much of what I create in my wreaths comes from a picture in my mind of what is real in our beautiful world. That’s why I incorporate a lot of birds, nests, houses, butterflies, frogs, ladybugs, mushrooms, and many more. I love wildlife and I am a rehabilitator. I have raised three opossum litters and three squirrel litters. I look forward to many more. I love whimsical creations, but the decorations that come from nature are my most inspiring.

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

This year I want to work more on reaching out to my customers and followers. I want to do more videos. I’ve had a hard time staying in touch with my special people on social media. My mother had a stroke in December and my time with her has been very important and a blessing. Also, I have traveled quite a bit with my daughter for consultations and treatment. I have struggled to expand in this realm and sometimes I felt that I should just keep trying to create new products instead while the time I spend in my workshop creating something is wonderful therapy for me. It relieves stress while I make something pleasant. This year, I will give more time to reaching out to touch the hearts of those I have missed.

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

Well, I cannot say my business is better than many others who do the work I do. In fact, I know many other ladies and gentlemen who are very talented, and I admire their work very much. I feel like all of us support and encourage each other.

I can say that with my own creations, I work very hard to make things that are not quite the same as others. I am very picky about everything in a design being a perfect fit and anchored to stay. In my wreaths, I like to incorporate many varieties of plants and colors. I like them to look like twigs and grasses stray out and do not lay perfectly because this is what we see in a natural garden. In my centerpieces, I like to create a scene that brings back a memory of something dear to our hearts.

For the most part, my business is different because it is a part of what’s inside me, LOL!

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

I have a wonderful studio! When I first mentioned my business plans to my husband, he said, “You really think people would buy wreaths?” Well, he was surprised! Last year he bought me a 12′ X 18′ storage building to put my workshop in. He and my son added paneled walls and an air conditioner and heater. My husband took a double/twin bunk bed frame and built me the grandest ribbon cabinet I’ve ever seen! Then I asked for pegboards to be installed on one wall and found peg baskets to hang and fill with all my florals, greenery and picks. The rafters have hooks hanging down that I hang some wreaths from. I added a rocking chair by an end table and have a drafting chair to sit on at my bench when my feet get tired. I have two easels to work on. My husband built my bench higher for me so I don’t have to bend to use it. I am very happy!

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

I wish I had known about the many wholesale vendors that I use now. I love my vendors. I wish I had been more careful about buying too much of some items, although I am constantly finding a way to incorporate them.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

I have run into people who have an interest in starting an Etsy store. I have given them my business card and told them that if I can help them in any way to please call me. Etsy is such a wonderful place to show our talents and make money too. I have never forgotten the help I received from Nancy Alexander, and I hope to help others like Nancy helped me in the future. Go for it!

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

I have too many! Working in my workshop is a way to wind down, but my family wants me too. I love family movie nights, family game nights, and having friends and family come over to visit. I love to sit out by our pool in the summer, or gather around a fire pit in the back yard. I enjoy a roaring fireplace with lanterns and candles in the winter. I also enjoy fishing in our two ponds and frying up the freshest fish ever. We also have cattle, a horse, chickens, swans, peacocks, guineas, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and until 2 weeks ago a pet opossum Scamper.

What is your favorite quote?

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Where can people find out more about your business?

Etsy: pleasantexpressions
Pinterest: pleasantexpressions
Website: pleasantexpressions
Facebook: pleasantexpressions
Twitter: truthnut
Instagram: montgomery.debbie

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I would only like to add that I hope that I can put a smile on someone’s face, a pleasure in their heart, and leave them feeling like they are loved.

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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.

Member Feature: WitchesLairWreaths

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Please join us in welcoming Laurie of WitchesLairWreaths, our featured member!

WitchesLairWreaths

Tell us about yourself.

I am a 3rd generation Floridian born in Tampa, Florida raised in Brandon, Florida. I am 50 years old and currently reside in Palm Harbor, Florida with my amazing husband Jeff whom I’ve been married to now for 15 years. Without his love & support, this dream would not be possible!  I must mention our sweet corgi dog “Lady” who keeps me from becoming a work-a-holic as, she requires her daily walks and rides along with me to the post office every time a sale is made in my shop. We have raised two beautiful daughters, Tabatha 32 & Alisha 25. Tabatha has blessed me with two beautiful grandchildren Carley 12 & Grayson 8 months. Thank you Jesus as I couldn’t be any more fortunate & blessed than I am!

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

My grand opening of The Witches Lair Wreaths was in September 2015. I decided to go into business for myself because I was tired of the rat race of working for someone else.  I am fortunate that my husband financially supports me. I am able to stay at home to run my business from my shop and commit to it as often as I need too.

Tell us a bit about your products.

In the beginning, I was making only wreaths and then I branched out and started making bows, centerpieces, swags & garlands in all sizes, for every Season, Theme & Team you can desire. My shop currently has over 250+ items in it. All hand made by me and are ready to ship out to you now. I have been collecting items for my art for many years. It could be a vase or a wooden tray, or a flower, a bumble bee pick, a ribbon, a gigantic pumpkin, a Marine plaque, etc. The next step is to do lots of research online for other items that coordinate with it and to help me to complete “the vision” that I have in my head of how my finished product is supposed to look. Once I have every piece in its place, I will assemble it to completion for my finished product.

What inspires your work?

My favorite Holiday’s are Halloween & Christmas! I was born on Halloween & that’s why I am “The Witch of The Witches Lair Wreaths”. I absolutely love the colors & themes of Halloween as, it keeps me young at heart.

I don’t usually make things too scary or gory but, I am proud of my Halloween vulture/skull centerpiece & my Fall/Fairy, pumpkin centerpieces. They are my original designs and are very unique.

My inspiration to open my Etsy shop is from becoming an empty nester & from the passion that I have from creating something beautiful with my own two hands.

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

My future goals for my business is to downsize the merchandise that I use to create my art with by spending more time working and less time shopping!

I am also, working on promoting a Etsy sale “Out with the old & In with the new”. Anything more than 3 years old in my shop will be marked down.  This will keep me motivated to stay up with the current trends and help me to move out the outdated items to clients at a cheaper rate as, the craft world is always evolving and so am I.

My dream for this business is for me to continue to grow and to reach for the stars with my creativity so that I can produce irresistible products that are one of a kind unique!

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

I try to be different and think outside of the box when I am searching for my materials to create something new. Sometimes, I purchase an item just to tear it apart so that I can use that “one unique piece” just to make it my own style. I use many elements. Like I might spray paint a wooden or ceramic candlestick just to turn around and glue it to a charger plate which allows me space for a beautiful flower scape at the base, for my centerpiece. I also, love hand painting and stenciling words to make my own plaques. I cut, stuff and sew material sometimes too for that finished touch. The key is to customize my work so that it stands out from others. I mostly use high end quality materials but occasionally I will find that “gently used” second hand piece that inspires me too. I do a lot of customization pieces for my clients because they know that I can deliver a product designed with their vision in mind that will look absolutely amazing! Please make sure to read all of my 5 star ratings from my happy clients whom I must thank as, none of this is possible without them!

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

My amazing work space consists of a 25′ x 14′ room that is devoted entirely for storing some of my crafting items and also, for my every day work space. Located along the walls are 2 large industrial racks to support my inventory like my incomplete wreath & garland frames, centerpiece vases, plaques for my wreaths etc.

I had a carpenter customize to my drawings, 4 solid wood shelves to hold my every day and seasonal ribbons. There are shelves on the front & back sides easily accessible with the casters on the bottom to allow easy access as I turn it around to see what’s on the other side yet it stays flush against the wall to allow ample floor space in my work area. The rest of my ribbons are stored in jumbo ziploc bags and then placed inside of a rubber-made storage bin labeled for the appropriate season. Then I place out in our 3 car garage until needed again. In the center of the room is my work space area where I have placed two 6′ tables & two 4′ tables to make a large “U’ shape and my executive chair sits smack in the middle of it so, that I can access my work from many angles. I have a 4 drawer mesh organizer that holds my “go to” items like a hammer, saw-tooth hooks for my plaques. So many types of glue for all types of materials. Markers, pens, several types of tape, push pins, sewing pins, spray paints, latex gloves, brushes, more paints, stencils, paint tape, pain saucers to hold the water. I have glitter & glitter glue & raffia tie & twine in every color imagined.

I have a wooden table on wheels that I use solely for my shipping station. It homes my professional scale that accurately weighs my items, a measuring tape to measure the boxes for approximate height, length, width which is mandatory for accurate shipping rates for my website. There is a large solid wooden desk organizer that holds all of my VistaPrint mailing labels, Thank you cards, envelopes, instruction sheet on “How to rate your item on Etsy” that I print out and mail in every Thank you card with every purchase. Flyers for my art classes at Hobby Lobby which I leave in the store and hand out for publicity. Gift tags that coordinate with my merchandise that I tie either directly onto my merchandise or onto the ziploc bag that they are packed in for that extra, wow moment. Packing & Fragile tape for my boxes. I located

My desk in my bedroom with a printer, printer ink, printer paper, along with a multi leveled tray organizer to sort out all of my business paperwork. I find it hard to work with stacks of papers waiting to either be reviewed, sorted & filed that is why I separated my desk from my work space! On my U table which is my work station I have my journal which I list every single item in detail & price as I create a new item. This helps me stay organized & offer an accurate sale price in today’s market to my clients.  I have a connected adjoining room to my main work space that is my “Floral room”. It displays my daily floral & current Seasonal floral. I zip tie each color of flowers together for that Season and then I zip tie that to my 4 metal grate stands. Each stand has two sides and there is a season on each side of these metal grates. This allows me to visually see & pick the floral that I need immediately without disrupting my work flow.

Most of my completed wreaths are stored on 2 of my duo industrial clothes racks in my garage. Each wreath is stored in a sealed tight XXL ziploc bag and hung for easy viewing/access. These bags are great to protect your wreath from any insects while in storage. All of my items are shipped in sturdy corrugated boxes (some new & some recycled) as there is such a large fluctuation in the sizes & weights of the items that I ship therefore, I have committed an entire 1 car garage area & another industrial rack to store my boxes and other packing materials like, Styrofoam, butcher paper, popcorn to assure that your item does not break during shipment.

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

I have learned that creativity can not be forced! It has to come naturally or it just isn’t made with the same amount of  love & devotion that it deserves. I have learned that there is no such thing as an accident but, instead its a learning curve/experience. I have also learned that because of the size of my items, most people at the craft shows won’t purchase my items. They are too large or too heavy to carry around and most people are too tired to return to purchase an item even if their intentions are good. I no longer set up tent due to these reasons.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Go for it as, It is an amazing experience to be your own boss but, just know that like any business it is a lot of work! You really need to do a lot of research before you take the plunge. I found it very exciting but, tedious as, you have to stop creating to do this and that is hard for me. It took me months of research and also, studying Etsy’s website and learning about the “How to’s”. It all comes together in time and it is so worth it!!! I thank all of the shop owners out there on Etsy that helped me “problem solve” when I was unsure of something, without your help the process would have been daunting. Also, locate the customer service help area so, when you do run into a problem, you can get expert advise not just a hunch. Best of luck and reach out to me for help anytime.

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

I enjoy being around my family & friends, cooking baking, sharing memories together! I catch up on house work that  I neglected during that “never ending” craft project. I go through my recipes, plan my week & hit the grocery store. We spend a lot of time cooling off from this Florida heat in the pool & unwinding with a drink in hand in our heated Jacuzzi. We occasionally hit the beaches and take Lady to the dog beach. Occasionally attempt to read a book. Garden my plants & manicure my assortment of plants in my Succulent & herb gardens.

My favorite hobbies are crafting, scuba diving, horse back riding, jet skiing, boating, fishing, hiking in the mountains during Fall season, decorating/staging my home.

What is your favorite quote?

“Don’t expect anything & you won’t get let down.”

Where can people find out more about your business?

Etsy: WitchesLairWreaths

Facebook: WitchesLairWreaths

Instagram: lkemp6133

Pinterest: lkemp6133

Twitter: lkemp6133

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

As an Entrepreneur, I enjoy teaching craft classes at my local Hobby Lobby store here in Clearwater, Florida. I have my flyer posted on my Etsy shop for all to view with the dates, time of classes and class information as well. If you live in my area, you can purchase my classes directly in my shop, just show up and have some fun crafting with “The Witch”!

Otherwise, come visit us in Florida and give me a call while your in town, to set up a private class anytime.

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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.