Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Featured Artist - jessijewels

Jessi is a 32 year old graphic designer who works in the art department of a catalog company. She lives in southern Connecticut with her husband of 7 years, and creates handcrafted jewelry and cards in her spare time. She enjoys gardening, shopping at flea markets, and spending time with family and friends.

She joined Etsy in January of this year, and has been a seller for about 6 months. I have personally purchased a pair of earrings and a card from her, and was absolutely thrilled with the quality and creativity. :)

I recently interviewed Jessi, here are my questions and her answers.

What first interested you in jewelry and card making, and how long have you been doing each?

I've always loved jewelry and I've been into art for as long as I can remember. I graduated Elementary School and High School being known as the Most Artistic (kinda funny since I can't draw worth beans!). I won a gold key for an art piece in HS and also designed the cover for our graduation booklet. I was chairperson for the National Art Honor Society and every year held a workshop to involve kids with art projects.

I'd have to say that I first became really interested in making jewelry about 7-8 years ago, before I was about to get married. I was looking for ways to save money and decided that I would attempt making the earrings and necklaces for my wedding party (to save more money I hand painted each clay pot that I used as wedding favors, put together all the flower arrangements for the centerpieces, and added my own touch to the invitations... proof that if you do more, you can save more when you're planning a wedding. :)

I started making scrapbooks before I got into card making. It all started around the same time (7-8 years ago). My first one was a "me & mom" scrapbook that I presented to her the day that I got married.

Which is your favourite, if you had to pick between the two?

I can't really choose one over the other. I constantly switch between the two crafts so they stay interesting to me. "Some days are diamonds and some days are scrap." Of course, having two very different crafts that I can go between at all times makes for twice the mess though! I think it really helps keep the ideas flowing and it's only work if you get bored doing it and I never want that to happen.

Which have you had more success with?

I have had quite a bit of success with my jewelry. Every year my aunt and I have a jewelry party and we both make out really well. I've also had jewelry at an art gallery, and sold some pieces at an annual fair/flea market that's in town. I've never sold my cards before joining Etsy, but I am proud to say that people have been scooping them up! For the past 6 years or so, I have been making all of my Christmas cards and I always get such great feedback from friends and family. They tell me that they look forward to getting my cards every year. I'm kind of afraid that I'll never be able to stop making them by hand or they'll come after me!!!

What is your favourite colour to work with?

I don't have one! I use silver more than gold because that's what I personally like best. In order for me to sell something I have to like it. That means the style, color and items used. I use all types of colors and gemstones, glass, crystals and metals. New and vintage. Dainty and bold. They say "variety is the spice of life" so that's what I shoot for. I like silver best but I make some copper, brass and gold colored items as well.

What style of jewelry do you prefer to make over the others?

I guess I'd have to say earrings because I can usually bang them out pretty quickly if I get myself on a roll. Bracelets and necklaces are usually more time consuming especially if they're intricate.

What type of jewelry do you, yourself, wear most often?

One thing that everyone knows about me is that I wear silver. I always have AT LEAST 5 sterling bracelets on my left wrist. And I have silver earrings in each of the 7 holes in my ears. I LOVE sparkles and love to wear them on occasion, but for the most part I tend to wear natural stones and crystals.

Is your favourite colour to wear the same as your favourite to work with?


How did you first discover Etsy?

I had never even heard of Etsy until I typed "sell handmade jewelry" into the Google box and it popped up. I kinda just stumbled upon it. -Guess it was luck!

What convinced you to sell on Etsy?

After scoping out how Etsy worked, researching it and asking questions in the forums, I decided the first step would be to purchase something and see how it goes. So that was exactly what I did. I found everyone to be friendly and helpful and my order went through and arrived without a hitch. Then I was hooked. I ordered some more items... and some more, and then decided it was time to jump right in and set up my own shop.

Are you happy with how your shop is going?

I think if you were to ask just about anyone, they would probably say the same thing. I do like my shop. I think it's orderly and detailed, easy to understand and a comfortable & friendly place to be in. Just like with anything in life, some days are better then others. Sometimes it feels as though you’re selling things left and right and then next thing you know you're having a dry spell that lasts weeks.

How much time would you say you spend each day on your crafts?

It's different all the time. My husband would say I spend too much time; on my cards especially. It can literally take me hours to think up something and make it happen when it comes to my cards.

What inspires you with jewelry making?

I am most inspired by the "in" colors and seeing what is popular at the moment. I look at magazines and websites to see what's new.

What inspires you with card making?

Occasions- birthdays, anniversaries, etc. There are so many things in life to celebrate or to be thankful for. I want to have a card for everything. I like to use fun stickers, bright colors and papers. I want to get as much use as I can from the items that I have on hand.

Are you involved in any street teams?

I belong to the CT Etsy Street Team, a team specifically for Connecticut Etsians. I also belong to EtsyGreetings.

How has being involved with them changed your Etsy shop and/or you?

Being a part of a team makes me feel like I belong somewhere. A team gives you goals to look forward to, ideas and promos and outlets to sell your items at. They give you that little bit of structure you need in life. :)

Would you recommend teams to other Etsy sellers?

Yes! I have recommended that people join teams. If for no other reason than for the support and friendships you will get from them.

What do you wish you had known when you started selling?

How addicting Etsy is!!! Making treasuries has become a favorite of mine. The couple of threads that I HAVE to check in on everyday. I don't know what I would do without the group of great friends that I've made on "the hug" thread. Of course GenuineArticle, along with SosoRosey, LewesiaGlass and SallysCreations have been the ones that have been there all along. Helpful, supportive and always a friend. A special thanks to all of them and to all of the new shops that I've met along the way.

What advice do you have for new sellers?

My advice to newbies would be to give it time. It usually takes a while to get your shop out there and noticed and to make that first sale. The other thing is to promote your shop the best you can. Put up fliers locally, hang around in the forums, join teams and B&Rs and be social. Good luck to all of you, and most of all, Have Fun!!!


Jessi has also had success selling at a local art gallery and at flea markets and craft shows.

She has a vast array of supplies and loves to do custom work. This photograph to the right is just her natural stone collection.

She also has a large collection of vintage beads, as shown below, in addition to glass, crystals, buttons, sterling and charms.


jessijewels said...

Well what an honor! Thanks so much for featuring me and my shop. It all came out just perfectly! I guess the interigation really paid off. LOL!!! Thanks again. hugs

Treasures by Tina said...

What a wonderful bio and interview! Keep up the great work! :)

tattytiara said...

Haha - I'm always inspired by other artists who "can't draw worth beans"! It's never stopped me, either.

BeadNestDesigns said...

I love the interview!! Jessi you are a jewel!! :D Hugs!!

Pfeiffer Photos said...

Really in-depth look at a fellow Etsian, good work.'ve got some html showing in this least my computer is displaying some.

Sarah Jane said...

Jessi said that she could see some HTML, too. I turned all of the photos into links to the items and on my computer it's seamless, but it must be showing up differently on the computers of others....

I could change out all of the photos (which would take forever), but I really wanted the links available so people could see the items without having to search Jessi's whole shop.

I wonder how many people can see the HTML... ?

T.Allen-Mercado said...

How very thorough and wonderful, great job and a great artist!

mattscraftywife said...

What a nice feature! I have "met" jessijewels on the forums, and it was nice to see pics of her and read her article. Great job :)