First off, tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am 30-something and a homecare social worker at a large hospice organization here in Nashville, TN. I have a master’s degree from UT college of social worker and am an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker). I am single, no children so I have *plenty* of time to run a small business on the side, which is alyson1234.etsy.com
How and when did you start making jewelry and your other items?
I started while I was in graduate school in about 2001. I found a few things at Michael’s craft store and started beading bracelets and earrings for friends. I have always been a crafty person and loved making wreaths, scrapbooking, some cross stitching when I was a kid, etc. I tried knitting at one time and became so frustrated with its precision that I quit within a month. Jewelry is easy, mistakes can be made and retouched quickly, which is probably why so many people make it.
I was apprehensive initially to start selling the jewelry. I felt like no one would actually pay for it. However, with some prodding from a close friend, I finally started selling it and received more and more orders. I was hooked.
Over the years, my jewelry has made many evolutions. I started with beading, which still fascinates me and is fun and relaxing. Eventually I went to more wire wrapping and some hammering of thicker gauged wire. I am now into PMC (precious metal clay), etching brass and silver pieces as well as some metalwork.
When and how did you originally find Etsy?
I was at a (terrible) craft fair one time in 2007 and ran into a guy who was also a jewelry artist and exhibitor there. I was telling him that I had someone putting together a website for me, which was beyond frustrating because he was taking his time and not following up with my questions and email. This exhibitor asked if I had ever heard of ‘Etsy’, which I hadn’t and he explained it to me a bit. I went home that weekend and found it online and looked it over. I still felt like having my own website would be the best thing for me and didn’t add much more thought to Etsy. By the time summer rolled around, my web designer emailed to say he was abandoning my project because he’d taken a job with the state and couldn’t finish my project. Needless to say I was very frustrated. I got online to Etsy and signed up. I’m thankful now looking back because I’m not sure I would have been able to drive the traffic to my shop alyson1234.etsy.com if I’d had to do it on my own.
What is unique about Etsy and what about the website do you like the most in regards to your shop?
I think Etsy is exceptionally user friendly. I have tried other websites and found them either very difficult to navigate or unsuccessful with sales. It seems only a few adjustments need to be made to get going with Etsy and you’re ready to sell.
In regard to my shop, alyson1234.etsy.com, what I like most is having something that’s my own with little fuss. You can create your own little space online and sell worldwide in a matter of seconds. It’s truly fascinating when you stop and think about it how many people you’re reaching and with just a click of a button you can sell to someone in China or Australia or across town. This type of technology was probably not even dreamt of in my parents’ generation.
What inspires you the most in regards to your creations?
So many things inspire me from the supplies and beads I buy to architecture to household items I might see in a patient’s home. My jewelry studio also inspires me. I moved in in January this year and once things were more organized, accessible and stationed off in various places inside the studio, I was able to think more clearly and designs come more easily and quickly now. I have a large dry erase board that I use on one wall and draw out sketches, not so much because I need to figure out the design so much as I don’t want to forget it.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and why?
It’s really hard to settle on a favorite piece, but I would probably say it is a fine silver twig and leaf combo that I made from the real thing and “painted” with PMC. When fired in a kiln, it burns off the twig and leaf and just leaves the piece of fine silver. I still have it and am planning to add a pin back to it at some point.
What do you want to accomplish with your online shop?
I want to continue offering beautiful pieces that customers cherish and wear for years to come or enjoy giving as gifts to friends and family.
My shop, alyson1234.etsy.com has evolved along with the jewelry Because Etsy has become extremely competitive in the jewelry department, I have recently had to make a few adjustments in the hopes that I can keep up. There are many amazing and talented jewelry artists on Etsy.
Do you have any new creations in the works? If so, what can shoppers expect to see from you soon?
Well, my dry erase board is filled with upcoming pieces. I have several metalwork cold-connection pieces I am working on right now, and am playing with mixed metal pendants. Definitely more silver earrings with varying briolettes and beads. I also hope to take an advanced technique class this coming fall that will teach me soldering. I hope with this new class, more designs will form in my head.
Where can readers find out about more information regarding your jewelry and other creations and possible special offers (including additional websites, blogs, facebook, etc)?
I am in several places online and also have a bridal shop.