First off, tell me a little bit about yourself.
My name is Alana Nawa’a, and I’m 23 years old and have a full-time day job, in addition to my budding Etsy Shop: Color Me Glitter Creations. I live together with my boyfriend Andy, who is my unofficial (and unpaid!) Creation & Design Approver extraordinaire. We live about a half hour outside of Seattle, and I absolutely love it. I grew up here, and though I have also lived in Colorado for a short time, I am a die-hard Seattle girl at heart, and always will be.
I don’t have any kids, but I love spending time with my 4-year old niece, and the rest of my family and friends. I love anything that sparkles, which is part of the inspiration for my Color Me Glitter business name. I’ve never made jewelry before opening up my shop, but I’ve always had a knack for repairing my jewelry when it breaks, or tweaking it if it doesn’t quite fit right. I’ve always been creative, and I love to make things myself, and share them with the people I love.
How and when did you start making jewelry and your other items?
I started my little endeavor in February of 2010. I know a few people who make and sell jewelry and I just always thought, “Hey, I could do that.” So one Friday night with nothing else to do, I headed to my local craft store and picked up some basic supplies. I started with earrings, because they seemed easiest, and it grew from there. Now I have a workshop in my office/guest room, my own Etsy Shop, and beads galore! After branching out into necklaces and bracelets, I decided I wanted to add small gifts to my shop. That’s when I started making wine charms, bottle stoppers, and bookmarks. Now when my friends and family say that they wish they had something to match that new outfit, they know just the girl for the job!
When and how did you originally find Etsy?
A few people that I know have had their own shops for a while. When I first heard about it, I visited a friend’s shop and would poke around the site occasionally. Another girl did a home jewelry party that I went to and she mentioned she also had her online shop, which turned out to be on Etsy. I didn’t realize then how big the site was, or how many people know about it. It’s a huge community of people, craftspeople and buyers alike, and it’s a great place to share your items.
What is unique about Etsy and what about the website do you like the most in regards to your shop?
I love Etsy because it is easy. I did some research when I started Color Me Glitter, looking into other hosting sites to use. Etsy has great policies, and the format is really easy to use. Their fees are reasonable and it’s a really popular site. I also love the community aspect of Etsy. People that shop and sell there are crafty and they appreciate handmade goods. I love the forums because you can learn from other sellers’ mistakes and experiences, and you can help each other out when things aren’t going quite right, or share the things that really helped you grow your shop. There is just so much information available to you as a seller and a buyer. Etsy is also easy to purchase from. I don’t have to explain some difficult process to my customers that haven’t visited my Etsy Shop before. I also appreciate that Etsy allows you to have up to 5 photos for each item in your shop. It allows me to really showcase my creations, and then my customers can see lots of details about my work.
What inspires you the most in regards to your creations?
I pull inspiration for my pieces from anywhere and everywhere: architecture, nature, great fabrics or clothing, even food can get my creative wheels turning. I love experimenting with different colors, textures and patterns. Sometimes I doodle at my desk during the day or I’ll jot down an idea in my phone to visit later. Sometimes just going to the bead store gets me inspired. I can stand in an aisle and put things together in my head, and then I just have to buy them. I love things that are sparkly and colorful. Sometimes when I feel like I’m in a creative slump, I’ll peruse the Etsy Treasuries. It helps to see what other people are doing and I can get inspired with great color combinations or see a material that I know I’ve been wanting to try out. Even just the theme of a whole treasury will get me excited to plan out a new item.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and why?
I have made a lot of items that I just absolutely love. And, when I started I was worried that I would like all of my pieces so much, I’d be sad to see them go! But I’ve found that I actually get more excited to see that other people are so interested in my work, and that they will be able to enjoy something that I’ve created. I’d have to say that so far, my Shimmy Sham Glam – Plum Mix Earrings are my favorite. They are so bright and colorful and they can be worn just about any time of the year. When I got the idea for them I thought it would something fun to try out and I didn’t have anything else like them yet in my Etsy Shop. They came out even better than I’d pictured, and I got a lot of great feedback on them from people I showed them to, so I made them in different color combos and lengths.
What do you want to accomplish with your online shop?
When I started out with Color Me Glitter Creations, I was excited to have found something that could be a creative outlet for me. I haven’t done anything really creative in a long while so it was a little like finding a little piece of myself that had gone into hiding. I read a few of the “Quit Your Day Job” articles about people who had Etsy shops that were so successful that they can stay home and do it full time. The idea of that was really appealing to me. I just thought, “I would love to stay home and be my own boss and make my own hours!”
For now though, I’m just happy that I’m able to share my creative works with other people. My business is still in its early stages and I’m working on getting my name out there and creating new contacts and networking with other people like me. My short-term goals are to work on finding out what works for me and what doesn’t, and to make my Etsy Shop a place that people are always looking to for new things and maybe even old favorites.
Do you have any new creations in the works? If so, what can shoppers expect to see from you soon?
I think it’s getting to be that time of year where everyone is starting switch gears. It’s time for back-to-school shopping and time to pull out those fall sweaters from last year to see if they still fit. Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the smell of the crisp air, and the bright fall colors when the trees start to turn. I’m gearing up to get some new things into my Etsy Shop for fall. Shoppers can expect to see warm autumn colors, and eventually some great things for the holiday season like my wine charms and bottle stoppers. I’m also working on listing some more post earring sets into my Shop, and possibly pairing different coordinating pieces together to make ‘gift set’-type items.
Where can readers find out about more information regarding your jewelry and other creations and possible special offers (including additional websites, blogs, facebook, etc)?
My Facebook fan page is: http://www.facebook.com/colormeglitter
Find me on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ColorMeGlitter