First off, tell me a little bit about yourself.
My name is Suzyn Gunther. I’m from the Chicago area and have lived here almost all of my life. I have a wonderful, supportive man in my life, who so graciously puts up with me and my addiction to jewelry making. I have three fabulous sons, one living near me and two living in Austin. My father was a dentist and loved to dabble in jewelry making …using his dental gold to create wonderful free flowing rings for the ladies in his life. (my mom, me and one sister).
My dad was also an avid photographer…I sure could have used some tips from him for my Etsy shop. My mom, on the other hand loves to do things on a much larger scale…Like creating fabulous sculpture in stone, and more recently in clay. In fact, Michael Jordan, I think you may have heard of him… owns one of her pieces. My sister, though also creative, can’t seem to find the time to create. My parents have been a huge creative inspiration to me. I wish my dad was still her to see the new work I’ve been creating… although my mom is enthusiastic enough for both of them.
When I was born, my parents named me “Susan”; a fine name, but just a tad bit boring on the spelling. When I was 16 and I knew that I would be an artist of some form, I thought it would be really cool to be able to sign my name with flair….so I came up with a new spelling. S-u-z-y-n. And now I have my own website!
And now… a little about the other side of my life, the not so creative side, the dark side. Aside from my jewelry making, I work for a large corporation as an IT manager….far from the “hippy chick artist that lives within my heart and soul”. But for now, it’s a necessary evil, but just until someone discovers me and makes me famous J
How and when did you start making jewelry and your other items?
When Friendly Plastic came out (do you remember that silly stuff?) I started to mess around with it making earrings and pins…Yes, I did! I can tell you one thing, looking back on those days; that stuff was seriously ugly, but it gave me an inexpensive creative outlet that I could afford. I actually wore some of the earrings, and so did my mom. (Mom, thanks for being so supportive!) I seriously started making jewelry 10 or 11 years ago. I started with making simple beaded jewelry, like I think we all do. I did that for about 3-4 years and then I was bored. I was looking for a metalsmith class so I could learn how to make silver jewelry. I came upon a class for PMC and I thought it looked interesting. My first two classes were with Hattie Sanderson. I have since become multiply PMC certified. I never did take that metalsmithing class. I can proudly say I’m addicted to PMC
When and how did you originally find Etsy?
I found Etsy a little over two years ago, when I decided that I wanted to start to sell my jewelry online. I am not sure how I actually stumbled upon Etsy, but I’m guessing it was probably through doing a search for hosted jewelry websites. And now you can find me at Designs by Suzyn.
What is unique about Etsy and what about the website do you like the most in regards to your shop?
Etsy is unique in the sense that it is a large community of artisans and suppliers. I love having my Etsy site because I seem to get a lot of exposure. I have been featured in a lot of Treasuries in the last couple of years. I am starting to get a lot of repeat business lately. Etsy is also great because you can feature your work in a Showcase spot, which helps drive traffic. Etsy is also a very well-known artisan website for the folks that aren’t so creative. People seem to know about Etsy and know they can find unique items. And last, but not least, it’s easy to use and maintain. The cost is fairly minimal; but if you really use Etsy to promote your shop, it can get expensive depending on how often you resist your items or appear in the Showcase.
What inspires you the most in regards to your creations?
I am inspired by so many different things. Lately I have been inspired by the beautiful stones I have been purchasing. I look at a stone and have a vision on a piece that I can make to surround the stone. I am also inspired by other artists….I love to look at other jewelry sites, just to see what other people are doing. If you’re an artist…you can’ tell me that you aren’t inspired by others…be honest! The word “inspired” is not synonymous with “copy”, it simply means I am inspired to create a new piece of jewelry.
There are a lot of PMC artists on Etsy, and what’s really interesting is everyone really has their own sense of style. I do like to make pieces that “stand out” so people will be interested enough to stop at my shop frequently to see my new work.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and why?
I have a lot of favorite pieces. I would have to say that there are a lot of favorites, because each and every piece of jewelry I make is unique. Each piece has some new element of design that I may have not used before. Take a look at my site and see if you can pick a favorite.
What do you want to accomplish with your online shop?
I am looking for a lot of exposure. I would like to get to a point that I can support myself through my art. That’s a lot to accomplish especially in this wonderful economy. I want people to say they’ve heard of my shop on etsy…and think of me when they want to purchase something unique for themselves or a friend or loved one.
Do you have any new creations in the works? If so, what can shoppers expect to see from you soon?
I am always working on new pieces. I will be posting some new earrings with Tourmaline, rutilated quartz, maderia citrine and rubies in the next couple of weeks. I am also working on some unique pendants. I just created my first brooch, take a look!
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 do have a facebook fan page.
I post projects in the works and post advance notice of sales in my Etsy shop. I also hold periodic contest for “Name that pendant” where I post a picture of my latest piece and have my followers come up with creative names. I send the winner a $25 gift certificate to my etsy shop. This has been a fun contest. I love the creative names folks have come up with.
Be sure to stop by and see me on Facebook and “Like” my page.