First off, tell me a little bit about yourself.
Hello! My name is Ashlee and I am behind the etsy stores ‘Nomsa’ and ‘My Cellar Door.’ I currently live in Athens, Georgia with my wonderful husband and grandmother-in-law. I graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder a few years ago with degrees in Political Science and Geography, and have been following my politically active husband around the country ever since. I firmly believe in the power of one, that making sound effects for simple actions is vital to daily existence, and that one should never wake up a sleeping bear. I enjoy baking delicious treats, puttering about the house, channeling my inner 65-year old, wearing pearls and high heels while cleaning, lions, all things fiber and knitting related, buses, robots, museums, tea and avocados.
How and when did you start making jewelry and your other items?
‘Nomsa’ is an African word meaning Grace. The brand ‘Nomsa’ was started because I felt like individuals needed to allow more grace in their lives. We can be so hard on ourselves, and we forget to forgive and accept our unique qualities. By adorning oneself and allowing for yourself to enhance one’s natural beauty, you are giving yourself grace, peace and hopefully accepting your uniqueness. ‘Nomsa’ was created from all of the above reasons for myself in February of 2008, as I can speak from personal experience. I was going through a bit of a difficult time and I needed something as a creative outlet, a form of grace for myself. After having success with ‘Nomsa,’ I started my second store, ‘My Cellar Door’ last September because I wanted to play with jewels. I didn’t have any experience with jewelry making, but I have an innate love for all things shiny and fabulous so I just had to try to make some for myself. After playing around for a while, I finally felt confident enough to offer my jewelry creations for other people.
When and how did you originally find Etsy?
I remember stumbling upon etsy a few years ago when I was trying to find knitting patterns. I was an avid knitter at the time and many of the patterns that I wanted to buy were being sold on etsy. I didn’t really explore it though until February of 2008 when one of my favorite blogs opened up their own store. In a completely impulsive move, I started my own etsy store the same night I read that blog post without any idea of what I would be selling.
What is unique about Etsy and what about the website do you like the most in regards to your shop?
To me, the most unique thing about etsy is the community and the openness of the individuals using it. I love that each of my customers can feel like they are ordering from an individual person, rather than a company. I love that I can have a personal profile, a shop announcement and that each listing is completely up to me to fill out. I have add whatever personal information that I like and create a personal image that reaches out to those that are ordering from me. I also love that buyers can leave ‘messages to seller’ so I know if hair accessories are going to be worn by brides, jewelry given to wives by husbands for anniversaries or if someone is buying themselves a special something. Also, I think that Etsy does a great job of writing and publishing articles about individuals sellers so others really get to know the person behind the brand. I love getting to know more about the talented individuals who are both buyers and sellers.
What inspires you the most in regards to your creations?
Honestly, other people’s creations. I am a very visual person, so I love seeing things that others have done and then creating my own twist or version of it. I hope that I can inspire others with my own designs.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and why?
One of my favorite pieces is my ‘Through the Looking Glass’ necklace. I absolutely love anything that sparkles and shines, and I think that the contrast between the sparkle and the dark metal creates a very rustic, raw piece.
What do you want to accomplish with your online shop?
Well, so far, my online stores have helped me leave a job which I didn’t enjoy and become completely self-employed. Being able to do that within six months of starting my stores on etsy was something I never even dreamed about. Right now, I am focusing on continuing my self-employment and hopefully being able to give myself a raise soon :)
Do you have any new creations in the works? If so, what can shoppers expect to see from you soon?
I am slowing adding items to my fall collection which will come out starting mid-August on both ‘Nomsa’ and ‘MyCellarDoor.’ Expect lots of leaves, mixed metals, all shades of purple and green, and items with lots of sparkle. Fall is my favorite season so I can’t wait to unleash my new 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)?
You can find me at….
Etsy – www.nomsa.etsy.com & www.mycellardoor.etsy.com
Blog – www.mynomsa.wordpress.com
Twitter – www.twitter.com/nomsaknits