First off, tell me a little bit about yourself.
My name is Erica Hopkins and I am the owner and Designer-artist of The Jewelry Chateau. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, the oldest of 3 girls. My Mom has always been a creative person, crafting cutesy decor for the house or baking something delicious. So I blame and thank her for my uncontrollable urge to create. I moved to Colorado when I was 19. I now live in Thornton, CO just a few minutes from bustling downtown Denver with my wonderful husband Paul of 4 years and my sweet little 2 year old daughter Haley. I go to Metro State studying Business Management and one day I will have a degree hanging in my studio as well. I work full time on The Jewelry Chateau from my home studio creating new pieces almost daily loving every minute of it.
How and when did you start making jewelry and your other items?
I first began making jewelry when I turned 16 and got my very first job at Hobby Lobby. I made mostly fun and funky pieces that any 16 year old would want to wear to school. So I guess that means I have been making jewelry for about 10 years now. I didn’t seriously consider a business until a couple of years ago when I was shopping for a gift for my mom. I decided to delve into the world of high-end gemstones and I haven’t looked back since. I spend my time researching new gems, shopping for new stones and creating the different collections I carry in my shop.
When and how did you originally find Etsy?
I actually found Etsy while reading a book on selling handcrafted jewelry last Fall. I hopped online to see what the whole Etsy thing was about. To my surprise I immediately fell in love with not only the idea behind it but also the layout and the amazingly talented artists who had shops on Etsy. I decided it looked like a lot to get going but I’m a now-or-never kinda girl. Within 24 hours I convinced my husband (really myself) that I was only going to list a couple of pieces just to see what would happen. Here I am nearly a year later enthusiastically waiting the changing of Summer to Fall to celebrate my 1-year Etsy-versary.
Now I shop on Etsy for everything from gemstones for my shop to mineral makeup, sinfully tasty treats and plushy toys for my daughter. I still have the same feelings for Etsy as when I first Googled the site. But, now I have a respect that has grown as I have become part of the community.
What is unique about Etsy and what about the website do you like the most in regards to your shop?
Etsy is a community of talented artists from all over the world. I really appreciate the drive for handmade that is behind Etsy. Overall it is easy to navigate and I always find what I am looking for. What appeals to me most is that Etsy provides the opportunity for my shop to be seen by people from around the world. I am open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I am thrilled when I ship packages to Australia, Netherlands and Canada, among others, knowing that something created by my hands is being worn on the other side of the world. People I have never met in places I have never been to open packages of my jewelry. I just love that a part of me, even if it’s only my ideas, lives all around the world.
What inspires you the most in regards to your creations?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. I just finished a new book and suddenly my designs were romantic and different then what I would usually create. When I received new eye shadows in the mail the name and colors inspired three new pieces. Gemstones also spark new ideas for me. Searching for the stones, feeling their texture and seeing the light shine through them is a huge part of the design process for me. Sometimes I know immediately what I want to make of certain beads. Occasionally I will admire my beads for hours before an idea slowly emerges. Usually my ideas come from real life, seeing people and trends. When I see someone who loves jewelry, I make a mental note of what is unique about that person and what kind of jewelry they are wearing. I believe the material items we adorn ourselves in speak volumes about who we are. I love being able to make these adornments that people connect with.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and why?
It is hard to choose just one. I think every artist is attached to each of their creations otherwise they wouldn’t exist. It is a difficult question but I will choose one that is my favorite at the moment. I recently finished a new design I named Perfectionist. Its one of my favorites because it is created using a technique I don’t use everyday called wire-wrapping. I meticulously wrap each link by hand until a unique chain is revealed. Although it takes quite a while to complete, I love the outcome. You can even choose your own color palette which allows it to be personalized.
What do you want to accomplish with your online shop?
I would like to continue to grow The Jewelry Chateau brand while solidifying a reputation for excellent customer service and quality designs. Eventually I will attend Bridal expos. I have worked with many soon-to-be brides this year and absolutely love it. When it comes to online selling, I am not exaggerating when I say you learn something new every day. For now I am perfectly content working on my Etsy shop, exploring new collections and growing my supportive clientele.
Do you have any new creations in the works? If so, what can shoppers expect to see from you soon?
Yes, I am constantly working on new pieces for my Etsy shop. I have a new line called Harmony that is solely focused on the upcoming Fall season. It emphasizes the beautiful blends of color that Autumn brings. In addition you can expect to see new bridal designs from my Wedded Bliss Collection.
Where can readers find out about more information regarding your jewelry and other creations and possible special offers (including additional websites, blogs, facebook, etc)?
Currently The Jewelry Chateau designs can only be purchased on Etsy. To learn more about TheJewelryChateau you can visit my shop’s profile page: http://www.etsy.com/people/TheJewelryChateau. I am convo-friendly, so feel free to message me with any questions you might have about my pieces. You can also reach me by email at Erica@thejewelrychateau.com. TheJewelryChateau is on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/TheJewelryChateau when you become a fan you will get a heads up about upcoming sales and a 10% discount for new fans.