The Independent Designer of the Week is Made by Melissa- an eclectic shop on Etsy featuring jewelry, crochet work and craft supplies.
Here is my favorite item from Made by Melissa - Live Laugh Love Shop Bottle Cap Magnet. Wht a delightful way to be reminded about the important things in life!
I asked Melissa a few questions about the craft business!
How would you describe your crafts/Etsy shop?
My jewelry is simple but I try to make it unique at the same time, mostly traditional, although I do follow some trends. My baby blankets and washcloths are traditional for the most part while still being one of a kind.
How did you get started?
Friends told me I should try to sell my jewelry and my good friend and Etsy seller AliV found Etsy and here I am!
How long have you been crafting?
Forever! Even at 5 years old I was taking apart costume jewelry and restringing the beads every morning to match my outfit. I had the best accessories of all my kindergarten class! My sister and I used to spend our summers crafting. Right after school ended my mother would take us to the craft store and get us whatever supplies we wanted for our summer crafts. I started off making braided friendship bracelets from embroidery floss for everyone I knew (even my dad wound up wearing a few) and somewhere along the line I discovered beads.
What is your inspiration?
I just like to make things that look good - whether they are traditional, trendy, one of a kind or easily replicated. I am inspired by looking at my beads sitting in there storage caddy and picturing them in a necklace, or braclet or earrings.
What is your favorite piece in your shop today?
This bracelet made with purple glass hearts and amethyst crystals is my favorite jewelry piece:http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=7339102 And this classic rainbow zigzag blanket is my favorite crocheted piece. I made a blanket in the same pattern for my son and I use it all the time in his car seat. He was fascinated with all the colors on this one. http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=8796014
How do you market/advertise your wares?
I do a lot of little things, I am street teams, I hang out in the Etsy forums, I've been in some buy and replace treasuries, I spam my friends and family and I have a blog that I update as regularly as life allows. (http://madebymelissa.blogspot.com/)
Any advice to fledgling crafters / entrepreneurs?
Don't give up!! It takes a while to get started and make a name for yourself. Keep listing things and relisting expired items, promote yourself and make things that you like. Don't sell anything that you aren't completely proud of. Its easy to promote things if you truly love them, and if you love them, then there is certainly someone else out there who will love them as much as you do.
Thanks Melissa for your interview! We all wish you continued crafting success :>