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Friday, May 9, 2008

Independent Designer Friday - Design Options

The Independent Designer of the Week is Designoptions- a jewelery shop on Etsy featuring kiln-fired enamels, "high contrast" pieces.

Here is my favorite item from Designoptions- fleur de lis choker. I love French "things" and I am REALLY into red right now! Thiswould match my new red patent leather pumps perfectly!!

I asked Lynda a few questions about the craft business!

How would you describe your crafts/Etsy shop?

I would describe my etsy shop as always ready for summer: fun, exciting and hot!

How did you get started?

I started making jewelry about ten years ago. I took an intro class at my community college and was hooked. After a year there, and many workshops later, I ended up at the maryland institute's art jewelry program in baltimore for four years.

How long have you been crafting?

I have been making and selling things since I was about 6 and I carried a box of stones I had painted door to door to sell to my neighbors. For some reason, they bought them.

What is your inspiration?

My inspiration for working with my hands came from my father who was a professional photographer back in the day, and could also draw and draft. My mom was really into fashion and read vogue and mccall's and loved twiggy so I did too. She made a lot of clothes to help make ends meet. I loved the mother/daughter matching dresses with coordinating coats! My mom's mom sold her incredibly chic knitted dresses and suits to high end department stores on the west coast. She taught me to knit and crochet, while my dad's mom taught me to hand sew and make lace (tatting). I learned how to embroider from my great grandmother who made amazing crazy quilts.

What is your favorite piece in your shop today?

My favorite piece is any one of my "lucky" pendants. They are reversible and fun and perfect for taking away for the weekend.

How do you market/advertise your wares?

The first and most major thing I have done is join Etsy and open my shop. Etsy's design is clean and modern; its super simple to manage and navigate. You can't beat having a convenient shopping cart! I have tried to read all of the marketing advise Etsy has available and implemented some of their suggestions. I load and reload my work several times a day. I try to make a treasury whenever I can stay up that late. I have been fortunate to be featured in treasuries somewhat regularly and that seems to have kept my exposure on the sight up. I have joined several social networking sites such as indiepublic, we love etsy, and facebook to meet and mingle with as many like-minded artist and regular people as possible. I love to shop and do all of my shopping on line, so social shopping sites like stylehive and stylefeeder are perfect for me to bookmark my favorite finds and showcase my own work for no cost. I met the wonderful ladies from recently on stylehive and they will be featuring my fleur de lis pieces in an article on New Orleans. So, its already working!

Any advice to fledgling crafters / entrepreneurs?

Yes - as a general rule in life, do what you believe in, and try to have fun doing it.

Lynda, thanks so much for your thoughtful and open answers and advice! Good luck and I hope you go FAR!!