Monday, October 14, 2013

Artist Spotlight - Jonna Vaughn

Welcome to our second edition of Artist Spotlight - The newest feature to our blog!  Here we will highlight fellow Etsy artists and give them an opportunity to share how they got their start, their successes, and the challenges that they face.  If you would like to be considered for this column or if you would like to recommend someone, please let either myself or Zoica know via Etsy convo. 
This week’s artist spotlight is on Jonna Vaugn.  Her shop is called tnglassstains.  Here is one of Jonna’s beautiful glass pendants:
Tell us a little about yourself and your creative business and how did you get your start?
My name is Jonna Vaughn, and I am a Cincinnati native transplanted to the small town of Fairview Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. I am a glass artist specializing currently in fused glass, although I got started in stained glass windows when I first moved to Tennessee in 2000.

Although I do love my little town (we just got our second traffic light wootwoot!), it is about a 40 mile drive to "town" (Nashville). There are no real source for supplies locally, so I do all of my ordering online from reputable glass companies but I wouldn't trade the country living, the quiet outside, wildlife, and friendly front porch waves for anything.

My full time corporate job left me with weekends only to market my glass doing festivals and art shows. After several years I knew I had to find another way and the ETSY shop was born!

Being an ETSY rookie, I underestimated the amount of time that I now know should have been dedicated to my ETSY shop. Not long after the shop opened, I was discouraged by the lack of sales (although my first sale was to Johnny Cash's daughter!). I guess I must have just thought that if I listed it, they would come. Well....they didn't... and somewhere in there I was learning the world of fusing and the commitment to my shop crumbled.

What has been your biggest successful moment so far?
Fast forward a few years...I had learned a new level of glass artistry to share, gained some confidence and stopped poking my lip out so I was back to the ETSY drawing board. I blew the dust off of my shop, set out my pretty new things and opened the doors once again.

With the holidays coming, I am feverishly stockpiling finished pendants like a little squirrel. I typically take a break from festivals and shows during the hot summer months and spend that time preparing inventory for the fall festival season. Once I make it through the holidays, it's time to take the winter hours and start preparing for the springtime shows. It took me a few seasons to get out of the "oh my gosh I don't have enough stuff to take to this weekend" mode, where I stayed up like a vampire and ran the kiln so much I got a holiday card from the power company.

My current goal is to get to and keep my shop inventory level at about 300 pieces. One step at a time, right?

What challenges do you face selling online?
Successful selling online is tough! It can be a challenge to find the time to keep inventory levels up, photos taken and descriptions posted....oh yeah, and go to the "other" job 5 days a week as well. I have learned that getting into a rhythm and balancing the tasks helps so much. I try to keep people engaged in the shop and Facebook page  Fans of the FB page get a discount code for 10% (hey, it cover's shipping!) as do repeat customers. You will also find a monthly dichroic pendant giveaway on the FB page. Following the entry rules is like falling out of bed, and the winner is selected on the page the 1st of every month. Best of all, the winner gets to select their own prize from anything in the shop!

What advice would you give someone just starting out on Etsy?
If I had to give any advice to an ETSY newcomer, it would be to learn from my mistakes.....engage with ETSY- participate in the forums and teams. You will get lots of support, make some great friends, gather best practices from others and get the sales going. Treat your shop as you would a physical business and commit the right amount of time to grow it. It won't all come in a day, a week, or a month. But mostly...don't get discouraged and keep finding ways to improve. I am still doing all of these myself!

Thank you Jonna for sharing your shop and your background with us!

Well that about does it for this edition of our Artist Spotlight.  Don't forget you can recommend yourself or a friend for our next issue.  Just convo me or Zoica.  We'll let you know if you were chosen.
Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time...
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