Monday, December 16, 2013

Artist Spotlight - Anna M from Gems Plus Leather

Welcome to another edition of Artist Spotlight. This week’s artist is Anna M  and her shop is called Gems Plus Leather.  Anna makes beautiful beaded jewelry and other items as well as hand tooled leather items.  Here is one of Anna’s beautiful items:

Tell us a little about yourself and your creative business

I fell in love with beading about 6 1/2 years ago when we moved to Cyprus.  I was bored and needed to find a hobby. Browsing the internet I found a beautiful beaded necklace.  Then I googled "beaded jewelry" and discovered many more beautiful items. I've realized that THIS IS IT! That's actually how I fell in love with beading.  I started out by "inventing my own techniques." Last summer I was also googling something and accidentally found some videos about leather tooling. That was exciting, so I had to try it at least once! Once I tried it I've realized that from now on my artistic soul is split into 2: beading and leather tooling. I combine them as well making jewelry with tooled leather elements, gemstones and beads.

How did you get your start?

I worked for a huge company with a great number of employees and when they saw my jewelry they started requesting custom orders.  I also began taking part in fairs and exhibitions, and one day I was advised to try Etsy.  I opened my Etsy shop about a year ago. My original website is because it was created long before I've added leather tooling to my skills. At the moment of creating my Etsy shop I was already tooling leather, thus I've named it "GemsPlusLeather."

Where do you get your inspiration?

It's very difficult to say what inspires me. In most cases new ideas come just before I fall asleep. I call it "twilight zone of my mind." I start dreaming and then I realize that the dream shows me my next project. Then I have to wake up and write down the idea, otherwise I won't remember anything in the morning. I know for sure that I've lost several ideas if I was too lazy to write them down straight away. I hoped I'll do that in the morning... Unfortunately in the morning I had just the memories of "some project I dreamed about" and couldn't remember any details.  Sometimes I get inspired by pictures, flower, and even movies... That's how I've created my rose, Prague belt, peony, Midway Geyser necklace, calla lily necklace, peacock necklace and many more other items you can find on my page and in my shop.
What has been your biggest successful moment so far?

For me my greatest achievement is my happy returning clients.  When people buy again it means you make good stuff. I always do my best and I want to understand my client better. That's why some of my clients become my friends later on. I always do my best to satisfy my clients because I don't want to disappoint them. I love getting their "wow" comments once they get their parcels :)

What challenges do you face selling online?

Well, until last week I didn't have any difficulties selling online. Last week one client unexpectedly "had changed her mind" because she told her man about the surprise she had ordered for him and he said he doesn't need it. It was the first time I've faced such a problem and it was frustrating; I also had to proceed with refund, order cancellation, renewal of the item, etc. Etsy order cancellation and refund procedure is not very clear but I've managed. I wish you'd never face such situation but if you ever would you may ask me; now I know how to handle it.

What advice would you give someone just starting out on Etsy?
The biggest problem selling on Etsy is visibility. There are billions of listings and if you don't advertise yourself there's a very small chance to be found by the buyers. Thus advertise, share, invite, create coupon codes, join teams and promote your shop wherever and whenever you can! Create clear and correct keywords for your listings and provide your listings with attractive pictures. I wish you good luck!

Thank you Anna for sharing your interesting story with us!
Well that wraps up another edition of Artist Spotlight.  We try and run this column every Monday and we’re always looking for artists to spotlight.  So if you are interested or know someone that we would enjoy reading about please pass on the information.

Thanks for stopping by,
Until next time…

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