Monday, March 10, 2014

Artist Showcase - Jewelry by Andrea

Welcome to another edition of Artist Spotlight, our regular Monday blog.  This week’s artist is Andrea from Jewelry by Andrea.  Andrea creates beautiful tribal and ethnic jewelry.  Here is one of Andrea’s gorgeous pieces.

Tell us a little about yourself and your creative business

I’m Andrea with Jewelry by Andrea. I have been making jewelry for 6 years. I hand make Spiritual, Yoga and Zen jewelry. I love using pieces that are made through Fair Trade by traditional and old methods. I also love to create with spiritual symbols. For the most part I am self-taught. I have taken a few courses in metal fabrication but found I enjoy creating with beads and components so have stuck with that.

How did you get your start?

I have always loved to travel and collect unique jewelry. After having children I wasn’t able to travel as much or as far. Making jewelry started as a creative outlet for me. I was drawn to materials that reminded me of an exotic vacation and creating with those pieces gave me a feeling of connection to something bigger. I started selling through home shows and then expanded to selling on line. In the last few years I have taken my business from hobby to full time. I now have several wholesale accounts, sell on Etsy and through my own site. I write a weekly blog exploring the meaning behind the symbols I use in my work.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get inspiration from the materials I use. I love using spiritual and symbolic symbols. I may not know the full meaning behind each piece but I do my best to learn about them. I focus on finding amazing quality items with beautiful finishes. I use the spirit and vibe of my materials to inspire my designs. I love to open a package from a place like Nepal or Thailand and wonder what life was like where they came from and think of what I am going to make with it. Equally inspiring is to open a package with stunning components and vibrant colored beads... then my mind spins with ideas for them! I often have pieces sit for years before I figure out what design to use them in. I’ve learned rushing the process never works for me.

What has been your biggest successful moment so far?

Last year one of my designs, “Garnet Moon”, was worn by Nina Dobrev on The Vampire Diaries. It was really exciting to see something I created on TV. Definitely a high point for me!

What challenges do you face selling online?

Selling on line is all about getting found, having wonderful photos and being able to convey your message about why your items are unique and what they are going to bring to the buyer. It’s a process figuring out how to tell your story and how to stand out in the crowd.

What advice would you give someone just starting out on Etsy?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed on Etsy by all of the amazing other items for sale there. My advice for someone starting out selling on Etsy is to do your research, allow yourself to get inspired but never copy. Customers purchasing on Etsy want to know your story, your inspiration and purchase from “you”. It’s important to be authentic. Great photos are a must. Photograph with good lighting and close up shots showing lots of detail. Know your prices and what you need to charge to make some profit. You don’t want to be too high or too low. Don’t be afraid to play around with your prices as well. Put thought into your packaging and presentation. Think of what impression your packaging gives when a customer opens their purchase. It doesn’t have to cost a ton but a nice wrap in tissue paper, business card & handwritten note go a long way.

Want to see more of Andrea?

Thank you Andrea for sharing your story with us. 

Well that wraps up another edition of Artist Spotlight.  We run this column every Monday and we’re always looking for artists to spotlight.  So if you are interested or know someone that we’d enjoy reading about please pass on the information.

Thanks for stopping by,

Until next time…
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