Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Finding Charm is easier than you think...

I first met Sarah, the creative dynamo behind the successful Etsy shop, Finding Charm on the crafting community, Creating The Hive. I experienced the WOW when I visited her lovely shop, experienced her jewelry, and discovered her knowledge of marketing. I quickly grew to appreciate Sarah and share in her enthusiasm for the handmade life. Grab onto your handmade enthusiasm, here comes Sarah to share her own handmade experience with us today.

Q. Sarah, why did you start designing jewelry?

A. I always had a thing for fun and whimsy in jewelry pieces. I especially love oversized cocktail rings. I would go to Dallas three times a year. I lived in Kansas City, Mo at the time. I would stock up on fun and affordable jewelry from Sam Moon and other fun hideaway shops on Harry Hines Blvd. These were things I’d purchase, wear able to toss or sell on Craigslist. They are a far cry from “quality”, definitely fashion jewelry. In Christmas 2008, I moved down to Dallas for a new job. I found living in Dallas is much different than visiting. It is harder to meet people and just never found that welcoming group. I found myself with more time on my hands and thought one day at one of my little jewelry shops, I could make this. One piece led to another and I started meeting people because of the jewelry I made. People would ask me where I got my bracelet, earrings, or whatever I was wearing at the moment. Then a couple of gals mentioned Etsy to me. I hadn’t a clue! I thought, what the heck? I’m a marketing manager full time, I could do this. I love the consumer marketing best. I had no idea the competition out there for jewelry. I had to work extra hard to compete with those that have been established. Within six months I had nearly 20 online sales and double that in person to person sales. I’m pleased with my efforts considering it’s a hobby and I have a full time job. Right now, all my profits go into my savings account toward my first house. Which may happen at the end of this year.

Q. That’s so wonderful, Sarah, that you took your passion for jewelry, the tools for marketing that you enjoy, stuck to it, and became a successful Etsy shop. Tell us about your adventures with charm and why you chose Finding Charm for the name of your Etsy shop.

A. I came up with my shop name rather simply. I wrote down a variety of keywords related to jewelry from catalogs, magazines, and websites. Then I started combining them. I narrowed it down to 5, and then sent the names out to family and friends to vote on. It came back unanimous…Finding Charm.

Q. That’s an excellent way to brainstorm and come up with the perfect name for your shop. Sarah, you’re one of my favorite Etsy shops to visit because you offer reasonable prices, value and excellent customer service for your customers. You’re also a whiz at promoting your business, and your shop is always colorfully organized and easy to navigate. What advice would you like to share with a crafter or artist who is just starting their business online?

A. Well thank you! One word: commitment. I had no idea the amount of time and energy it would take. You definitely get out what you put in.

I'm fortunate to have my marketing background so that I can catch up with the full time crafters. I also share tips for the handmade community as well on my blog. I've discovered systems and created some so that I'm working even when I have to be away from the house. Twaitter and Hootsuite have helped me with my commitment. I attribute most of my sales because of social networking. That is key for the handmade market. It takes a lot of time. You can't just list something in your shop and expect to sell like mad.

I do put a lot of thought into each of my listings and when I list them. I won’t relist or list a necklace if I listed one the day before. Once I determine the type of item to list, then I evaluate the color, materials, texture because these pieces will be neighbors. I do this every day. What contrasts with the red piece from yesterday…oh a green one would be perfect. That type of thing. This doesn’t work for all crafts, but it works for my shop and my sections. Thank goodness I have a backlog of pieces.

Q. What good advice, especially for people struggling with ways to start. Do you have a favorite way to unwind after a busy day of jewelry making?

A. To unwind, I do something non-creative. I’ll watch TV or read. I have a funny guilty pleasure in watching some of the A&E shows like Hoarders and Billy the Exterminator. I’ll watch a movie or my favorite sitcoms – LOVE the Office and The Big Bang Theory. I read a variety of things. I love to read. I read novels, magazines that are work and non-work related. But I can get burned out creatively pretty quick and the first to go is the jewelry. Thank goodness it comes around summer time when sales slow anyway. I’m always on my marketing game. Have to be…it pays the bills!

Q. Time out for gilty pleasures will definitely ward off creative burnout for many of us. Please share with us, Sarah, any upcoming shop news, events, or dreams and aspirations for your life as a jewelry designer that we haven’t covered?

A. I’ve been considering offering my marketing services to the handmade artist community at an affordable rate. I’m asked regularly for marketing advice. I know there are a lot of resources out there, but often times they’re so generic in nature they don’t apply to all. I’ll read them and say “yes, if or but…” I think that’s why so many crafters seem lost or unsure of their efforts. They really need a one-on-one analysis. It drives me buggy when I see a helpful post focus on SEO, keywording, or good pictures and that will solve your problems. Having a logo is not your brand. Those are just pieces to the strategy. I recently posted a Facebook poll and blog post to gauge what some of the community thinks of such a service and to give some explanation to it. I’d love to hear your readers’ feedback as well. The more the merrier! As for jewelry, I’ll keep making things because I have stash of supplies and still get inspiration. My energy feels like it is being shifted to help the handmade community in a different way. I think the jewelry is what connected me to the wonderful handmade community and make me realize they need me to help them. I want each of them to thrive and be successful, and if I can help in some way, I’d be so happy.

Sounds like an exciting new venture is unfolding for you Sarah. Continued success and happiness to you. Thank you for taking time away to share your passion for the handmade community with us today. 

Want to learn more about Sarah and her budget friendly handmade jewelry at Finding Charm? Please visit the following links.

Finding Charm Blog
Made It Myself

The photos for this interview have been provided and are the property of FindingCharm.  All rights reserved.
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Finding Charm said...

Thank you so much for the feature! I can't wait to share your blog with my readers as well. It's so wonderful to be a part of such a supportive community and to meet generous creative souls like yourself.

Knit 1 for the Road said...

My pleasure, Sarah.

Michele Mallory-Davidson said...

Love Sarah and Finding Charm!! She is such an asset to the handmade community!! Thank you for such an awesome article!!
And I DO HOPE Sarah offers her marketing services soon!!

Raige Creations said...

wonderful interview! and yes, Sarah is wonderful too. :)

Knit 1 for the Road said...

Thanks so much for reading, Michele and Raige Creations. So glad you enjoyed Sarah's interview. I totally agree with you both :)


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