I am constantly admiring the jewelry of this month’s featured Shop. This artist not only creates beautiful “timeless, modern” jewelry, the presentation of her work is impeccable! And her distinct style makes her work easily recognizable.
K: Tell us how you got started as a jewelry artist, Sheri.
Sheri: A friend gave me the opportunity to have an accessory and jewelry concession in their store two years ago. At that time I was shopping the world for product and purchasing others work. Little by little I started putting in my earrings and watched them sell! Last year I went to Otis College of Design and took some extension classes in metal smithing. I wanted to learn the tools to realize ideas that I had and do other things. Now I have an entire case line that I have to fill so I have branched out to more categories.
K: What do you enjoy most about your art?
Sheri: It would have to be the actual creative process, working with my hands, sitting with different materials and putting them together realizing an idea. Sometimes I don’t have a clear vision of what I am going to do and see where the process takes me.
K: Your designs are very unique. What inspires your creations?
Sheri: Thank you! A lot has to do with my own personal style. I design for myself and what I would wear and hope others appreciate it as well. I am very much a minimal modernist. I do derive inspiration from other artists, past and present and different eras. My style is very simple and clean so I also look to natural shapes for inspiration. Sometimes it is the material it self that sparks an idea. What can I do with these?
K: You have a very distinct personal style. What tips do you have for others trying to develop their own style?
Sheri: We all have one. We just need to identify it and develop a signature look through presentation and photos. Also keeping things consistent is important in reinforcing that. Visit some of the shops here in our team and you can see what I mean.
K: Your work is beautifully photographed. Any tips for photographing jewelry?
Sheri: I am a graduate of the photography school for dummies. Basically I have learned by trial and error. I wish I had a screen shot of what my shop looked like when I first opened. Here is an example of how my things were “staged” and presented originally. A friend of mine who is an art director said, “it is a nice image but you really don’t see the jewelry, focus on the pieces.” That was my Ah Ha moment.
I have a little Canon powershot camera. I take my shots indoors in natural light using the micro setting on white or tinted paper. I always try and position the piece in the shot and frame rather than in the editing phase. I stage the pieces and try to be consistent in how they are laid out. I take very close up shots from various angles and depth of field. One of these days I will get around to building a light box but I am fortunate to have great indoor natural light most of the time.
I use Picmonkey to size and crop the shots and do any touch ups and fotofuze my grounds. I try and get all my images to look the same size to have more consistency in my shop. A trick I find is to hit crop, square, and then center it over the image. That way I usually get all of my shots to be the same size . One of the best tips that I learned was to look at images in search for your category and see what images jump off the page at you. Then ask yourself what about the image made you look or why you were attracted to it.
K: What is the most important thing you have learned about being an Etsy business owner?
Sheri: SEO…….. Hah!, and visual presentation. Internet selling was something totally new and foreign to me. This is my first foray into it. I had a lot of prior retail experience so this is just a different platform where you have to romance and make your product enticing for someone who can not touch and feel or try it on.
K: From your forum posts, it is evident you are taking a positive approach to upcoming changes to the Etsy venue. Will you share your thoughts on the subject?
Sheri: I am a newcomer to Etsy, joined prior to Baligate, and came along when the company is shape shifting. My life of late has been all about change which hasn’t always come easy but I have learned to embrace it. So here is my perspective. Etsy has 15 million members many of which are buyers that just registered for the first time to make a purchase. They don’t break out the statistics into buyer/seller so even if it is 60/40 buyers to sellers that is a few million buyers in this global economy. A shot in the proverbial bucket. I didn’t even know of Etsy’s existence until 2 years ago when one of my employees mentioned it to me. Now that I am a seller not one person in my sphere of friends & colleagues knew about it either.
I see some of the changes that are potentially in the works as bringing in more buyers to the site. Esty advertising and getting the word out is HUGE, having them pay for Google shopping another huge investment for individual sellers. This all comes at a price. The Etsy community is as diverse as main street America and the battle between big box and mom and pop stores. I understand the concerns of many that the company was built on the backs of handmade and see many of these potential changes as a tectonic shift, a sell out. Many had specific reasons for coming to this specific site and I respect that.
When you look at some of the top performing revenue shops on the site they are suppliers not handmade. I think that there are those that will continue to seek out unique handmade crafted product. And find those artisans that supply it. So I am going to wait and see how things play out.
Incorporating wholesale into the platform will give additional exposure to Etsy and for those who qualify, want to expand and are able to. I also think that these wholesale buyers will also spill over to the general site as well.
This has been a great learning experience for me. I couldn’t have done it so quickly without this platform. Where else would you have all of these tools and support mechanisms available to help you succeed? Not to mention the support of the various teams. I think that we all need to stay calm and see what changes are actually going to be enacted and then make informed decisions for our business.
K: Thanks Sheri for talking with the team today. It was much enjoyed, and congratulations on this week’s well-deserved feature!