Friday, August 13, 2010
Featured Shop - The Bead Closet
While we have so far tended to interview Etsy artisans and talk about their creations, it's high time that we give a big "Thank You" to those who supply the beads and findings without which there would be no beautiful jewelry items to buy.
And so without any further ado, here is the interview:
Stitchy: Some basic information, how long have you been finding and selling beads and what originally brought you to Etsy?
The Bead Closet: Hello! My name is Bridget, and I manage The Bead Closet, a jewelry supply shop, based out of the New Jersey/New York area, on etsy.com. I like to think of TBC as a ,"bead boutique," in the sense that my shop is not stuffed to the brim with hundreds of thousands of pieces, but rather a collection of the pieces I have found to be the most exquisite, and riveting of their kind. I have been scoping out beads for some time now. I spent my high school summers assisting my jeweler cousin in finding beads, clasps, caps, pendants, etc. to be incorporated into her designs. I was introduced to Etsy last year when a friend of mine purchased a gorgeous anchor necklace. I took a look at the site, and the rest is history!
Stitchy: Where do you find your inspiration for the products you pick to sell?
The Bead Closet: When it comes to inspiration, I am constantly examining shops of Etsy jewelry makers, and others who bring beads, etc. into their products. I like to get a sense of what the clientele finds interesting, and mix that with my own taste to decide upon the perfect pieces to bring into my shop. I also encourage buyers to request custom orders, so they know they always have a place to turn to when in need of that specific item that they just HAVE to have to make their project a whole.
Stitchy: Who has been your biggest supporter and is there anything you'd like to be able to say to this person?
The Bead Closet: Every person who has ever clicked, "beadcloset," is an enormous supporter of mine. To be able to get my name out there, and have it be accepted is extremely supportive, and rewarding. I know I'm sounding like some sort of pop-sensation, or human rights activist, not an online jewelry supplier, but I can't help it! There are a few special Etsians I would like to mention, however. First of all, http://stitchyimpressions.etsy.com/ has been crucial in helping me become known. My first buyer, http://daniellesjewelry.etsy.com/, for taking a chance and purchasing from a little supplier with no sales, no feedback, nada, and of course, my close Etsy friends, http://erynlovely.etsy.com/, http://lisadonnelly.etsy.com/, http://alaroycreature.etsy.com/, http://bertlene123.etsy.com/, and http://ferncuriosities.etsy.com/. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart! (There's the Academy Award winner in me coming out!)
Stitchy: As an artist, what are your favorite types of beads?
The Bead Closet: When it comes to my favorite types of beads, I tend to take a liking to the gemstones and resins. I love the natural essence present in them, and their appearance once they are compiled into a beautiful product.
Stitchy: How was your experience with your very first sale on Etsy?
The Bead Closet: Ah! My first etsy sale! When I began using Etsy a couple of weeks ago, I was so paranoid of linking my bank account to Paypal, so for the first day or two, I only accepted checks/money orders. Big mistake! So when someone (http://daniellesjewelry.etsy.com/) took a liking to my Antique Brass Flower Caps, it was either get Paypal (and fast!) or die, (or you know, just lose a sale.). I took the leap of faith, frantically sprinting to Paypal, setting up an account, and receiving my first payment! It was completely worth it after that, and a big load has been lifted off my shoulders when it comes to payment.
Stitchy: Do you also participate in local venues like craft fairs, and if you do what are some suggestions that help make that a success?
The Bead Closet: I have not taken part in any craft/supply fairs as of now, however, I have been on the look-out for venues in my area. I'm sure it would be a great experience, and a chance for me to try out some face-to-face business.
Stitchy: What is the one thing that you don't have, but would love to have that would greatly assist you in your shop?
The Bead Closet: There are an inordinate amount of items I would love to have for my shop, mostly items retaining to branding. One thing I am dying to have are personalized address labels. Right now, I use some I got when I was a kid, and cut off my name so it seems more professional. I think a nice elegant stamp, or some sort of design with, "The Bead Closet," and my address printed on it would improve my shop, and I could save the, "address label cutting," step during my packaging process.
Stitchy: What is your most favorite item in your shop and what makes it so special to you?
The Bead Closet: I would have to say one of my most prized shop items, that it will be bittersweet when it is sold, are the 6mm Czech Fire Polish Milky Pink beads, (http://www.etsy.com/listing/52529816/6mm-czech-fire-polish-milky-pink-beads ). This is the very first item that was added when The Bead Closet opened, and it just can't seem to find a home. I think they are some of the most beautiful beads I have ever laid my eyes on, and my cousin used to love to work with them during her amateur jewelry-making days. They are so simple, yet, can add so much to one piece with their presence. Help them find a home!
Stitchy: What do you feel are your best marketing tools?
The Bead Closet: The chat rooms have done wonders for me in terms of marketing tools! I have not only found supportive friends, it is almost as if you are a little town shop, with the same reliable people running in and out, buying, promoting, etc. for you. I do use facebook to market: (http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Bead-Closet/146577112026403?ref=ts ) as well as twitter: www.twitter.com/thebeadcloset , but they do not seem to have done as much for me, at least, not for the time being.
Stitchy: What suggestions would you offer to brand new Etsy sellers?
The Bead Seller: Although I'm still pretty new myself, to those of you just joining etsy, remember, communication is everything! It's not only important to communicate with your buyer, so they don't feel in the dark, but as you start out, be sure you're taling to people, getting your name out there. I wouldn't spend money on a showcase just yet, instead, see if you can get into some treasuries, (in my opinion, better advertisement than a showcase, especially if you're lucky enough to get on the homepage!), make use of the forums and chat rooms, and keep your show coherent and clean! Just be patient, and soon enough, a sale will come in. Your sales will become more frequent as the number of sales and feedback you have increase.
What a fantastic interview!! Please be sure to check out The Bead Closet the next time you're looking for something wonderful and unique to make your jewelry designs one of a kind!