Friday, February 25, 2011

Featured Crafter: Celia Boaz from Glitz Glitter

I am thrilled with today's featured crafter, Celia Boaz from GlitzGlitter on Etsy. I own two of her pieces, and have recently fallen in love with the necklace featured at the bottom of this post. Her jewelry definitely has, as she says below, her own voice. I hope you enjoy her interview. Also, please note the detail in her photos--she really knows how to show off these pieces.

(I have these! My mom bought them for me, for my birthday!)

I love my soap bubble earrings! Those beads are unique. Do you do a lot of research to find your beads and baubles, or do you have one or two trusty suppliers?

I am like a dog with a bone when it comes to searching for new supplies. There is only so much one can do with a bead or briolette so keeping an eye out for new and different beads is a huge part of what I do. I spend hours researching and have more suppliers than you can shake a stick at. It's probably my favorite part of my job and I get giddy with excitement when I find a new place. Some times it doesn't work out and you have thrown money away for something that isn't quite what you had imagined, but that's all part of the process.

How much time do you spend on research, compared with the time you spend making things?

I spend as much time researching as making new things. I feel like if you concentrate only on making, your designs could get stagnant. I tuck away treasures and some days when there is no money for new, magic beads, I will find a stash and still have something fun to use to make new designs.

I am very interested to know if anyone in the world is making a full-time living from crafting. Are you? Are you close? Is that a goal of yours?

I am not making a living, yet, but I am getting there? I quit my day job in April of last year and have tried very hard to not take any money from my little business for myself. I have been stretching out my 401k to live on so I can keep re-investing. Is this all a pipe dream? Maybe, but I would kick myself if I didn't give it a shot.

(I own these "soap bubble" earrings! Squee!)

Describe your main work space. How much did you spend to get it functioning?

My main workspace is a 9ft wooden bench that was once used for my mom's gun hobby. Where bullets and casings were once strewn, there is now a giant, messy pile of beads, wire, pliers and findings. I love that it is a mess. I may be sitting there with no inspiration and my eye will fall on some bead that I never knew what to do with and inspiration will strike. It's a magpie's nest of sparklies and I refuse to straighten it up.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to aspiring jewelry crafters who want to make it a business?

Do your own thing. That is my best advice. Jumping on the bandwagon will put you in competition with people who have been doing what you are trying to do for so much longer and who have so many more resources at their disposal from trial and error. Your jewelry should have a voice and it should be yours. I like simple jewelry, so I make simple jewelry.

Pictures are important! Work on your pictures! But, your craft is more important. That should be the priority. Macro is a cruel magnifying glass of every flaw and mistake you have made. Make sure you are taking a picture of something pretty, not just a pretty picture.

Make friends. Network. Working from home is a lonely business and having friends and a support group of people who know what you are going through is imperative to your mental health and can have a side effect of helping out your business as well.

Thanks so much to Celia for the interview and advice. Please click the photos--all are linked to her Etsy shop. I have also discovered modest Celia's new Etsy shop, TheSlyFox.

Readers, what advice would you give to others who are considering a craft business?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Product Review: Square Up

The Square Up Card reader, on an iPhone. It works on other smartphones, too.

I have recently decided to change my merchant account provider. The Square Up card reader is the reason why. It is my personal opinion that all crafters who sell in person should have this device. Here are my reasons why:

1. The fee structure is amazing. It costs 2.75% per transaction, and that's it. No contracts. No monthly statement fees (I hate them!). You use it when you need it, and when you don't you pay nothing.

2. The ability to accept credit cards at a craft show is priceless. When I started accepting cards, my sales doubled. DOUBLED.

3. It works on an iPad as well as an iPhone and other smart phones. If you have wireless Internet where you are selling, the iPad works fine.

4. You can key in the credit card number, as needed. I've used this feature already, and it works fine. This does incur an additional .15 fee, plus the percentage is 3.5%. Fifteen cents? An extra 1.2% for the flexibility to key it in? Who cares?

5. The customer can "sign" the receipt. This is how it works on a touchpad smartphone. Awesome.

6. You can email or text the customer a receipt. I love this!

7. Swiping the card is faster than keying it in. When your customers are 3-deep, waiting for their turns to buy from you, time is crucial. Don't underestimate this benefit.

What device or system do you use for accepting credit cards at craft fairs?

**I have NOT been compensated in any way by Square Up or anybody affiliated with them. I just love this product.**

Friday, February 18, 2011

Featured Crafter: Tera Larson of CreativityisMessy on Etsy

Please welcome Tera Larson of Creativity is Messy on Etsy. I find her items quirky and fun--Spokane, Washington is lucky to have her. Please read her interview and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

1. How do you find out about craft fairs in your area? Do you belong to a crafter's alliance? Do you do all your own research?

I am part of the Eastern WA Etsy Street team, and get a lot of information about craft fairs from other team members. I am also an avid craft fair shopper and have been for many years - so I know about many annual fairs in my area.

2. What was the impulse to start your business?

I got hooked on making jewelry years ago when my daughter was little. I was a single Mom, working my way through college and I couldn't afford all the pretties and bling that I wanted. I decided one day as I walked through a craft store to begin making my own. Then, I started making gifts for other people. Eventually I began selling my work, then someone introduced me to Etsy and Creativity is Messy was created.

3. Jewelry crafting is competitive. What is your niche? What sets you apart?

I would have to say my niche is recycled but beautiful products. A great example of this is my Recycled T-Shirt Flower necklaces. I've always loved using recycled materials when making jewelry. I found that I had an abundance of t-shirts that I had around the house from various charity and volunteer events (my husband and I do a lot of volunteer work). Eventually, I came up with the idea of sewing the t-shirt material into flowers and making different pieces of jewelry out of them. I hadn't seen it done this way before, and I was looking for a way to really set me apart from other sellers. It has been one of my biggest sellers.

4. Which materials interest you the most right now? What is inspiring you, creatively?

I've been playing around with Shrink Plastic, but haven't "perfected" the process by any means. I love vintage and antiques, and found myself doodling things that have that feel to them. Eventually, I hope to sell my doodles by drawing them on the plastic and making them into charms for jewelry.

5. What piece of advice do you wish you had, when starting your business?

Sometimes you're up and sometimes you're down (in terms of sales). If you work as hard when you're up as you do when you're down, the ups and down seem to even out a bit.


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us, Tera. Folks, please click on the photos and visit her shop, spread the word via Twitter or Facebook, and leave a comment. If we all contribute to the conversation, we can learn a lot more. Also, feel free to email me {theoldecrone at gmail dot com} with an idea for another featured crafter, if you have one. I already have several lined up, but I would love to have lots more. Let's make this a regular feature--and my "regular" I mean at least bi-weekly, if not weekly. No giveaways needed, I have decided. I just want to give indie business some exposure-- it's my way of giving back.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Featured Crafter is coming back!

I have had a featured crafter in mind for a while, but she's busy, so I'm moving on. I've found my list of folks on Etsy who indicated they were interested, and just sent off the interview questions to a new featured crafter!

Would you like to be featured here? Leave a comment with a link, and I'll get in touch with you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Making Liquid Soap in Your Own Kitchen -- Part 3

Part 3 of my liquid soap making series is up on YouTube! In this video, I dilute the soap, get scared because it looks like it didn't work, and then I save it. It's VERY EXCITING.

Craft Business: Startup Checklist

I have been working on something small, yet big. It's a Business Startup Checklist, particularly for crafters. I plan on giving this away to those who sign up for my Craft e-Revolution newsletter. It will contain everything that I can think of for someone starting a craft business.

Your input for this checklist is appreciated. What do you wish someone would have told you to do, when first starting out?


Video update: I am having so much fun making videos for YouTube, I can't describe it. Video #3 in my Making Liquid Soap series should be finished tonight and/or tomorrow morning. If I can get it to dilute all the way tonight, then that's when I'll post it. The soaping community has proclaimed the videos both helpful and entertaining, which was my goal. Have you seen them yet? Your feedback on them is appreciated--please leave a comment!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I am diluting the soap, and making a video of that. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel, if you are interested in learning how to make your own soap.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Making Stuff: Liquid Soap Tutorial

This is the first video in a series I'm creating. The title is "Making Liquid Soap in Your Own Kitchen." You can subscribe to my YouTube channel, if you want: crafterevolution1

The video has received a good response! If soap making interests you, please consider subscribing.