Thursday, August 7, 2014

Meet our Members! -- Valerie from The Valet Girl

The SPS Team is an international team of artists, artisans and creators working together to promote their finest work!

Every week we are happy and proud to introduce a member of our outstanding team! They come from different backgrounds, countries, cultures and artistic horizons, but they all have one thing in common : they are driven, creative, dynamic, and dedicated to their Etsy business and to their team, SPST!


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Today we are thrilled to introduce Valerie, a creative jewelry maker from North Carolina, USA.! She opened her Etsy shop, called "The Valet Girl", in January 2014.


In Valerie's shop you will find a wonderful selection of handcrafted jewelry : bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings, made with luxuriant pearls, glass beads and crystals. 

Let's meet Valerie and learn about her life, her "Crow's Nest" and the challenges that she faces while combining her Etsy business and her busy family life! 


 The Valet Girl


Why do you sell on Etsy? 

After a comparison against sites like Bonanza, OpenSky, and Artfire, I began selling on Etsy as it seemed to be more user friendly and widely known, and seemed like the home of the jewelry artisan. This made the difference to me, especially considering my goal is merely sharing my passion with others that might have a similar interest, versus capitalizing on my craft; a craft that I find to be relaxing. Granted, I get really immersed in my work, scrutinizing every detail to make sure that the end result is something that I would gladly purchase from a retailer, online or otherwise, but my ultimate goal is rendering a creation that I myself would sport proudly in public.




What inspires you for your designs?

I find inspiration in the natural beauty around me, such as how a vine of grapes may be arranged, or how buds grow together on a flower; having an affinity for pearls and beads, I feel I can easily easily recreate this with these materials. 

The color palettes found in nature also move me to bring colors together that may not commonly been seen in any one piece, but a keen eye might notice together in a field or meadow. 


How did your Etsy adventure begin? 

My Etsy adventure had meager beginnings, as I imagine many Etsians before me have experienced; I spent a weekend looking at shops that I'd admired, selling comparable items, and Googled such things as "successful Etsy Shop Announcements", taking the top articles and any shops referenced in those, comparing them against the shops I admired, and looked for commonalities that I might be able to reinterpret into my own Announcement, Policies, and Shipping Rates, etc. I was fortunate in that, in spite of a pretty sleepless 72 hours and a leap of faith, within 4 days, I had my first sale! 

Despite embarking upon my first milestone so quickly, I continued striving to make my shop as professional as possible, no matter how inexperienced I truly am! I ordered custom plastic earring cards and necklace and bracelet holders, stickers with my logo for black gift bags, and transformed my spare bedroom into a studio! 

The most difficult part of the entire process continues to be shooting my items to list online. Even today, I am still learning and incorporating new techniques in photographing my listings.




Describe your workshop and your creation habits : where do you work? when is your favorite time to make jewelry? Are you messy or tidy? organized or organic?

My studio was once my son's bedroom; my husband purchased a loft bed (the "Crow's Nest"; I love my naps!) that has a desk underneath where I set up my tools and supplies, as well as my Kindle and an auxiliary speaker I plug into it so I can listen to Pandora while I work. 

With one child away at college, calling for life advice at every whim, an 11 year old aspiring nail art technician (she's GOOD), an 8 year old future TV star (I have no idea where he gets his material), and one on the way, it is hard to find that time. (Did I mention, I love my naps?) But when I do, I try to create as much as possible, yet without forcing anything; I try not to make anything that seems contrived. 

Continuing with the virtual tour, right beside me on the floor on the left, is a small storage unit with my digital scale, flattened boxes, and bubble wrap; let's call it "Shipping and Receiving"! Together, it's hardly neat, but luckily my eldest daughter brought home a partition she acquired by "thrifting", behind which I've set up a lightbox and lamps, atop a short storage unit that houses a few props I've gathered thus far. All in the only remaining unoccupied corner in my studio, this is my Staging and Photography Dept. Surely, it sounds like a migraine to some, but it does come together quite nicely, in my humbled opinion!


Are you a buyer on Etsy as well? What do you usually look to buy?

I have purchased beads on Etsy, perused for unique findings, and searched for other things relative to my business, but at the moment, with a little one on the way, I've been browsing quite often for all things concerning our upcoming addition! 


What is your biggest difficulty/challenge as an Etsy shop owner?

The biggest hurdle is finding the time to create. In a chat with another shop owner, I spoke about the litany of articles I found around setting up a shop, taking photos, leveraging social media, etc. but never found anything about balancing this aspect of entrepreneurialism and family, and I've figured out why: it is impossible to write a formula for success in this regard. One can only try their best!


Which is your favorite social media to use and recommend to other sellers for cross-promoting and why?

I favor Facebook to cross-promote, because I find it more malleable. Here, I'm able to post new listings, articles that I might find helpful, like/share posts by other Etsians that I like or believe my fans may like to purchase or browse. I can track which items seem to be received better than others, I can comment directly to someone commenting on an item I've posted, share other Etsian's Fan Pages, and so much more. I just find it to be a vehicle that allows me to do more to bring exposure to other shop owners, as well as own.


Thank you so much Valerie for your insight and generosity !!

Visit Valerie's shop today : www.etsy.com/shop/thevaletgirl

You can also connect with Valerie on different social media platforms : 
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/TheValetGirl
Twitter : https://twitter.com/thevaletgirl

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If you are a member of the SPS Team and wish to be featured on our Team Blog in the series of articles 'Meet our Team Members' do not hesitate to contact our Leader, Natalie!




Read some other amazing stories from our Team Members :

- Ellen from The Chilly Dog




PRESENTED TO YOU BY OUR LEADER: 


 
My name is Natalie. I am a French-Canadian gal, but I live in South Korea. My passion is called "Hanji" : sumptuous Korean paper made of mulberry pulp. Hanji has been used for a thousand years in Korea to create decorative or ceremonial objects. For me, it is essential to offer useful and practical objects, that can enjoyed on a daily basis. Tissue cases, pen holders, jewelry, fridge magnets, hair accessories: let the beauty and unique character of Hanji paper make our everyday life objects irresistible!


 

www.etsy.com/shop/HanjiNaty

Follow Natalie's Blog For The Latest Updates To Her Shop:


www.hanjinaty.com


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