This week we feature Beth, of Bethmannjewelry (on Etsy). Beth told us a lot about her story, and I think it represents so many of us who are out there slugging away, at retirement age, to discover a new passion and augment our income in the process. So here's the interview in its entirety.
Is jewelry making/design your full time gig or do you have a day job?
My days vary. I am a retired licensed clinical social worker and an active grandma. I have 2 married children and 4 grandsons who are under age 4. They keep us busy and happy! I work on my jewelry more on days when I am not with my grandsons, but sometimes there are breaks where I have time to work. I fit in jewelry making when I can during breaks, off days and weekends. That is, when I am not out at the gym trying to get fit, shopping, getting together with friends, or doing house chores! My go-to place for a mini-vacation is Cambria, California. I love that little town, the great beaches, the shops, the beaches, the nearby places to visit...did I mention the BEACHES? You can have a great time just collecting beach stones there if you time it right!
What's your specialty in jewelry? What are your favorite materials to work with and why? Where did you learn your art/craft?
My specialty is wire work. I enjoy wire wrapping as well as wire crochet. And I adore incorporating natural materials like semiprecious stones, as well as collected beach stones and beach glass into my work. I take contrasting materials of different textures and qualities and work them into a piece of wearable art. I also use glass, crystals, wood, shell, bone, pearls, chain, leather and feathers.
Much of what I have learned is from tutorials and teaching myself, but I did take 5-6 classes at a local bead store before I got involved in actively making selling my creations.
What are your venues? Etsy only? Pinterest? Facebook? What's your favorite and why? What was it like to get started on Etsy?
My sales venues include local art and craft shows, jewelry parties, and trunk shows. One of the annual shows I participate in is Bead Bazaar, a weekend show sponsored by the Bead Society of San Diego (of which I am a member, we meet monthly). I have demonstrated and taught classes in that venue. My web pages follow:
I use the ETSY web page most frequently, as it is how I manage the inventory of most of my jewelry. In the information section of my ETSY store, I have my calendar of public shows for the coming months. My ETSY shop has detailed descriptions and pictures of my necklaces, bracelets, and necklace sets which include earrings. I take special requests based on my designs as well. My ETSY store is linked to Facebook so that when I list a new item, it gets posted on my Facebook page. I frequently add to my Facebook page additional pictures of my booth displays at various venues, and I give detailed info of upcoming events there. I post different pictures of items and venues on Linkedin and Pinterest too.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future re. your jewelry work? What one thing do you wish you had that you think would make all the difference for what you are seeking?
Okay, this is the most difficult question for me. I know that my business could grow more if I had more time to dedicate to it. Also, I am doing it all as an active, retired grandmother – if there would be anything I could hope for in the future it would be assistance in marketing and insight into what I should be concentrating on improving and making more of. Since my time is limited, I hope to be able to make the most of the time I have. In the future, I may do fewer shows and branch into teaching more classes. I would like to improve my internet sales so that I wouldn't have to be at as many shows. I adore meeting the public, but the physical labor of setting up and tearing down canopy, tables, displays and merchandise can be wearing! On the other hand, the excitement of the shows, seeing my followers, meeting new people, and the friendships with the other vendors is really rewarding to me.
I really enjoyed doing this interview with Beth. It's such a classic story, as I said earlier, of how many of us are living with our jewelry/beading/designing/selling obsessions. On one side, Beth is a great role model for all of us in terms of balance in life; on the other side of the coin, her story is also a reminder about the difficult choices we must make to juggle all our interests and responsibilities! We truly appreciate the fact that she took the time to share her experience, tricks of the trade, and insights. Be sure to check out her beautiful work, especially on Etsy! Reminder: www.BethMannJewelry.etsy.com
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy the post on Cate Yoder.