[PS for anyone who is wondering what steampunk is, here is the Wiki definition: “it is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.” ]
They are both gorgeous cats and it sounds like they’re very lucky to have ended up finding a home with you guys. Do you want to talk a little bit about your agoraphobia? I was first diagnosed with depression, anxiety and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) when I was around 19. I went to numerous counseling, psychotherapy, psychiatry and cognitive behavioral therapy sessions but nothing seemed to help and the agoraphobia stated to develop.
Thanks for sharing this with us, Simon sounds so supportive which must be a great help. I’m sure there are people suffering with debilitating illnesses that will appreciate your honesty and find the fact that you have worked around your illness and set up your business inspiring, I know that I do. Tell us a little bit about how & where you work? I work from my home so when making jewellery I’m usually on the floor surrounded by findings and parts or at the dining room table whilst being attentively watched by my cat. By the window is another spot you can also find me, camera in hand, as I find natural light for my item photography works best. The majority of my time is spent at my computer desk where I edit and upload all my photos to Etsy and work on titles and SEO. I also spend a lot of time there networking and promoting via my different media accounts too.
What sort of camera do you use for your product photography? I use a FujiFilm FinePix S1000fd with a 12x optical zoom lens to take my item pictures. After making a few items I take all the photos at the same time using natural daylight so they all come out looking the same. I then use Adobe Photoshop Element 8.0 to do all my editing which is mainly adding my background and logo. I am planning to get my background professionally printed so I can take my item photos directly on that instead of having to add it myself after, in the hope of cutting out a lot of editing time.
What inspires your work? I thought for a long while about what I should make and being a fan of Steampunk I was inspired by the beauty of items and photography I saw online and wanted to be a part of it and so I started to make Steampunk jewellery. But sometimes when I think of a design I just have to make it! Such as these little Alarm Clock Brooches.
What are you currently working on? I designed and made my shop logo and cover picture myself and I have been designing a business card and shop poster for when I eventually start selling at craft fairs.
How have you found your Etsy journey so far? So far my Etsy journey has been exhausting at times but also very fulfilling as I really do enjoy creating my items and it makes me very happy to receive good reviews, and of course even happier when I hear the famous ‘Ker-ching’!
Oooh, I ‘ll have to pop over and check it out! You say some of your Etsy journey is ‘exhausting’ at times (I soooo know that feeling). What do you enjoy doing to chill out and relax, if you have time to do that? I would like to say I cook/bake lovely things to eat as I would really enjoy that! Unfortunately I am terrible in the kitchen and although I have tried many times, things that usually can’t be messed up turn out wrong and I end up with another burn to add to the collection… so I shoot zombies on my Xbox instead! I also like to game with my partner as well or watch movies with him, that really takes my mind off things and helps me unwind.
Any lessons learned so far that you would like to share with other Etsy makers or online sellers? I have been very lucky so far and not experienced this myself as my customers have always been kind and polite to me, “knock on wood”. But I have seen other sellers who have not had this luck and have had very rude interactions from buyers. So I would say to other sellers, don’t let anyone bully you and always stay as polite and professional as you can.
How do you package your items for sending? Tell us about anything you do to make the customer experience extra special? The items themselves are either in a ribbon topped gift box, in a jewellery sleeve or in a drawstring organza bag depending on the item.
They sound like a great idea, I’ll have to look out for some! How are you finding the challenge of SEO, tags and titles and trying to reach a global market? SEO for me is not too bad actually. I try to use basic descriptive words mixed with specific ones and also spell things differently such as ‘Jewellery or mum’ for the UK and ‘Jewelry or mom’ for the US for a little added reach.
There is a lot of talk about the jewellery market on Etsy being over saturated and more competitive than ever. Do you think this is true and how do you keep your head above the crowd? Any thoughts on this would be interesting? Oh yes I definitely think this is true! There are just so many types of jewellery to be found on Etsy… boho, fine, costume, wrapped wire, bridal, beaded, resin..the list goes on and on so being a jewellery seller on Etsy can be very challenging!
Do you ever make the jewellery for yourself to wear? Sometimes I do want to keep what I’ve made but I have to keep telling myself ‘NO! Behave!’ I’ve still made a couple of items for myself though and a few for my family. Last year I made an amber range but as soon as I posted pictures of it my mum commented:
Mum: Oh! My favourite colours!Me: Do you want one?Mum: Yes.Me: Which one?Mum: All of them.
Your best seller? My best seller has been the matching Steampunk necklace and bracelet gift sets which come in a beautiful ribbon topped gift box! I really enjoy making these!
Have you had many sales abroad? If so where is your most exotic or furthest location? I have made a few international sales going out to Australia, Germany and mostly to the USA. One of my furthest location sales was a recent sale not to far from Hollywood which went to an American actress who appeared in quite a few of my favourite childhood TV shows, so I was very happy about that!
That sounds very exciting! So, what’s next for your shop? I am most passionate about my Steampunk items and my next plan for my shop is to start making jewellery and accessories with gamer and anime themes as I am a huge fan of these genres as well! As I have never sold at any craft fairs yet I would love to start doing so, especially at comic cons where I feel those types of items would be more sought after.
So you’re really into gaming and anime? I do play computer games and have done since I was around five so I do consider myself a gamer. I started off on the Atari playing the awesome 80’s game ‘Pong’! My favourite game to run home from school to play was ‘Super Mario 3’ and sometimes my family would have game nights where we would all play ‘Star Fox’ together which I really enjoyed! When I was a teen the ‘Silent Hill’ series was my all time favourite, it’s horror themed and I remember being genuinely scared at times when playing! Nowadays though some of my favourite games are ‘Fallout 3’, ‘Left 4 dead 2’ and the ‘Gears of War’ series. I really love gaming and will probably game for the rest of my life and will definitely teach my kids (when I have some) to game too.
It sounds like fantastic plan and I hope you come back and tell us when you have your new lines ready so we can have a sneaky peek. Do you think your Etsy business is helping you build your confidence? I recently went to a Comicon in Birmingham with my partner, it was a birthday present because I’ve always wanted to go to one so it was my first ever one! I really enjoyed it and loved to see all the anime and gamer merchandise and lucky for me there was an outside area which I used a few times to just sit and chill when I got to flustered. Anyway, I just loved the stalls and saw items similar to my own so it just became an ambition! I hear from other Etsy people that they sell on stalls at craft fairs and I just think my items, especially when I start a gamer and anime range, would fit in better at a Comicon.
I especially want some pics if you do start selling at Comicon -I hope you’ll get dressed up for the occassion – keep us posted! Your Etsy crush? Definitely FelThink! I adore her whimsical and charming dolls, they are all just so stunning!
They are gorgeous, I will be taking a closer look! So, where can we find you on the web to come and say ‘hi’? Apart from Etsy, you can also find me here: