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I have had my Etsy shop, Serendipity Blu, since July, 2011. It started as more of a hobby, my creative outlet. I have had moderate success with very little effort, or as I like to say, lolly gagging through the whole Etsy process. This year, I decided to focus and exert some effort into marketing and planning. In addition to my virtual shop (my little cyber beach shack as I like to call it!), I also plan to exhibit at some local craft shows this summer. Jewelry is definitely a saturated craft category, and it is challenging to find innovative ways to make your work stand out. I decided to share my business planning journey with my fellow jewelry artisans. Please feel free to comment on this post if you have any ideas or inspirations that you would also like to share.

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WHY DO YOU CRAFT?

This should always be your starting point. Did you start as a hobby? Was it a skill you learned from an older family member? Was it to fill a void? Or is it simply to feed your creative spirit?

I began weaving friendship bracelets when I was a teenager many, many moons ago. I would buy embroidery floss in every color. I would make them for all of my friends. I would often wear several at a time on both wrists. Shortly after I discovered the art of macrame, I turned my attention to beading. Do it yourself bead stores became all the rage, and I visited them frequently. As I got older, I drifted away from jewelry making until my dad passed away a few years ago and I revisited this old hobby as almost a stress therapy. I also started to make jewelry as gifts for friends and family, and after much encouragement, Serendipity Blu was born.

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WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

Where do your designs come from? Why do you choose certain colors? Why do you gravitate toward certain materials?

I love the beach! I am soothed by the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tide. I am invigorated by the scent of the salt air. I choose to create jewelry to capture that laid back lifestyle that I adore. I use softer colors; many of my pieces are in ocean hues of blue, turquoise, teal, aqua, and green. I feature eco-friendly recycled beads in my work for their soft seaglass-like finish. I also work with distressed leather for the way that, when leather wears, it almost becomes a part of you.

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WHO IS YOUR CUSTOMER?

For many of us, we are our first customers. Crafting often results from filling a need for something particular. My boho beachy creations are a direct by-product of being unable to find non-massed produced original jewelry when shopping on the boardwalk.

Do you value your work? Are you willing to spend what you price your jewelry? Could you see yourself wearing what you create? If not, it may be difficult for you to see others purchasing your work and could have a negative impact on your marketing.

Describe your typical customer: My typical customer would probably fall between the ages of 25 and 55. She is starting to or has developed her own style rather than follow all of the trends. She may shop at Lucky Brand and would prefer a Fossil bag over Coach. She lives in flip flops. Her weekend style is casual and she, of course, loves the beach! She is looking for unique boho pieces at a moderate price ($25 to $50) that remind her of her favorite vacation spots and inspire simple pleasures.

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FINDING YOUR NICHE

When I first started to sell on Etsy, I worked in several different mediums (macrame, decoupage, wire work) and utilized many varied materials (recycled glass, Czech glass, Swarovski crystals). While I enjoyed having such an eclectic assortment of beachy creations, it did pose some problems. As I stated earlier, jewelry is such a saturated craft. I have found more success carving my own little niche with a few unique designs, rather than have several styles. It is about creating memorable pieces to appeal to your focused target customers instead of producing many generic pieces to appeal to the masses. I have learned that not everyone likes my vision, but those that do not only love it, but are also very loyal customers!

I decided to go with my first instinct. The initial pieces I listed on my Etsy shop were leather macrame bracelets accented with recycled glass beads. I called them Betty Bracelets because they were created with grown up surfer girls in mind. After experimenting with different pieces, I settled on the Betties and now they make up the bulk of my shop. They are a simple design, but the combo of materials I use have made them a unique find on Etsy’s vast marketplace.

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PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Now that I have defined my style (beach-rustic), targeted my customers (grown up surfer girls), and found my niche (leather macrame bracelets), I am ready to take the next step in marketing my art. Stay tuned for part 2 of my GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS series which will focus on building a brand for jewelry artisans.

Thanks for stopping by!

Shanti,
Erin

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