Handcrafted Jewelry Design Challenge – UncommonGoods

UncommonGoods is an online retailer that celebrates high quality art and design by supporting a large community of independent artists and designers.

They have an ongoing Jewelry Design Challenge (http://www.uncommongoods.com/designs/jewelry) – the perfect opportunity for talented artists to submit their most unique pieces of jewelry including necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings for the chance to win $500 and an UncommonGoods Vendor Contract. The top five voted designs will be judged by UncommonGoods Assistant Jewelry & Accessories Buyer Sharon Hitchcock.
UncommonGoodslogo

Here is the info again:

  • Grand Prize: $500 + an UncommonGoods Vendor Contract
  • What they are looking for: necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings designs (all sorts of materials are welcome as long as they are safe and animal-friendly)
  • Judge: UncommonGoods Assistant Jewelry & Accessories Buyer Sharon Hitchcock.
  • Submission Deadline: This is an ongoing competition. At the beginning of each month, new semifinalists will be chosen from the previous month’s submissions. This Month’s deadline is August 31, 2013 at 11:59 PM ET
  • Questions? Email jewelry@uncommongoods.com
  • Submission page: http://www.uncommongoods.com/designs/jewelry
  • Judges will provide runners-up with a critique of their work, tips for marketing and growing your business.

Make sure you read the Rules and fine print. This is a fantastic opportunity! Good luck, fabulous jewelry designers!

In the Spotlight: Angie’s Design Jewelry

Introducing Angie Howard of Angie’s Jewelry Design!

We caught up with Angie and asked her a few questions so you get to know her better.

What’s the story behind your company?
Angie’s Jewelry Design was born in Hong Kong. Several years ago I spent a few months there on business. China has always fascinated me because of its rich history, beautiful art & architecture, sense of mystery and the endurance of its people. There’s always been a rich emotional attachment for me that I can’t explain. I was inspired by the gemstones I saw in Hong Kong’s Jade Market and I collected beaded bracelets and necklaces and brought them back to the states. Once home I took some classes on making beaded jewelry and dove right in. I moved on to wire wrapping beads and cabochons. Then I discovered I could cut my own cabs and my fate was sealed! I fell in love with the variety and stunning natural artistry of stones. My shop (garage!) is chock-full of stones, saws and polishing equipment. I also discovered that I was part of a group called lapidaries: people who share the passion and fascination I have for gorgeous and intriguing rocks!
Angie's Jewelry Design
What inspires you?
Sunlight filtered through leaves on a tree, stars against the night sky, the potential for beauty in a simple stone.

What is your favorite product to make?
My current most-favorite stone is Ohio Flint. It’s colorful, takes a great shine, and is from my native state of Ohio. For thousands of years Native Americans used this flint to create stone tools, which were traded across the country.

How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Bold, elegant, unique

In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
After spending many years working in a large corporation, I love being able to work on my own terms.

If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
I’d definitely start with a solid business and marketing plan.

Angie's Jewelry DesignAny advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting?
Be sure to always value your work. You’ll be tempted to set prices too low. Be strong – you’re worth it!

What’s next? Any plans for the future?
I’ve got some exciting plans for adding stainless steel and copper to my designs. I’ll use patinas to add color and drama to the metal.

Contact information:
Name: Angie Howard
Website/Shop: www.angiesjewelrydesign.com
Facebook: facebook.com/AngiesJewelryDesigns
Twitter: @AngiesJewelry

*** If you are a successful artisan with an online store and fabulous products and would like to be “In the Spotlight”, feel free to submit your info. ***

In the Spotlight: Enchanting Origins

Today’s featured artisan is Michele Phillips of Enchanting Origins. We asked her a few questions so you get to know her better.

What’s the story behind your company?
After spending twenty years in the construction industry, we felt the downturn after the real estate boom came to a crashing halt in Nevada. Now with a lot more free time on our hands and looking for something to do, something that would finally serve our creative outlets, we started making our own lotion for ourselves. And with a bit of encouragement from our friends, decided to make our own skin care products using simple ingredients without all the chemical fillers you find in the supermarkets. Enchanting Origins was born. It has grown from lotion to our facial line, scrubs, soaps, creams and butters.
Enchanting Origins
What inspires you?
It inspires me to create something new. Something that people enjoy using. I really like helping people feel better about their skin and working with them to help find a solution to their skin problems. It can be very rewarding to help someone find the one product that makes a big difference in his or her life.

What is your favorite product to make?
My favorite product to make would have to be bar soap. It may not sound very exciting, but, to me it is wonderful to play with the different ingredients to find new products and combinations. It brings out the creative and experimental side of me. I enjoy sharing the ideas and final products with customers.
Enchanting Origins
How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Simple, versatile, and sensible

In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
The best part about being an entrepreneur is being able to do the thing you love which allows me to also spend more time with my family. I appreciate having the freedom to decide how to move forward instead of being bound by the decisions of others. I am free to continue to grow and change as needed to promote our lovely products.

If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
If I had to start all over again I would have to say that I would have started this much sooner and trusted my instincts. I also would have worked harder on the marketing aspect when I started. Unfortunately, when you are an entrepreneur, you spend so much time on your products or services when the key element is marketing so you can get your products out there. Wonderful products don’t sell unless you can get them in front of people so that aspect always needs more work than you realize initially.
Enchanting Origins
What’s next? Any plans for the future?
Plans for the future are to continue the growth and expansion to include more stores and of course, continue to develop more fun and exciting products. I would like to add a complete line of facial masks. I’ve been experimenting with several different kinds to find the best mixtures. There are so many options out there that I am working hard to narrow it down so we can add them to our facial line.

Contact information:
Name: Michele Phillips
Website/Shop: www.EnchantingOrigins.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheEnchantingOrigins
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EnchantOrigins
Blog: http://enchantingorigins.blogspot.com
Google+: https://plus.google.com/103432435710625888282/posts

*** If you are a successful artisan with an online store and fabulous products and would like to be “In the Spotlight”, feel free to submit your info. ***

In the Spotlight: SariBlue

Today, we are delighted to introduce you to Christine Lorenzo, the talented artisan behind SariBlue®!

What’s the story behind your company?
SariBlue® began in 2011. I spent my corporate career working in international high tech as an executive in Human Resources and Operations. I traveled a lot! I always loved to travel and meet new people, learning in depth about new cultures. I spent a lot of time in Turkey and simply feel in love with the culture and the people. As it turns out, I also meet my fiancée during this time. So, after a long tumultuous time in my career and life, I needed a really big change and somehow doing something involving design, history, and being creative made perfect sense. My fascination with the evil eye literally was calling to me and I started to play around with materials and worked towards the collection that I have today. It has been a wonderful, fast experience so far and I feel lucky every day I get to do something that is creative and allows me to work for myself while meeting others that do the same.
SariBlue Hook and Eye Leather Bracelet
What inspires you?
I am sure this will sound totally cliché but EVERYTHING is inspiring. I get inspired by great stories, history, amazing art, music, clothes, film, my girls. I was in a fabric store the other day with my sister and the color and textures were just amazing, once home I went right into the shop and started working on a few new designs. I think the key to inspiration is having your eyes open.

What is your favorite product to make?
A few come to mind that I love to make. The Hook and Eye Bracelet, is something I wear every day, it is just so super cool to wear so when I make it I know whoever gets it will truly enjoy it.

My all-time favorite piece to create is our Baby Belly Bell™. This unique piece brings together two different cultures with a Latin American Bola Chime and a Mediterranean handmade glass evil eye bead. The Bola Chime is used in many cultures by pregnant woman to help soothe the soon to be born baby. Of course the centerpiece to the entire SariBlue® collection is our Turkish evil eye bead known as a talisman of protection and good luck. So the combination is an extraordinary piece of jewelry for a mom to be to wear during pregnancy. I love making this original design every time because I know the special meaning it will bring the woman who wears it. It really makes me so happy.
sariblue baby belly bell aquamarine
How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Gypsy-Boho/ Rocker /Chic

In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
I think as an entrepreneur making choices is amazing, you need to be able to pick a path with confidence, really stick to it while at the same time know when it is ok to tweak it. No one else is responsible for the choice or the outcome; it is the best and scariest part.

If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
I would definitely have more business structure in place before jumping into a new business. I had years of business experience in high tech which prepared me in many ways for a variety of ins and outs on what has come my way. But starting things with more structure would have resulted in less backtracking and distraction, more time focused on what matters.
SariBlue Emerald Green Warrior Bracelet
What’s next? Any plans for the future?
The focus for the remainder of this year will be to continue to build our wholesale market. I really enjoy the relationship with boutique and shop owners and of course the awesome customers that continue to be so support of the SariBlue® shops online.

Contact information:
Name: Christine Lorenzo
Website/Shop: http://sariblue.storenvy.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SariBlueJewelry
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigandsari
Blog: http://www.sariblue.com/

*** If you are a successful artisan with an online store and fabulous products and would like to be “In the Spotlight”, feel free to submit your info. ***

In the Spotlight: DesignMe Jewelry

Today we are delighted to have Vanessa Painter of DesignMe Jewelry as a featured artisan.

DesignMe Jewelry was born from a love of personalized jewelry. Vanessa loves to create pieces that are made specifically for someone ad has special meaning. She loves working with customers to create the perfect piece for them. Her business is her passion and she cannot wait to see what the future brings.

We caught up with Vanessa and asked her a few questions so you get to know her better.

What’s the story behind your company?
I have always loved jewelry with a story or a message, jewelry that is very personal and meaningful for the wearer. I have always been a creative person and as a choir director, music was always my outlet. I’ve been teaching for 15 years, and was needing something that was more for me. I wanted to create and give to others. Making custom jewelry has filled that need perfectly. I am always driven by inspiring others and being able to create personal and inspirational jewelry has become very fulfilling for me. I came up with the name ‘DesignMe Jewelry’ because I want my customers to feel like they play a part in designing their perfect piece. Anything can be altered or added with any designs, and I love being able to accommodate special requests. It’s been a labor of love, as I believe most small businesses are, and I am enjoying every second of it.
DesignMe Jewelry
What inspires you?
My customers have been my biggest inspiration. I love when someone comes to me and says “Here is what I’m looking for”, and I can design something that is exactly what they were looking for. I also love inspirational sayings, and I have an entire list that I want to incorporate into designs. It is a very rewarding job.

What is your favorite product to make?
I love making mother necklaces, as I know just how special those are because of my own wonderful children. My memory necklaces are also very meaningful and I know they will be treasured by the wearer. Also, my leather cuff bracelets are a lot of fun.

How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Simple, elegant, classic.

In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
I love being the only one involved in the process. I make all of the final decisions, and only have to please myself and my customers. It is very rewarding to hear positive feedback about my designs. I also am glad that I can work on designs and orders whenever I am able. I’m not tied to a schedule other than my own deadlines.

DesignMe JewelryIf you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
The biggest frustration I have faced is product photography. Being an online venue, this is probably the most important aspect of marketing. I probably would have taken some photography classes before I began listing product. But it has been something I have been able to work on and improve. Learning has been part of the process and its very exciting to see how everything has evolved.

Any advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting?

Do your research! You can’t just create something and sell it online and expect to build a business. You have to understand copyright and trademarks, business requirements for your state, and tax laws. Find suppliers and talk to other business owners. Be serious about your venture, and be confident in your product. If you are selling products you make, do not treat it like it is just a hobby.

DesignMe JewelryWhat’s next? Any plans for the future?
I have many new design ideas I need to find time to make. I have some classes lined up to expand my metal and beading techniques. I am working with The Artisan Group to provide some gifted products for celebrities, and I will just keep designing to expand my business! I hope to be doing this for a very long time.

Contact information:
Name: Vanessa Painter
Website: www.DesignMeJewelry.etsy.com
www.designmejewelry.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DesignMeJewelry
Twitter: @DesignMeJewelry
Google+:https://plus.google.com/108894802412703598172/posts

*** If you are a successful artisan with an online store and fabulous products and would like to be “In the Spotlight”, feel free to submit your info. ***

In the Spotlight: Sugar Rush Creative

Today in the Spotlight we have Thuy Nguyen, the talented designer behind Sugar Rush Creative! We love her beautiful handbags so, we decided to feature her. Here is our interview:

What’s the story behind your company?
Rush Creative was started in 2007 as the fruit of my love for all things design. Over the years, this love has grown from a hobby to a full-blown obsession. More recently, I’ve completely fallen in love with sewing. And through it, I have discovered a profound connection with my late mother. Although she is no longer here, her inspiration and undeniable influence live on in me. My journey into the world of design took its first steps during my second year of college as I converted from being a lost business major to an inspired graphic designer. I quickly forged a reputation as a thoughtful artist and an extremely meticulous designer. After working in the industry for several years, I decided it was finally time for me to branch off on my own. Sugar Rush Creative was born. Today, Sugar Rush Creative is a multifaceted studio, offering graphic design, photography and handcrafted sewn accessories.
Sugar Rush Creative
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the touch and feel of fabrics, the ever-changing landscape of nature and the creative people I surround myself with.

What is your favorite product to make?
I love to make my pleated clutches, just trying to find the right fabric combinations is a challenge I love taking on.
Sugar Rush Creative
How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Fun, hip and trendy.

In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
The best part about being an entrepreneur is doing something I’m really passionate about. It’s less like a job and more of a creative outlet.

If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
I would ask more questions before jumping into any major business decisions. That being said, I’ve become a better business person through the lessons I’ve learned. I’m grateful for the experiences even when they don’t turn out the way I hoped.

Sugar Rush CreativeAny advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting?
Do not be afraid to ask questions and seek advice from others who have been there before. I’ve only been a part of The Artisan Group for a short period now, but they have provided a wealth of information that I probably could not have gotten anywhere else.

What’s next? Any plans for the future?
My plan for the future is to eventually have my brand sold in boutiques nationwide.

Your contact information:
Name: Thuy Nguyen
Website/Shop: sugar-rush-creative.com/ & www.etsy.com/shop/sugarrushcreative
Facebook: facebook.com/sugarrushcreative
Twitter: @sugarrushcreatv
Blog: http://sugar-rush-creative.com/wordpress/

*** If you are a successful artisan with an online store and fabulous products and would like to be “In the Spotlight”, feel free to submit your info. ***

In the Spotlight: Baby Duck Soap Co

Today in the Spotlight we have Ms. Tanya Rasley, the talented artisan behind “Baby Duck Soap Co“.

We caught up with Tanya and asked her a few questions so you get to know her better.

What’s the story behind your company?
After my son Liam was born in 2011, I went from working insanely long hours to being fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom. I loved my new role as mom but wanted something more, something just for me. I started cooking more, gardening, reading, writing. Then I discovered soap making. It’s an addiction! I was making so much soap, we couldn’t use it fast enough. My husband Clay encouraged me to sell my soap on Etsy. From there, it was easy to come up with a name. Liam’s nickname has been Baby Duck from birth. He’s been my motivation and inspiration for so many things so the company name fell into place nicely. I opened my Etsy Shop on August 3,2012. Shortly thereafter I started selling at my local Farmers Market. I just recently launched my own website on March 2, 2013.

baby duck soap companyWhat inspires you?
Everything from the colors in nature to the actual scent of the fragrances inspire me. Pinterest is always a great resource for inspiration with all of the beautiful artwork, photography and colors. When I smell fragrances I see the colors that correspond to what I’m smelling. From there, it becomes easier for me to design my batch.

What is your favorite product to make?
Hands down, cold process soap. I have an addiction to watching the soap reach trace. It’s like Christmas morning after waiting 24 hour to cut it to see the finished product of something I designed from scratch. It’s so rewarding.

How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Colorful, quirky, fun.
baby duck soap
In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
Being able to do what I love by allowing me to raise my son at the same time. Nothing can replace the feeling of being able to spend time with him while I’m working.

If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
I would probably trust myself more. I kept making excuses to NOT do the local Farmers Market or to NOT open my Etsy shop. Once I actually took those risks, they weren’t as scary as I thought they’d be.

Any advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting?
Don’t put it off any longer. You don’t need a warehouse full of product to get started. Start small and build from there. Join similar interest groups from FB or around the Internet. I’ve found that other Soapers are amongst some of the warmest and most helpful people around. Lean on each other to build relationships and hone your craft.

babyducksoapwtg

What’s next? Any plans for the future?
I just rebranded the company so this year I’ll be adding brand specific soap sleeves and boxes for the butters and scrubs. I’m planning on adding a pet line and an expanded men’s line.

Hopefully within the next year or so I’ll have a retail location where I’ll be teaching soap making classes as well. Fingers crossed, knocking on wood for that one!!

Contact information:
Name: Tanya Rasley
Website/Shop: www.babyducksoap.com or www.babyducksoapco.etsy.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BabyDuckSoapCo
Twitter: @babyducksoap

*** If you are a successful artisan with an online store and fabulous products and would like to be “In the Spotlight”, feel free to submit your info. ***

In the Spotlight: Makin’ It Mama

Today we are featuring a talented artisan: Christa Wadekamper of Makin’ It Mama. Christa was very kind to answer some questions for our readers. Here is our interview:

What’s the story behind your company?
I welcomed my son, Oliver, in August 2011. Living in Minnesota, I realized he was going to need some warm hats for the upcoming winter. After searching online I decided I could easily crochet him a hat, which would be more in line with our budget at the time. After I made him a few hats and posted photos on Facebook I started getting requests from friends and family to make hats for them. My sister Cassie encouraged me to start an Esty shop, so that is what I did! Since then I have expanded into more than just hats, I now offer wide variety of crocheted items, a few sewn items, and I have just started a second shop for patterns.

What inspires you?
My son, nephews, and niece inspire my children’s items. Without my nephew asking for a giraffe hat I would have never had my best selling hat!

My sister, the “fashionista” of the family helps inspire my adult line. She models most of my adult products so if I don’t think she will like it I don’t make it.

What is your favorite product to make?
My favorite thing to make is custom orders. Most of my items are made to order so I make the same thing over and over again. Custom orders allow me to let my creativity flow and do something a little different.

My other favorite product to make is baby booties, they are so delicate and cute! I love to think of the little baby feet they are going to be on.

How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Unique, Colorful, and Cozy

In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
For me, the best part of being an entrepreneur is being able to be a work at home mom. My dream growing up was always to run some sort of business and be home for my children, I am happy to say I am now doing both.

If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
The only thing I would have done differently was write down my patterns! I can’t tell you how many times I made something and then have to duplicate it from memory because I was sure I would remember exactly how I did it!

Any advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting?
Just know it takes a lot of time and effort. If you are starting a business online you will spend hours on the computer. Don’t think you can just make your website and the customers will come.

What’s next? Any plans for the future?
My future plans are to continue adding patterns to my new shop. I love what I make and would love for others to enjoy making them as much as I do.

glovesmakinitmamaContact information:
Name: Christa Wadekamper
Website/Shop: www.makinitmama.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MakinItMama
Twitter: https://twitter.com/makinitmama

*** If you are a successful artisan with an online store and fabulous products and would like to be “In the Spotlight”, feel free to submit your info. ***

In the Spotlight: Shellyz Creations

Today in the spotlight, we have Shelly Zink, the artisan behind Shellyz Creations.

We caught up with Shelly and asked her a few questions so you get to know her better. Here is what she said:

What’s the story behind your company?
Shellyz Creations was simply an outgrowth of my need to be creative, paired with an idea to help get me and my daughter organized! We both had jewelry everywhere you can imagine – hangers in the closet, stands, door knobs, etc. It was out of control. When she and her husband moved in with us last fall, we kind of set out on a mission to figure something better out. As I was out one day looking around and brainstorming, I saw a curtain rod with moving hooks, and the rest is history! I came home, made a prototype for both of us, and found it worked well with a little tweaking. My daughter took some pictures and posted them on her facebook and showed it to friends. When she went for a hair appointment, one of the girls in the salon asked about it, and invited me to be part of an arts/crafts show. I hadn’t really thought of selling the jewelry boxes until then, but decided to do it. The response was really wonderful, and many of my friends started requesting them for themselves and to give as Christmas gifts! I couldn’t believe it, but it was so very exciting to make something practical and beautiful and see women respond in such a positive way! I decided to open an Etsy shop, and continue to look for avenues to expand my business and reach more people, and it has been wonderfully exciting. I am meeting some amazing people, and everyone is offering help, ideas, etc. I am very excited to be part of the “handmade” community!

shellyz creationsWhat inspires you?
I am inspired by simplicity and beauty, especially when they are combined. I started simplifying my life several years ago, and continue to look for ways to do so. I love to organize and especially help others get organized! Life can be so chaotic, and helping someone change their home into a sanctuary for them and their family is very rewarding. I love color, and seek to incorporate it into my work as well as my home, to be a source of comfort and of fun! And creating something from nothing is the most exciting of all. My husband has been amazed as I have learned to use power tools, come up with designs, build a custom booth to show my work, etc. I was a stay at home mom who also homeschooled for many years, and my creativity needed to be put on hold for the most part. It is so nice to be creating again, watching something take form and become a work of art people appreciate and enjoy!

shellyz creationsWhat is your favorite product to make?
I only have a few basic designs, but my favorite is the new jewelry cabinet with the wavy frame – it’s in fun colors, and just has a great feel to it. It starts out the most boring to me, and is transformed into the most beautiful, especially when it’s antiqued!

How would you describe your style in 3 words?
My style in three words – hmmm, that’s a hard one! I guess it would be fun and functional, but with a touch of elegance.

In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
I can’t describe the feeling that came with my first Etsy customer – the idea that someone would want what I had made, and would be willing to pay for it! It was fun when my friends wanted them, but didn’t compare to having people across the country choose to trust me by purchasing my product from a small picture on their computer screen! It’s even better when people buy in person and express how much they love the products, just where they’ll put it or how they can’t wait to share it with a friend. This is the best part of being an entrepreneur – having full control over everything and seeing it from raw materials all the way through to the customer’s smile!!!

If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
I think if I had it to do over again, the only thing I would change is to start sooner. I really love everything about what I am doing, and am so grateful to have the opportunity to do it. I’ve been missing out until now!

shellyz creationsWhat’s next? Any plans for the future?
Right now, I am just trying to get my name out there and grow the business. I would love to have the problem of not being able to fill all the orders on my own, and needing an apprentice, or my own workshop instead of just my garage! I would like to find other ways of helping people, especially women, organize and simplify their lives, and am always considering new ideas and designs toward that end. I would really like to grow the product line to include other areas!

Contact Information:
Name: Shelly Zink
Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/ShellyzCreations
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Shellyz-Creations/463739460340708
Twitter – @Shelzk

*** If you are a successful artisan with an online store and fabulous products and would like to be “In the Spotlight”, feel free to submit your info. ***