Moon Shadow Rings, here.
I believe that just about every artist, art teacher, crafter and maker-of-many-a-thing has toyed with the idea of selling on Etsy. I mean, it's every creator's dream to share their work, have people take note and, best of all, make some spare coin (you know, for buying even more craft suppliezzz). But, if you've been down Etsy Avenue, you know it's not so simple as listing your stuff and raking in the dough. It's serious (and sometimes no-sales-for-weeks/soul-crushing) work. Which is why you find so many abandoned shops on the site (including my very own belt shop, ahem). All that aside, it can be done. Today I'd like to introduce you to one art teacher who is also a super successful Etsy seller. Meet Mary Beth Heishman!
My name is Mary Beth Heishman and I teach elementary school art in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tell us a little bit about how you got started creating jewelry. Have you always done it or is this a kinda new thing for you?
I was always in awe of my Grandmother's collection of gems and this really fueled my passion. I have been creating jewelry since I was a child. I used to make friendship bracelets in grade school and in high school I made hemp jewelry. I was always selling and trading my creations with friends. Later in college I even worked at a local bead shop. I would balance painting with jewelry making. Right now jewelry making is all I do after I teach during the day.
Personalized Plane Necklace, here.
What lead you to open an etsy shop?
At an art inservice, haha, I was talking to a pal about starting an online website. She mentioned etsy and the rest is history. I was afraid to go solo as how would I generate my own traffic to my site, so etsy was perfect.
Life Cuff Bracelet, here.
How long have you been an etsy shop opener?
I have had my etsy shop since 2007. In its infancy it was a hodgepodge mess. I sold art, prints, hand painted vintage records, purses and jewelry. It wasn't until 2010 when I had started fine tuning my shop and just making jewelry. That is when I started selling more and had great buyer feedback which fueled my desire to want to make more.
My personal fave, The Amazonite Bronze Block Necklace influenced by mid-century cinder blocks, here.
Your shop is very well stocked full of beautiful pieces. And you've had a ton of successful sales! Tell us your secret: How do you find the time to teach, create AND sell on etsy (which entails photographing the piece, writing a description, shipping and costumer-service dilemmas)?
Haha, I sometimes question myself on this. I do not know the secret, maybe it is having a loving and supportive husband. My husband and I work together this year (I teach art, he teaches 5th grade math). We take turns making healthy meals (BIG meals) so we have plenty of left overs for lunch and an additional dinner. Food is very important to us, I may not have time to workout but we eat very well (healthy overall).
Personalized Banjo Bracelet, here.
We have loving and supportive friends too that have always encouraged and supported my art and jewelry!
Hexagon Statement Necklace, here.
As for product photos, I have a little mini light set up and white plastic backdrop that I shoot pics on. My favorite is to take model photos with friend's in the nearby desert canyon. I usually do this all after school. Although I am behind on 8 new pieces that I need to photograph and post.
As far as customer service, I check my emails when I wake up in the morning and after I get off of work, so far I keep up that way. My customers are always so sweet and lovely (I feel they too have a love for the handmade and crafted), dilemmas are few.
Whale Tie Bar, here.
Are you actually a robot?
I wish, I need to upgrade my operating system, I am getting old. haha, jk.Can you tell us what a (totally ideal) teaching/creating/selling on etsy day looks like?
I have taught for 14 years and it wasn't until 2011 that my shop has picked up consistent sales. I am always working during the work week, I wake up, walk our awesome dog, go to school, teach all day, come home and work on making jewelry until 7:30/8 pm every week night. I usually work a full day over the weekend on custom orders. During the holidays I start evening jewelry work until 9/10pm. I am very thankful for the winter holiday as this is still order time but a few days before December 25th it slows down and I can unplug and relax. I love it though. I love teaching my little artists and then making my own works in the evening. So far I feel balanced.
If you could give advice to someone who was considering opening an etsy shop, what would that be? (I know, where to start, right?!)
Really it was all trial and error for me. I had a hodgepodge shop and when I had feedback on jewelry that was the direction I went and stayed. I do not know if that is the way to do it but it worked for me. Ask yourself, what is your goal? Have a consistent product that you can replicate if the demand is there. Have fun with your etsy and try to stand out from the rest, be one of a kind.
Thank you so much, Mary Beth, for the fun and informative interview! It's always inspiring to hear from working artists, dontcha you think?
Especially generous ones. Check out this giveaway, y'all!
Mary Beth is GIVING AWAY this ring! Here's all you have to do to enter to win (it's worth $40, kids! How awesomely nice is Mary Beth?!):
1. Leave a comment below telling us your favorite piece in Mary Beth's shop IadornU.
2. Follow Mary Beth on Instagram @iadornu. This way you can keep up with all of her creations AND more giveaways!
AND THAT'S IT! Winner will be announced one week from today!
In honor of Thanksgiving and all that I'm grateful for (that'd be you guys, thanks always for popping in and reading/commenting), I've decided to draw TWO names for the Crayola Giveaway! Congrats to...
If you lovely ladies would email me your home address (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'll have these goodies shipped your way soon!
Thanks for participating, y'all!