Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DIY: Selling on Etsy, An Art Teacher's How To (bonus: giveaway!)

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!
Just who are you and where do you teach art?  

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...
Morgan Garcia!

Cowpoke Paintbrush!

If you lovely ladies would email me your home address (cassieart75@gmail.com) I'll have these goodies shipped your way soon!

Thanks for participating, y'all!



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27 comments:

  1. I love how you are always promoting peers, Cassie! And, way to go, Mary Beth! Your work is awesome! I especially love the Giant Crystal Necklace. Art teachers can never have too many statement necklaces... it's like wearing a work of art! I look forward to keeping up with your work on Instagram!

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  2. The feather bracelets are so pretty. And the whale ring is great! I actually gave a friend her banjo necklace a few years ago. Following on IG- lightingtheworldonfire

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  3. I LOVE the hexagon statement necklace!!

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  4. It's so nice to see someone doing well on etsy, as an owner of another now abandoned shop, I am really happy some artisans are making it work!! Love the jewelry, my favorite is the airplane necklace, personalizing it makes is even more rad!

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  5. The moon rise necklace is incredible!

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  6. All the arrow jewelry! I'm a Pi Beta Phi and that's our symbol! I also love the cinder block necklaces!!!!

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  7. I just love the simplicity of the moon ring

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  8. I thought I recognized one of the pictures, Mary Beth is a co-worker of mine in this big district of ours ( even if she doesn't know me! ). I simply adore the Amazonite Bronze Block Necklace as well, stunning!

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  9. Love the banjo bracelet and arrow bracelet. Just opened my shop last week and I am still trying to balance working full-time (lesson planning, grading, etc) and working on my shop. I have not had a lot of success yet with taking pictures that I feel are good enough to post though!

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  10. Banjo earrings... I'm in love!

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  11. Wow, great jewelry indeed!! I really, really, REALLY love the banjo bracelet!

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  12. I followed iadornu on Instagram. I love the whale tie bar-- I almost bought one for my husband for our wedding (he owns a kayaking with whales tour company) but he went with a bow tie so I decided not to get it.

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  13. Oh my goodness, I love your dainty pieces! The silver bird bracelet, and the moonstone inside a moon ring, are beautiful! The whale ring is majestic, love!

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  14. Love the cuff bracelets! Sunshine and Struggle :) I also teach elem. and we have a business with honeybees! We have 2 etsy sites but I fail to keep them looking awesome....www.algomahacres.etsy.com and www.melissahronkin.etsy.com We are doing the holiday market circuit now, though....so every weekend we have sales. We also have our winery license and make mead! Enjoy Thanksgiving everyone...Cheers! Melissa www.algomahacreshoney.com

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  15. I love that she uses recycled and sustainable silver. I think the Silver Bird with sterling silver chain is dainty and delightful with details. Thanks for sharing this Etsy store. https://www.etsy.com/shop/iadornu?page=7

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  16. I can't decide between the T-Rex Little Punches ring and the Bicycle necklace! Love the shop, I'm saving it to my favorites!

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  17. I truly love the turquoise trifecta ring set. They are a simple beauty that I am attracted to. Beautifully done!

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  18. Wow, so much variety and beauty! I had a metal-smithing emphasis when I was an undergrad in Art Education. I sincerely value the work and creativity of jewelers! I love the half-moon necklace. Looking forward to seeing new things on instagram!

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  19. The Wanderlust airplane charm/necklace is my fave ;> thanks for sharing this Cassie!

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  20. I adore the Moonstone 14K Gold ring! Instagram follower- jaclynfett

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  21. I love all of your moonstone pieces, but especially the Moonstone Shadow Silver Ring!

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  22. the moon rings for sure!

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  23. Christy12/01/2014

    So cute! I really love the personal cupid necklace.

    christy dot davis at knoxschools dot org

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  24. I love the whale ring!!

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  25. I just love her moon shine necklace! So beautiful & inspiring, especially since I am an art teacher myself who's goal is to balance creating an etsy shop with teacher! Thanks for such a great post! :)

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  26. You're right. Etsy doesn't just sit around and do magic. A lot of people still think of the net as this kind of contraption that will just process your command and do your bidding. But it's never that. It may have started as a software, as a network among computers, but it has evolved into a space, a kind of geographic area. And spaces need us to fill and make something else out of it. One way of course is by filling up this landscape with our products and our brands as much as we can. Good luck!

    Chris Hatcher @ Red Stick SEO

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  27. I think a lot of people see Etsy as an easy way to make money, and not an actual business that takes hard work to grow! The jewelry showcased in this interview really highlights the drive and effort that goes behind creative endeavours. My favourite piece would have to be the airplane necklace – I think I’ll order one for myself.

    Blanca Hoffman @ Marketing theProduct

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)