Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Featured Diva Interview: With Cherie From Glitterbug Originals

*A Note From DDIB: We've decided to post two Featured Diva Interviews on our blog today and there are many more to be posted in the coming days and months. Right now, let's meet Cherie. She is a very talented lady who creates the most adorable jewelry you've ever seen! (we especially love Cherie's cupcake earrings...soooo cute!) Hope you'll enjoy the interview...

Name: Cherie Smith

Etsy Shop title is: Glitterbug Originals

Etsy Shop url: http://www.GlitterbugOriginals.etsy.com/

Tell us a little about yourself:

I'm a 44 year old stay-at-home mom in Southeast Missouri, married to a great guy for 11 years. We have one daughter, Sophie, who's 8 and calls herself Baby Glitterbug--she's my apprentice and helps me decide what to make next. :-)

I've always loved jewelry, the sparklier and more colorful the better, since I was very little, and can remember begging my grandma to let me JUST LOOK at her big pile of beaded necklaces......of course I couldn't resist trying on a few when her back was turned! he he he! I'd been collecting jewelry, both vintage and modern for quite some time when I discovered lampwork jewelry a few years ago. I bought a lot of pieces, but became very interested in learning to make them myself about 2 years ago, and have never looked back. I love everything about it: searching for the best, most beautiful lampwork art glass beads I can find, developing relationships with the bead artists and working with them to make custom shapes and colors for my designs, making the jewelry, and getting to know my customers, many of whom I absolutely adore and am great friends with.

I've participated in a couple of art shows and have sold my pieces in a few local shops, but I've really concentrated on my Etsy store up 'til now. I would be interested in doing more art shows, though.

Give us a description of your business and the items that you offer:

This is strictly a home business! I've claimed one of the bedrooms in our house and call it my office. I have a big old oak desk with my PC + printer and other business-related stuff, and a work table (nearly buried in beads, crystals, and other jewelry-making accoutrements) where I both make my jewelry and pack it to ship off to the new owners.

What are your bestsellers? Your specialty? Most popular items?

Well, 99.9% of my things are made with art glass beads and Swarovski crystals and pearls. I do use some gemstones, too, and also freshwater pearls. I guess I really specialize in earrings......I make necklaces and bracelets as well, but because they don't sell as quickly as the earrings, I just don't make as many of them. Some really popular items right now are the Sugar Skull earrings--I think because Day of the Dead and Halloween are coming up soon. I sell lots of earrings made with beautiful floral beads, and also the cupcake earrings are popular.

What inspired you to start your own indie business?

I've always been sort of "crafty" and have done lots of different projects--I love to experiment with cooking, to sew, and I love refinishing and recovering old furniture (just simple things--I can't reupholster anyone's couch!). But I just love the glass beads so much--they fascinate me and I can't seem to get enough of them or stop playing with them! :-) I didn't really get into this intending for it to be a business--only a hobby. But it's an expensive hobby--there are so many components that go into a single piece and the best prices are in quantity buys--so I started making a few pieces to sell, hoping to support my own jewelry habit! And when they started to sell, I was hooked. :-)

As an independent business woman, what keeps you motivated?

My daughter, for one thing! She loves the jewelry as much as I do, and is always so enthusiastic when I show her the newest bead arrivals and my finished pieces. And then my customers do, as well. It's always such a compliment to me when someone buys one of my pieces, and then writes to tell me how much they're enjoying wearing them. I LOVE the idea that I've made something that other people have worn and loved. :-)

What do you believe makes a business successful?

I think that good customer service is by far the most important thing about being in business. I try really hard to please my customers. I also think that it's really important to believe in yourself and what you're doing. I make the kind of jewelry that I'd like to wear, myself. And I try to treat my customers the way I'd like to be treated.

Do you have any specific goals/plans for the future?

Honestly, I'm still taking this one day at a time! I'd love to have a brick and mortar shop, but it takes me quite a while to finish a single piece, and I'm not sure I could pay the rent on the income I'd bring in. :-) So as far as goals are concerned, I think that the most I'm hoping for at this point is that more people become aware of my Etsy store, and that more people will come to value handmade goods. And then there are new techniques and skills that I'd like to learn. I live in a small town and there aren't really any classes being give on beadwork. I'm completely self-taught, and expect that any new things I'll learn I'll have to teach myself or learn through books and the internet.

Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for women out there who may be considering starting their own business on Etsy?

First of all, research the business of what you want to make--who else is making it and selling it (on Etsy and elsewhere)? Is there anyone? If so, what are their prices and how much are they selling? And then most importantly: How can you make yours different/better? Once you're clear on all that, then go for it! Etsy is a wonderful website. My experiences there have been 99.9999% positive.

Tell us the best way to relax after a busy day of work..

I love spending time with my family, and I love to shop! But neither are particularly relaxing. ;-) My favorite way to relax is to plop onto the sofa with a good book. :-) I also listen to a lot of audio books while I'm working--much more interesting than the tv or radio. :-)

While growing up, who was your role model? Who impressed and inspired you most?

My mother was a wonderful seamstress and I'm so glad I was able to watch her make lovely things and be taught that I could, too. I guess that's kind of boring, but it's the truth. :-)

Give us three (3) words that best describe YOU:



Happy! :-)

Give us one (1) word that best describes your business:


What is your favorite quote, line or saying?

"Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did." H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

Excellent choice for an interview! As I wrote in my feedback on my first Glitterbug purchase, "When I become Queen of the Universe, I shall appoint Cherie Smith as my Exclusive Royal Jeweler. Until then, I suppose I'll have to let the rest of you peons have a chance to purchase Glitterbug Originals for yourselves. Take the opportunity while you still can!"

Amanda said...

Very Cool...I love Cheries' earrings and she is a wonderful customer to have too....nice to learn a bit more about her!!!


Vivien said...

Wow, she has such beautiful things!


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