Monday, March 30, 2009

Featured Diva Interview ~ with Shi from Shi Jewels

Introducing our newest Featured Diva...

Name: Shi.
Etsy Shop: Shi Jewels ~ Jewelry for the Goddess in You

Tell us a little about yourself:

I'm a 37 year old mother of twin teenage boys who are seniors in high school. I'm often a lap to 2 Great Danes and 3 cats. I started making jewelry after two things happened to me, an injury from a car accident, and one of my favorite bracelets broke. I work part time at a local credit union and at night I live my dream by creating jewelry.

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

I make jewelry using precious metals and natural stones. My hope is that my jewelry brings out the ever present beauty of the Goddess found within each of us. Representing femininity, beauty and the divine of being a Woman. Nature has provided us with such a wonderful gift and creating these pieces is just my way of showing my appreciation for them.

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

Though I don't state it in my store, most of my pieces are OOAK, so I don't often make duplicates. That being said, I don't necessarily have a "bestseller" so to speak, but the items that sell the most are earrings and necklaces. My specialty is creating pieces for a specific purpose using the metaphysical properties of the stones that I work with.

Are your items targeted toward a specific age group?

I'd like to think that all ages can wear my jewelry, but I understand that everyone's tastes are different so that's why I offer the ability to create custom pieces as well. I also offer a "Petite Line" for those of us who love to adorn our ears but don't necessarily want a lot of length or weight. I've just recently sold my last piece so that'll be my next project.

What inspired you to start your own indie business?

After a car accident that left me with a lower back injury and an extreme cut in hours at work, I needed something to try and supplement my loss of income. I'm not even sure how I found Etsy, I think I was just browsing the internet and found it. It has been the best thing that's ever happened to me.

As an independent business woman, what keeps you motivated?

You mean aside from the stockpile of gemstones that keep spilling over my workspace? *smiles* I love what I do, I love the beauty of a finished piece, and the smile or the appreciation of the person who's just received it in the mail. I'm a woman who loves shiny baubles, it's not hard to stay motivated with so many pretty things surrounding me.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement thus far?

Personally, my greatest achievement has been raising two accomplished and very caring young men. Business wise I'd have to say my greatest achievement has been reaching 100 sales right before my 1 year Etsy Anniversary. I can't even tell you how happy I was...I know as soon as I saw it I did a happy dance!

What has been your biggest challenge as a business woman?

I would say organizing my time. Between my day job, family and my jewelry business I've really had to sit down and figure out what will work for me. With my back I can't do things for long periods of time so I have to be mindful of what takes priority. It wasn't easy at first, but I think I finally have a system down that works not only for me, but my family as well.

What do you believe makes a business successful?

I'd say the most important thing that you can do is customer service. I can't emphasize this enough! How you treat your customers can definitely make or break you. If you as a seller and business owner are pleasant to deal with and go above and beyond to make sure your customers are happy, they will Remember, Return and Refer...I like to call this the 3 R's (these are the three things that I always keep in mind). Remember that they are contributing to the success of your business so be thankful, be courteous, be polite and make sure that they know how appreciative you are that they chose "You" to purchase from.

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

Well I've just started working with my torch and trying my hand at soldering, so hopefully I'll have some fun new pieces to list soon. I'm also working on getting an actual studio in my house, this will allow me to have one central location for all of my tools, supplies and packaging materials. I'm so excited at the prospect of having my own space to create.

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

If you love what you do, it'll be successful. Don't get down on yourself if your items don't sell right away, stay vigilant in listing new items or relisting old ones. Fine tune your techniques and create away! It won't always be easy, but if you keep striving to reach your goal it'll happen.

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

Snuggled up on the couch, under a warm blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book.

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

I'd have to say my mom. She is always so creative. The one thing I remember most is, growing up we didn't have a lot of money, and we moved to a new town where everyone wore the top of the line clothes. Fearful that I'd be made fun of, my mom went to some garage sales gathered some of those name brands, bought material, duplicated them and attached the tags to the new pieces of clothing. No one at school knew the difference! She never wanted us to go without, so she did what she had to do to make sure we didn't, even if it meant she went without. We got our drivers licenses at the same time, she even scored better than I did and 5 years ago she finally became an American citizen. She's an amazing woman, and the absolute definition of a mom. I love her so much and I will always be greatful for her.

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


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


What is your favorite quote, line or saying?

I get knocked down, but I get up again, never gonna keep me down.
I can't even remember the name of the band that sings that, but I think the song is called Tubthumping..haha

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