Today's featured artisan is Jelena from hARTSenseDesign (http://www.zibbet.com/hARTSenseDesign). She makes beautiful jewelry in her South Dakota home.
1. How did you get started on Zibbet?
A. I joined Zibbet in late October 2013, after I decided to close my long running shop (since Spring 2009) on another e-commerce venue due to certain changes at that venue I felt I couldn't support. I heard about Zibbet from other sellers who felt that this site had much to offer in terms of integrity of vision and quality of customer service. For the first couple of months, I only had 1 item in my Zibbet shop, practically serving as a "place holder" while I was getting ready to migrate my other items. I only filled my shop at the end of December, and am currently working on creating a unified branding across the sites I sell on.
2. I love your jewelry. How did you start making it?
A. By education, I am a textile designer and used to do quite a bit of fine art (mostly acrylics on canvas) and painting on silk wearables. After I moved to an area where I couldn't find anyone to do steam color setting on my silk pieces, and after seeing that the only art supplies shop in town didn't carry much in the way of stretched canvas, I decided to switch to a more "portable" craft. I apprenticed with a local jeweler for a couple of years, and then set out making my wire wrapped, hand knotted and strung pieces. Metal stamping and wire knitting came later, when I wanted to expand my skills.
3. Who are your favorite suppliers?
I love shopping with Rio Grande. Their products are high quality, customer service is excellent, and they have a program where I can send in my precious metal scrap for refining and receive store credit for the value of scrap I sent. Other suppliers I shop occasionally include Nina Designs, a pearl supplier from New Jersey whose family owns a pearl farm in China, and a small gemstone supplier from Israel.
4. You have such beautiful pictures. What is your secret?
A. My secret is my husband. He is my photographer. I don't know much about photography, but he does. He even built his own light box to help with photographing my items. Of course, I often do "post-production" on his photos by editing them with the help of photo editing software.
5. Do you take custom orders?
A. I used to do a lot of custom orders in the first 4 years of selling online. Currently, I am not accepting any custom orders because we moved recently, and our house - including the area I use for my studio - is still in quite a bit of disarray as we are finishing interior improvements. Once we are all settled in, I will probably go back to offering my customers an option to order custom pieces.
6. Do you sell outside of Zibbet? If so, Where?
A. Yes. I have two other shops online. One is on Square Market https://squareup.com/market/hart-sense-design where I offer higher end, mostly one-of-a-kind jewelry and a few wedding hair accessories, and the other one is on Goodsmiths www.goodsmiths.com/hart-sense-design where I sell discounted and discontinued jewelry styles, and am planning to soon add a line of hand knitted accessories. I also sell locally on consignment, and currently have a few bracelets at The Gift Shop @ The Dahl Arts Center here in Rapid City, SD.
7. Any sales coming up?
A. I only have a basic account here on Zibbet, so cannot offer sales or coupons directly through my shop. However, if your readers are interested in one (or more) of my pieces, they can enter code JENSTANGLED in a message to me when they check out, and I will refund them 10% of the purchased item(s) price through PayPal.
8. Any last words for the reading audience?
A. One thing I have learned after all these years making and selling jewelry online, at craft shows, and on consignment is that the crafter needs to believe in him/herself and his/her product. There will be a lot of mean spirited people and/or detractors one will encounter on this road, but one must not let that deter him/her from following his/her passion. Also, sticking to one's principles in everything one does is important, and it will become even more so in the future because integrity in the business world is rapidly declining.
Last but not least, those who want to know me on a more personal level, including the way I am decorating my new house, the food I cook, and places I visit can follow me on my personal blog at http://hartsd.wordpress.com or they can follow both me and my business on Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+HartSD (personal page)
https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/101757742323024625131 (business page)
Thank you so much, Jelena. If you have any questions, or want to see more of hARTSenseDesign, please feel free to stop by her shop!