Today's featured seller is Sweet Freedom (http://www.zibbet.com/SweetFreedom). She makes beautiful jewelry and sells on Zibbet.
How did you get started on Zibbet? Where did your shop name come from?
Before I began designing jewelry full time in 2007, I had worked for many years in a corporate job that stifled my creativity, and was a really bad fit for me. I finally decided to leave that environment and do what I wanted to do, and "Sweet Freedom Designs" was born of the instant freedom I felt!
I sold online for years on another venue, but after a series of small "creative differences" with its management, push came to shove in October, 2013, when that venue decided to "redefine handmade" in a way that I could not support or be party to. Zibbet seemed like a good fit, so here I am!
You have beautiful jewelry. Where do you get your inspiration for them?
Thanks! I find inspiration in different places:
Colors: either the colors of the beads I'm working with, or colors I've spotted somewhere around me.
Textures: I love creating complicated statement pieces, like http://www.zibbet.com/SweetFreedom/artwork?artworkId=1479951, where I was inspired by both the colors AND the textures in the raku cabochon, and paired soft green eyelash yarn with the hard, volcanic appearance and feel of the raku; and
http://www.zibbet.com/SweetFreedom/artwork?artworkId=1479931, where I heated the copper to make it soft, curled and folded it, then placed soft copper mesh inside as a counterpoint. I like playing with different textures, and with unexpected textures. And it's fun to take beads and actually CREATE textures with them, like this necklace: http://www.zibbet.com/SweetFreedom/artwork?artworkId=1479964
Shapes and Patterns: I love playing with different shapes and patterns, like the stars in this design: http://www.zibbet.com/SweetFreedom/artwork?artworkId=1479974 and the Greek Keys in this bracelet: http://www.zibbet.com/SweetFreedom/artwork?artworkId=1479962; and, of course, Hearts - I have always been fascinated with hearts, and they find their way into a lot of my designs.
Who are your favorite suppliers? I go to gem shows a couple of times a year, and purchase from various vendors. I like to hand pick my beads and findings (if I don't make them myself), so I rarely purchase supplies online, although I have cultivated friendships with a couple of extremely talented lampwork and raku artisans over the years, and often use their beads and cabochons in my designs.
I make a lot of my own beads, findings, and components, everything from enameled beads and findings to metal pieces to dichroic glass to beadwoven toggles and beads - it's fun to be able to create the perfect piece you need for a design! My handmade jewelry supplies are available on Zibbet, too: http://www.zibbet.com/SweetSupplies
What is the secret to your pictures?
I have a popup light tent with 3 powerful photography spotlights (purchased years ago on eBay) - I use this for ALL my pictures unless I am photographing a piece on my life size mannequin (since she won't fit in the light tent). I have spent hours online reading and trying different tips for photos, and am still learning! I use the macro and supermacro settings on my camera, and take multiple shots of each pic, varying the exposure up and down to ensure (hopefully) that when I get to the editing phase, I'll have the right light for each shot. I probably take 45 to 50 shots, minimum, for each listing. I used to take a lot more, until I discovered the white balance menu (and how to use it) on the camera - this has allowed me to get the pretty white backgrounds I prefer, which previously had always looked either grey or yellow.
Do you take custom orders? I do a LOT of custom work in my B&M bead shop, where I also sell my jewelry. It's so easy to walk around the shop with the customer, and choose beads, findings, etc, and talk about the desired result, get measurements, and gauge expectations.
Do you sell outside of Zibbet? If so, Where? I sell at my B&M bead shop (YaYa Beads, Augusta GA)
Any last words for the reading audience? (ie, words of wisdom for a new crafter/seller, anything you want to say about your products)
My designs tend to one of a kind; I enjoy making statement pieces, and purchase (or make) my unusual focal pieces individually, so my designs don't lend themselves to being recreated. I design for myself, and I don't really think I have one particular style. I don't think I could be happy creating multiple copies of a design - I get bored too easily! My design philosophy is "make what you like; if you don't like what you're doing, move on!"
Thanks for taking the time to sit down and answer our questions. You can find Sweet Freedom and her wonderful jewelry at http://www.zibbet.com/SweetFreedom.