For today's Seller Spotlight, we're delighted to introduce you to Norah of YourDailyJewels. She's a real sweetheart and has a really terrific shop full of colorful, stylish and affordable jewelry. Her story is full of creative inspiration and positive energy. Her work as a pediatric physical therapist also inspires her jewelrymaking--read on to find out more about Norah!
Please tell us about yourself!
Norah: My mind is always working; I am continually coming up with images of new ways to combine components to make something new. Being self-taught, I make it a point to learn something new every day so I continue to grow as a jewelry designer. I usually get ideas in the middle of the night, and then I cannot sleep because I am so excited to try it in the morning. My creative process is always at work. I have never been in a creative rut!
How my customer feels when wearing my jewelry is foremost in my mind when I am creating. Therefore, quality and comfort are my first priority. Next is color. This is “my thing.” I use as much color as possible in my collections. Lastly is cost. Keeping my costs down is the third component that will allow me to reach my goal. I want women coming to me for their “Daily Jewels.”
How did you get started making things?
At age three, I made a necklace out of one of my mom’s stockings, full of twists and little knots, and I proudly wore it for days, maybe weeks. Of course, it was received with accolades from my very patient family. I have loved jewelry ever since. “Love” is not the right word, really. From Harry Winston to the Dollar store, jewelry is intriguing to me. Wearing it intrigues me, owning it, learning about it, and touching it intrigues me.
The only thing I do not like about jewelry is just looking at it in a window. This is very hard for me. Beautiful jewelry that I cannot wear simply hurts my feelings! Now, I make all the jewelry I want and I love creating it as much as I love wearing it!
I have to give credit where credit is due. My patients got me started in making jewelry. I am a pediatric physical therapist and I work with children, some of whom may never walk or ever speak. However, they all smile. Moreover, being kids, they all respond to bribes. In order to “buy” some compliance during sometimes-unpleasant therapies, I started making little bracelets with the beads I collected since I was their age. With every bracelet, I told them funny stories about the beads and they loved receiving these bracelets in return for a job well done.
What inspires you?
Well, especially these days, I am crazy for the color of the ever-changing natural colors in the beautiful Hudson Valley where I live. I lived in NYC for more than twenty years and my aesthetic then was much more grey-scale. My art, my design, and my fashion were stark and minimalist.
What are some key things you have learned since starting your Etsy shop that might be helpful to new Etsy sellers?
You have to decide if you are going to really have a go at building a business, or whether you are happy having a fun hobby. If you are in it to seriously build a business, you have to spend at least as much time promoting as you do creating. Like any business, new or established, if people do not know about you, no matter how great you are, they cannot buy from you. And, like any brick and mortar business, the competition is intense and getting more so, as the Internet matures.
Do you sell your items in other venues besides Etsy?
I am mainly an online business. My website will be live next month. I love selling on Etsy. I have made great friendships and relationships. I only sell at events where I have the opportunity to raise funds for an underserved organization. This week I am selling at an event to raise funds for a local, struggling, therapeutic horseback-riding program.
Describe your ideal creative work environment.
My ideal work environment is when my workspace is neat and organized. This is a rare event and does not last long. All I need are my canine assistants nearby for company. I have two tiny, (5lb) rescue dogettes. They make me endlessly happy.
Are you a member of any Etsy teams, or, do you have a close connection/collaboration with any other Etsy sellers?
Oh yes, I highly suggest joining a team, and finding an active team. I wrote an article for Handmadeology on this very topic. I am a member of The JETs (Jewelry on Etsy Team), and I attribute much of my shop’s success and all of my fun on Etsy to them.
I am also a member of TeamEpe, Etsy Project Embrace. The team is committed to donating five percent of Etsy proceeds to The American Cancer Society or The American Hospice Association. This team is a strong support network for anyone going through a catastrophic illness, and those who care for the sick. There is a team for everyone on Etsy. You just have to know what you want from a team and put in the time to find the right fit.
Define your style/aesthetic.
My intent is to make glamorous, colorful jewelry my customer can wear everyday. Much of my jewelry looks a lot more expensive than it is. I am known for my use of color and I work hard to source out the best stones for the money. I use some AAA quality gemstones, However, I find that some stones of “lesser quality” have equal beauty for other reasons; be it vibrancy or natural facets or flaws. In addition, using gold-filled metal and not pure gold is the greatest tool in making affordable jewelry. It looks and wears like gold at a fraction of the price. If I keep creating affordable jewelry that makes a woman feel pretty, I will become the place where women go for their “Daily Jewels.”
Thanks so much, Norah! Be sure to check out her shops, YourDailyJewels, and PJClarke.