I'm very thankful that she agreed to be a part of this little feature. I had great fun reading her answers, and I'm sure you will, too.
Tell a little about yourself.
My name is Nicole. I'm 30 years old and live on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio with my fiance and our mini-menagerie of animals. I spent ten years of my life working as a graphic designer and photographer, which has always been and will always be a passion of mine. The most 'glorious' days of that career were spent designing for the Cleveland Indians and shooting for a local business magazine. I 'quit my day job' a little over a year ago to pursue my jewelry business, which has worked out better than I could have imagined. I've also been a dancer most of my life and continue to dance and teach today. I have no free time, but when I used to, I spent it rock climbing, shooting, and mostly working on overwhelming projects around the house. I work about 16 hours a day and usually sleep less than 4, and I don't really know what happens to the rest, but I hope to figure it out someday.
When did you open your Etsy shop?
What inspired the name of your shop?
A love of lilies (of all kinds) and Ella Fitzgerald. Both words alone are beautiful names so I thought together they would be even better. I think it just rolls off the tongue. I tossed around so many different ideas but I always knew deep down that was it. People often think it's my name, and I'll admit, I don't always correct them. :)
Do you have any advice for fledgeling shop owners such as myself?
Be patient and persistent. I can't stress that enough. I know people always say it, but success takes time and hard work. I think too many people look for immediate results or get frustrated when things don't happen quickly, so they slack in their efforts. You can't give up, not even for one day, and it may take months, but if you work hard enough at it, you'll make it happen.
Do you have a blog?
What was the reason for you to start a blog?
Cause all the cool kids were doing it. :)
Really, it seemed like the thing to do, but honestly, when I first started it, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I remember staring at the blank screen thinking, "Ok, what do I do now?!" And, actually, that was just over a year ago.
I looked at it as a free marketing tool that I could use to my advantage. It just took me a little while to figure out the best way to do that, but I'm really happy with the direction I have gone with it. I blog daily and am proud of the following I have built up. It's a great place for me to share new projects, random thoughts, etc, but I get the most satisfaction about using it to promote other artists and shop owners, like myself.
How do you deal with the ups and downs of retail in handmade sales?
Not well. You would think after over a year I'd be used to it, but I've finally accepted I never will. Every time I'm slow, I freak out, then sales pick up again and I tell myself, "Self, don't freak out next time, sales will pick up" -- then next time, I don't listen to myself and I freak out again. I will always say I'll use the slow time to get caught up and work on new designs, but I usually end up toiling it away stressing about slow traffic. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to deal , though it's not looking promising.
What is your favorite color, food, and person?
Color - yellow (pink is a close second)
Food - hmmm, if we go for 'genre', I have to say Mexican. If we go for you-can-only-have-one-thing-to-eat-the-rest-of-your-life, then it's a really tight race between peanut butter and french fries, with macaroni and cheese looking jealous in the corner.
Person - that is hard. A person I know? Or maybe someone I want to know? I'll play it safe and say my fiance. :)
Do you have a favorite item in your shop? What inspired you to create it?
Oh man, that's kind of like asking someone to pick their favorite child, but I have to say the very first piece I created for my current line, my Waterlily Landing necklace.
The waterlily is my favorite flower and one of my favorite things in nature, along with dragonflies, so both of those are a common theme through my designs. But, that necklace in particular is the perfect embodiment.
Are there any random facts about yourself that you'd like to share?
Hmmm, let's see...
I have five tattoos.
I eat at least two spoonfuls of peanut butter a day.
I own more guns than I can count on two hands, but I own about 10 times more shoes.
I have 13 pets.
I love sleeping on couches.
The sound of people breathing makes me absolutely crazy.
And I once had a 40 lb. cyst we named 'the alien baby'.
How long after opening your Etsy shop did you have your first customer?
I actually had my first sale on the same day I officially opened shop (meaning the day I first listed items for sale).
Do you have a job separate from Etsy?
Nope! I quit my 'day job' a couple months after opening my shop.
How do you promote your work?
Just through my blog and twitter.
What are your three favorite Etsy shops?
This changes daily! Hourly, even, so right now it would be:
What is your favorite small pleasure?
Shooting. (And shoe shopping...shhhh)
What are a few of the goals you have for your future and how do you plan on making them a reality?
This will probably sound weird, but my only current goal is to stop setting so many goals for myself. I realized that I always disappoint myself by aiming too high. Not that I'm trying to be a slacker, I still aim really high, I just need to realize that I am not a superhero.
Aside from that, the one thing I constantly hope, dream, and strive for is balance, though after a year of doing this, I'm starting to think it's just not possible.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Is it completely sad that I can't think of one?! I will share my favorite quote instead, "Happiness is a moral obligation". -- Dennis Prager.
Thanks so much, Nicole, for participating and giving such great answers! This was definitely a great way to end my feature series. Sometime soon, when I get more ideas on how I'm going to focus this blog, I may just do another feature series like this. I had a lot of fun with it!
And, as I've done with my other feature posts, I have to show my favorite piece from Nicole's shop right now. I've had my eye on it for quite some time. It's the Silver Garden Branch bracelet.
How pretty is that? And considering I have a tiny frame, this would suit my wrist perfectly! Maybe, I'll have to treat myself sometime....
Thanks, Nicole for a great interview!
Thanks, Nicole for a great interview!