Thursday, December 10, 2009

Etsy Artist Feature: wildheather!

So it's time for another feature of one of my talented, local Etsy teammates. 

This time, it is Heather of Wild Heather Handcrafted. She makes lovely, handcrafted silver, semi-precious stone and crystal jewelry.

Make sure to check her shop and blog out and join her on Twitter. Show the Etsy love!! Click on her shop header below to head on over to her shop.

On to the interview!!

Tell us about how you started making jewelry.

I have dabbled in many different arts: tole painting, ceramics, watercolours, photography.  It wasn’t until the last few years that I really found my niche.  In the summer of 2006, I went into one of my all-time favourite Victoria shops and was looking at all the beautiful sparkly things and wishing that I knew what to do to put them together. I finally got up my courage and put a few things on a tray.  When I had an idea in my mind what I wanted them to look like, I asked a staff member if she could put them together for me.  Reluctantly, she said, “I could, but then I would have to charge you a design fee.  However, if I put one together to show you how to do it, and then you put the other one together, I wouldn’t have to charge you anything!”  So she did, and that is what started this whole obsession.  At first, I was making them just for myself, and had no thoughts about selling.  Then, people at work started commenting on my jewellery, and asking about buying it.  So I bit the bullet and took a basket of earrings (that was all I made in the beginning) to work, and at the end of the week, I had almost $300 in sales!  I haven’t really ever looked back since.

How did you end up on Etsy?

Hmm...I don’t quite remember, to be honest!  I think it’s because a friend through LiveJournal turned me onto it.  She does wonderful steampunk jewelery ( and I started investigating it and decided to try it.  It’s been about 18 months now, and I have made a lot of great friends, even if I haven’t totally set the jewellery world on fire.... (yet!)

There are a LOT of jewelry sellers on Etsy. How do you compete?

That’s a really good question.  It’s definitely a saturated category.  I do my best to create items that I think women like me will love...I buy my materials wholesale now, and so I am able to keep my price points reasonable while still using the best quality stones pearls and crystals I can afford.  

What do you think makes you stand out from all the others?

I would hope that my style helps me to stand out somewhat, as well as my unwillingness to cave to trends or slash my prices to barely cost plus just to get sales.  As I said, I think I try my best to create items that women like me will love.
What do I mean by women like me?  Forty, funky and fearless!  Women who know how and when to channel their inner diva (or their ‘true redhead’)!  Women who enjoy classically styled jewellery with just a little funky edge. In the New Year, I plan to consolidate my look a lot more by offering a ‘collection’ for spring.  Included in that will be coordinating pieces, including bracelets in a style that is relatively rare on Etsy, but that have proven popular with everyone who’s seen them. 

Tell us about an average day for you.

Ha!  Nothing about my days is average!  Some days I am making jewellery all day or all night long; sometimes days go by before I pick up my tools. I am a total random abstract creative thinker!  Nothing lateral or linear here!  One thing that is constant though: I check my email while I wait for the coffee to brew! 

What do you use for inspiration?

I take my inspirations from classic movie stars like both the Hepburns, Aver Gartner, Rita Hayworth, Natalie Wood.  I am also a singer and a real music lover, so I have named pieces after classic songs, whether they are from movie musicals of the 40s and 50s (My Romance, Blue Skies) or modern rock icons like Stevie Nicks, Cher and Deborah Harry of Blondie (Heart of Glass, Gypsies Tramps and Thieves and Gypsy!)  One other art form that I have continued to express myself through is my photography, and I have chosen some of my best photographs to list in my shop as well.  I love the beauty of this wild province of ours (British Columbia) and the wonders of Nature inspire me.  I take my camera with me whenever I go walking with my two lovely dogs, and sometimes I see things that inspire me to create, other times I just see things that I absolutely HAVE to photograph.

Share one business tip with all the Etsy sellers out there.

Whatever is your media, try to keep something with you at all times that reflect it, and that draws attention to you.  Pick something that people will notice.  When they comment, let them know that you made it, you sell it, and give them a business card!  I can’t stress enough how important it is to have some kind of pre-printed media with your contact information and shop name on it!  I kick myself for having run out of business cards at this busy time of year when everyone is buying! 

Do you sell in any other venues?

Yes...I have merchandise available for sale at Arbutus Emporium in Qualicum Beach, and in the New Year I will again have items at the Clothesline Consignment in Cloverdale and at Crush Clothing Company in Grandview Corners. 

Do you have a blog or any other social media people can check out?

Do I ever!  I LOVE social media!  I have a Facebook fan page (for WildHeather Handcrafted), a Twitter account (I’m wildheather there), and a blog

What's the one thing in your Etsy shop that you think would make a fantastic Christmas present?

All of it!  Seriously, though...I think the “Many Hearts” bracelet would be a magnificent present for anyone you love.  I will soon have a pink version in my shop, but only in time for local shopping.  Look for more in spring fashion colours!

Here's Heather, hard at work:


WildHeather December 10, 2009 at 10:09 a.m.  

Thank you Andie for this wonderful feature! :-D

Joy De Vivre Design December 10, 2009 at 6:16 p.m.  

I love the colors that Heather uses in her jewelry. Very pretty work!

WildHeather December 11, 2009 at 12:18 a.m.  

Thanks! I love colour! I like to flatter myself that I am 'painting' with gems and wire!

(Also...I tend to overuse exclamation points)

Anonymous December 11, 2009 at 1:58 p.m.  

Great feature - I featured jewelry this week as well - must be the season!

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