Some of you may have noticed that I was away from my shop for most of this summer. I was busy; too busy to keep it running at full capacity, but not busy enough to keep it off my mind for long. This summer, I found myself caught up with words like "branding" and "packaging" and even "marketing." When I first started with Etsy, I knew that I liked making jewelry and was pretty darned good at it. I had a skill, Internet access, a good-enough camera, and the knowledge of several years' worth of local sales under my belt. Online selling didn't seem too daunting. It didn't even seem too hard. Fast forward a few months to August 2012, and everything was changing. I was drowning in a sea of vocab words and new ideas, and starting to doubt the potential of my own business. It took the contemplation of this summer to help me understand where I needed to go next, and that Etsy really was a good fit for me.
This summer I realized a few things. I realized that what I was doing, making whatever I wanted, wasn't working for my shop. It wasn't even working for me. I was making lots and lots of cute crafty things and completely underusing my abilities as a maker and a designer. I thought I was having fun with it, but I wasn't really even enjoying myself. And the few sales I was bringing in weren't enough to keep me on that path. I realized I needed to find what I loved and do it.
I thought about my style. I like simple, pretty, innovative things. I believe in practicality and truly wearable art. I thought about my personality. I believe less is more, and in fact, I freak out a little when my environment is cluttered. I find it hard to focus. I thought about my favorite materials and techniques. I love sterling silver for a plethora of reasons and I find hand forging my pieces beautiful and relaxing. I thought about all these things, and then I thought: I have unique taste and ideas, and I should run with them!
And I developed a niche. Now I make simple, minimal, sterling silver jewelry, made with the modern woman (and of course, my own taste!) in mind. I hammer each piece smooth and flat and occasionally oxidize for extra impact and rustic appeal. My jewelry is made for the woman who wants something beautiful, simple, effortless, and powerful to wear in her everyday life. I know what I'm doing and who I'm doing it for: making things I love, for my customer, and myself.
That's right...myself. I create mostly because I love to. I love to make something from nothing; to realize and solidify the pretty little images that float around my mind all day. I love to follow my heart. I love photography, design, my customers, and my shop. I love every single bit of it, and with my niche, I am proud to say I know exactly what direction I will be taking my business in, both on and offline. My customers are happy. I'm happy. I know my market and I know myself. I have a lot to learn, and as long as I need to learn it. For now, I am excited to return with more knowledge and confidence than I've ever had. I have a niche, and you should too.
Until next time,