Thursday, September 25, 2014
What is your business’ name? Needle & Thread and I’m Marianne Donohue!
What sort of items do you make? I make custom hand-quilted quilts and decorative/whimsical pillows.
When and how did you learn your craft? I learned to sew as a child from my Mom. She could make anything.
Where do you get your inspiration from? I get inspiration from everything I see.
How did you get started doing this as a business? I started giving handmade items as gifts and people started to ask for custom items. I officially started as a business about 5 years ago.
Do you have any advice for other crafters/artisans just starting out? Make sure you still enjoy your craft once you turn it into a business. If you aren't having fun, it isn't worth your time and effort.
Anything else you would like to share? I enjoy going to festivals and craft fairs and meeting people. I love to see the look on a person's face when they see my items and they fall in love.
Needle & Thread will be a featured artist at the First Friday Indie Market on October 3, 2014. The market is located on the corner of MLK and Elm St in Downtown Greensboro, NC and is open from 4-9 pm.
To find out more about Needle & Thread:
Monday, September 22, 2014
What is your business’ name? Yarelie J. Designs and I am Yarelie Josephs!
What sort of items do you make? I make an assortment of fabric items such as bags, wallets, and journals. Lately I've been making things that are more technology-focused like bags and sleeves for tablets, e-readers, and other electronic devices.
When and how did you learn your craft? My grandmother taught me how to sew. One of the first things I ever made was clothes for my Barbie dolls. When it comes to the stuff I'm doing now, I'm pretty much self-taught. When I have an idea for something new, I'll make some sketches and then head into my workroom to see what I can do.
Where do you get your inspiration from? I get a lot of inspiration from seeing the kind of stuff people are walking around with. If I see a really cool messenger bag, I might think about making something similar and putting my own twist on it. I also try to stay up-to-date on popular designs and styles.
How did you get started doing this as a business? A few years ago I decided to make a bag as a birthday present for my mother-in-law. I bought a pattern and made it and it turned out really well. Then I started making other things and discovered that I had a knack for it and enjoyed it and that's led me to this point.
Do you have any advice for other crafters/artisans just starting out? Try not to get frustrated. I've made things that sold the first time I put them out, and other things that sat around for months. It's important to believe in your work. If you make a quality product, someone, somewhere will appreciate it. Also, listen to your customers. If you keep hearing the same suggestions or ideas, it's probably worthwhile to explore them. It's important to network with your fellow artists, too. You can't always rely on the Internet to find out where a really good selling opportunity is going to be.
Anything else you would like to share? I'd like to thank the organizers of First Friday for giving me a place to sell my wares. I'm pretty new at this, and I've gotten a ton of support from a lot of great and talented folks.
Yarelie J. Designs will be a featured artist at the First Friday Indie Market on October 3, 2014 The market is located on the corner of MLK and Elm St in Downtown Greensboro, NC and is open from 4-9 pm.
To find out more about Yarelie J. Designs:
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
What is your business’ name? Lowcountry Elements and I’m Diane Simon!
What sort of items do you make? Copper wire jewelry primarily, but I also use silver filled and silver plated wire. I also make some jewelry from copper sheet, like cuffs, earrings and pendants, usually with etched designs. I make all my links and jump rings by hand, and pair those with gemstones or various types of glass and ceramic beads.
When and how did you learn your craft? I started out looking for an idea to help my daughter earn a little extra money for a trip to Greece when she was in high school. I had seen an article on making beaded earrings, so we decided to try it. I began with simple beading, then took a metals class at Sawtooth School for Visual Design and I was hooked!
Where do you get your inspiration from? Both my husband and I are from the lowcountry of South Carolina – Charleston. Much of my inspiration comes from the nature of the South Carolina lowcountry – waves, sand, shells, ocean colors, sea glass….
How did you get started doing this as a business? I started selling beaded earrings at work about 4 years ago. Then after I took the metals class, I began looking at jewelry at craft shows and in shops and thought – Hey, maybe I could sell some things this way! Then I visited the Kville Indie Flea (a Saturday handmade and vintage market) when it was operating in Kernersville and decided to give it a try. The Kville Indie Flea has morphed into Eclection, a permanent storefront - handmade and vintage shop in Kernersville and I now sell my jewelry there, and at River and Sea Gallery in Wilmington, N.C. I also do a limited number of craft shows. I plan to retire next year and then I hope to expand the number of shops carrying my jewelry and also plan to do a few more craft shows a year.
Do you have any advice for other crafters/artisans just starting out? Make items that you personally like, not just things you think will be popular and sell well. That way you really enjoy it. But don’t lose sight of the fact that it is a business, and it’s no fun if nobody buys your items. Customer service is of the utmost importance. Making that connection with the customer is what makes it fun for me. I love to make custom items for my customers and have quite a few repeat customers who purchase annually. Last year, for example, I had a customer contact me that I had not heard from recently and I created four new pieces for her from some vintage jewelry that was her mother’s. I took one bracelet and made several bracelets and necklaces by taking the major components and adding new wire links and a few new beads. That was really a fun project!
Anything else you would like to share? I am so thankful to live in the Triad where there is such a welcoming, cooperative community of artisans. Folks here value local and handmade, and appreciate the time and effort that goes into one-of-a-kind items. When I make a necklace, there are so many steps – creating the links and jump rings, wiring the components, assembling the piece, cleaning, adding a patina, polishing with steel wool then sealing the patina with microcrystalline wax. The customers in this area value and appreciate that hard work and it makes the whole process enjoyable.
Lowcountry Elements will be a featured artist at the First Friday Indie Market on September 5, 2014. The market is located on the corner of MLK and Elm St in Downtown Greensboro, NC and is open from 4-9 pm.
To find out more about Lowcountry Elements: