Name: Camille Jackson
Shop Name: Diamonds and Guns by Action Jackson
Brief Product Description: I make brightly colored Swarovski crystal jewelry that incorporates vintage findings, laser cut acrylics, and a few kitschy/kawaii pieces.
What is unique about your product? Overall, the way I combine elements. As far as I know, I'm the only jewelry creator in Austin who works extensively with Swarovski crystal flatbacks. On a bigger scale, I use a broader range of pieces (i.e. in what I have seen, most stick with only using vintage finds or only using laser cut acrylics or only using newly made bright kawaii pieces).
How did you get started? Like most other crafters/designers/artists out there, I started by making jewelry for myself and my friends!
Where do you get your inspiration? Fashion, music, art, niche aesthetics. I think it's dangerous and inhibiting for creators to limit what they derive inspiration from. I'm inspired by beautiful designs I come across in magazines, punk rock and goth music and style, 1920s-1950s fashion, old Hollywood, 20th century art, the list goes on. Colors in general are inspiring to me as well, which is part of the reason I love working with crystals—the array of colors available is more extensive than you'd think.
What excites you most about your work/shop? Finding new pieces to use is always exciting. I also love shopping, so when I order supplies, I get my kicks two-for-one style. Meeting new artists and shop owners in Austin has been a real trip, too. It's truly amazing and awe inspiring to see so many people creating so many different works in just one city.
Describe your workspace/workroom. I fantasize constantly about having a workroom devoted to making jewelry and neatly storing supplies. On Apartment Therapy, I've seen innovative ideas about using cut-out spaces as work rooms, and they're completely practical for small apartments. As is though, I currently have a rolling storage case and a dining room table that work well enough… and an understanding roommate who doesn't complain when I leave a mess on the table.
Which do you prefer: online sales/marketing or face-to-face sales/marketing? Why? Both and neither. In the 21st century, online marketing is a great way to show what you create to the world even when you're starting out. I've actually sold a few pieces to some girls in London (which is one of my favorite cities in terms of music and fashion, though I've never been), and I love that I've been able to do so with a small business. On the other hand, I love Austin, and the people who live here are wonderful. When you sell in person, people can convey their appreciation for your work, and that's one of the best intrinsic motivators to continue creating jewelry for me.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years? Embarking on leaving my mark in the world. Whether it's through this or music or law/government, I can't say.
What do you feel is the most important skill you use in your business every day? Being able to ask for help and advice from the fellow artists and crafters I know in Austin (most through EtsyAustin actually). On my own, I don't feel that I possess that much knowledge about being business savvy or creating jewelry, but I feel that the members of EA, Babes in Biz, and various other artists I've worked with at shows collectively have a wealth of knowledge that they are more than willing to share.
What do you like about EtsyAustin? The diversity of the work people create is quite remarkable. I don't know that I could dream up most of what our members make.
What do you think makes EtsyAustin Street Team unique? The collective talent and knowledge that the team possesses. We are, after all, over 100 members strong and it shows in what we've been able to do as a group in a little over a year and a half (that's how long the group has existed). The community feel that the group provides is reflective of that of the city of Austin, and it continually reminds me why I love being a part of the group and the city itself.
Describe something about yourself that may be a surprise to people on the team. By day, I'm your typical admin secretary, but by night, I'm a jewelry creator… and a musician. I've had a musical instrument in my hands since I was ten and am grateful that I still play. Over the years, I've learned piano, flute, piccolo, bass, and now guitar. I love being able to create and play music and hope to eventually play and share that with everyone who will listen... ya know, besides my neighbors.