Thursday, June 24, 2010
Name: Kelly Owens Pratlett
Shop Name: GemJunkie
Brief Product Description: Gemstones and Jewelry Supplies online, handmade earrings and necklaces in person
What is unique about your product? I try to choose really fun, bright, colors and whimsical shapes for my supply shop so that the selection is different than what the average jewelry supply shop carries. What makes my handmade jewelry unique is the price point. All my earrings sell for $5/pair. I do this because I think it's really important for women to have fun, funky, unique accessories that don't cost a small fortune. I love variety and I like my customers to be able to afford variety as well.
How did you get started? My sister saw a necklace that she loved in an Anthropologie catalog. It was over $100. She couldn't afford it and she thought she might be able to make something similar. So, she did some research online, ordered some supplies and a month later she taught me how to make jewelry. The rest is history.
Where do you get your inspiration? I am inspired by everything: nature, gemstones, bead stores, other artisans, my family, magazines. There is style everywhere and you can use what you see and morph into something totally your own.
What excites you most about your work/shop? About a year ago, my husband allowed me to take over the second half of our office. So, I hung one of those old accordion-shaped drying racks on the wall. Then, I hung hundreds of strands of beads, in rainbow order, onto the rack. I call it my "inspiration wall". Any time I get stuck and need an idea, I just stare up at all the gems and beads hanging there and something calls my name. It's instant jewelry-making gratification!
Describe your workspace/workroom. My workspace is one of our spare bedrooms. It has a vintage couch, a teal-blue accent wall, two desks (one for making jewelry and the other for packing orders) and more shelves than you can shake a stick at.
Which do you prefer: online sales/marketing or face-to-face sales/marketing? Why? I don't have a preference. I think they both have totally separate advantages and disadvantages. That's one of the reasons I sell supplies online and my handmade goods in person. I love to talk about my craft and what inspires me to create. So, in-person marketing works really well for me and my earrings. I sell supplies online because they're a little bit less personal. If you take really great photographs and can write a killer description of the supplies, they pretty much sell themselves.
The key to being successful online is customer service. If you get an order on Monday, you should ship it Tuesday. This is a mantra I live by because, as someone who makes jewelry and sells supplies, I can't tell you how frustrated I've been, waiting over a week to receive an order I placed for supplies I needed, like, yesterday. I am not a patient person and I think most crafters are similar. They choose supplies as they need them, not in anticipation of what their next creative endeavor may be. So, like I said, ship your orders, and similarly, answer questions, in a timely fashion. I strive to answer any convo I get on Etsy the same day I receive it. So, if I don't have a definitive answer for the person writing to me, I still respond and let them know I'm working on it for them. Going the extra mile earns you a loyal following.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years? Oh, gosh. I'm pretty happy with the way things are trending right now. I hit 1,500 sales in my Etsy shop in April 2010, so in five years, maybe I'll have 5,000+ sales. Maybe I will have developed an earring line I can sell online rather than just in person.
What do you feel is the most important skill you use in your business every day? My ability to give great customer service. With my earrings, I'm always willing to customize them to make they're something a customer really wants and will wear. With my supplies, I try really hard to answer questions as soon as I get them and ship orders the same day or next day at the latest.
What do you like about EtsyAustin? I like the sharing of ideas, the ability to be inspired by other people and their crafts and the friendships that I've made.
What do you think makes EtsyAustin Street Team unique? Austin makes the EtsyAustin Street Team unique. I feel like the culture of Austin is the kind that fosters creativity, open-mindedness and friendliness. That being said, I think EtsyAustin is particularly unique because of the sheer spectrum of artists we have. People make everything from felted purses to jewelry to clothing to fimo clay sculptures to feather-covered headbands.
Describe something about yourself that may be a surprise to people on the team. There's nothing particularly surprising about me. My sister is Tracy of polishedtwo, and she's the one who taught me to make jewelry. Our mom was crafty our whole lives, making us sock monkey, dolls and doll clothes when we were little. She still dabbles in crafts, from crocheting flowers to wet-felting purses and making cute, little bubble refrigerator magnets.
You can find more GemJunkie at...
GemJunkie's Etsy Shop
GemJunkie's Facebook Fan Page
Kelly's Facebook Page