"MEET the ARTISAN" is a blog series that spotlights Etsy New York Team artisans and their craft. In this feature, we learn more about Jenn, the creator behind Firelight Jewelry & Designs.
Q: What is Firelight Jewelry & Designs? Can you briefly describe your business for us?
A: Firelight Jewelry & Designs is mostly a jewelry business. I work primarily with gemstones and Swarovski crystal elements and silver plated copper and brass wire and findings to create earrings and necklaces. I like to make pretty things. I like to design simply but with a fun twist. I believe you should be able to go from your cubicle to cocktails without changing your accessories or breaking the bank. To that end I shop sales and closeouts to get the best price I can pass on to my customer. In addition to the gemstone jewelry I also transform photos into wearable pieces of art. I call them photo-tiles. I consider myself an amateur photographer; really, I just love to take photos. I found that transforming them into jewelry was a fantastic way to join my two creative passions. As for the design element of Firelight Jewelry & Designs I also make small limited run batches of hand stenciled, stamped or painted totebags, cosmetic bags and wooden trinket boxes. The runs are so limited that I usually only sell those in person when I do a fair or a market. I plan to add prints of my photos that are available as phototiles soon as well.
Q: Some artisans develop their products to meet consumer needs, while others craft products based on things and/or experiences that inspire them. What is the inspiration behind your business?
A: Everything and anything really. Inspiration is everywhere; art, photography, graffiti, nature, music, architecture etc. I love to create. I love to find new uses for old things. Or new uses for random things. Lately I have been obsessed with the miniatures section of the craft store and am figuring out how to transform some of those items into jewelry. I already have a couple of prototypes in the works from there and another few things that I love, that still have me stumped. I typically don't read fashion blogs or magazines because I don't really like to be told what's "in." I feel like, if you like it, it's "in." Wear what makes you happy and feel confident about it and yourself. That's kind of how I started making jewelry, I wasn't always happy with what I found when I was shopping and I had some coworkers who made stunning jewelry in their free time and something just clicked. Before I knew it, I was up to my eyeballs in supplies and having a blast. Almost every single thing I make and sell is something that I would wear myself. So, sometimes it's hard to part with a creation. I tend to read a lot of DIY type blogs and magazines and am always inspired by my fellow artisans and crafters. I will admit that sometimes I see something somewhere and think, I have to make something like that. Right now, that something is wine charms. I had all the materials sitting there, so I'm giving it a whirl. And finally, the seemingly endless hoard of supplies I have accumulated over the years inspires me. I mean, I HAVE to do something with it sometime right? Ultimately, my personal fashion inspiration is the epic quote by Gilda Radner, "I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn't itch." Words to live by.
Q: Oftentimes, each artisan has a different strategy and objective for their business. What are the next steps for you and your business?
A: Right now the next step is finally getting my studio space set up. We moved last year from our Astoria apartment to a house in Lynbrook, in Long Island. We now have an attic which I will use to work in as opposed to a cabinet in the corner of my living room! I had to put the business on hiatus for a while until I was able to start unpacking the multitude of supply boxes. My studio space hasn't even begun to be worked on yet, but I have managed to eek out a corner of a room and start to get set up again. I feel like I am perpetually reorganizing it instead of creating as much as I want to. So priority number one is to get back into the swing of creating and making and then start to navigate the markets in my new area. I miss doing craft fairs and markets. I love directly interacting with my customers and talking about my product and process. I also love directly interacting with other artisans selling their wares. It's like water cooler talk for us! Honestly, I'm just a chatty cathy, haha. Hopefully I'll be at a Nassau County fair this year! Just as up there is working on setting up my blog and photogallery. Blogs have come a long way since I used to have a hyperlocal neighborhood blogspot blog and it's time to take it up a notch. I hope to focus not just on my business in it, but also how a lifelong city gal is navigating being in suburbia now!
Q: As many artisans look to grow and further develop their businesses, do you have some advice that you can share with fellow artisans?
A: Never stop learning. Learn about other crafts. Take classes. Watch youtube videos. Talk to other artisans. You are never done learning. To that end, does anyone have advice for me? haha! I could always stand to learn something else.
Special thanks to Jenn for sharing with us. You can find her products showcased on her Etsy shop at www.firelightjewelry.etsy.com. And, details of her special product GIVEAWAY are below. Please enter for your chance to win!
Enter to WIN here!
Win a Firelight Jewelry & Designs Charm Necklace. Perfect for summer, this fun and whimsical charm necklace from the charmers line features a sterling plated dolphin playing in a "sea" of blue howlite with a "seafoam" white shell and Swarovski crystal accent. It is strung on a 16" silver finished chain with a 2" extender and lobster claw clasp.
Entry period ends at 11:59pm on Monday, August 17, 2015!