The other day, I came across a really cool artist on Etsy, who made an awesome linoprint. It looked like this:

These three words struck a chord in the deepest part of my creative soul. As part of my New Year’s Resolution I vowed that I would try my hardest to create a successful handmade business. By successful I mean increased organization, exposure, sales, and opportunities to share my work with others. I think to be successful in any independent enterprise one must -or very well should be- SWEET, STRONG, and AMBITIOUS. So far in 2012, I have been a busy bee indeed, all the while thinking of that powerful combination of words.

I’d like to think of myself as SWEET by nature. I’ve never bullied anyone. I enjoy giving much more than receiving. I make it a point to always be perceptive about things that bring joy to other nice people, and then surprise them when they need it the most. I definitely get that from my mom. If everyone else is happy, I am happy. I also get that from my mom. I’ve been trying to employ my sweet sensibilities in my business by promoting other crafty people and the cool things they make. I do so by making lots of Etsy treasuries, posting photos and links to Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest, and donating my handmade goods to worth while causes. Just the other day, I had a lot of fun putting together a treasury entitled etsians in the 7 cities, which showcased the abundant creative talent in Hampton Roads, a place I call home. It made me feel good to learn more about the cool handmade culture in my surrounding area. In the process, I made connections with some really nice people.

Not to toot my own horn, but being SWEET is easy for me. To be STRONG is a much greater challenge. I am a major wuss, completely non-confrontational, and too much of the time, unsure of myself. I sometimes get intimidated by all of the amazing things people are doing/making and I begin to doubt my own work. In 2012, the new, STRONG-er Marie is letting go of this counter-productive, detrimental attitude. I have no use for it. The more time and effort that I invest into cultivating my creativity and my business, the more hope and sincere belief I have for it. Every week, my Etsy shop looks better and better. Every day, my creative imagination grows. Every minute, my hands become more capable of creating something awesome. Every kind and encouraging word that people go out of their way to share with me is a tiny push forward. Just the other day, I received the nicest message on Etsy in reference to an item in my shop…

Hi Marie!

I can’t tell you how much I LOVE these yarn triangles. My aunt sent me $50 for Christmas with strict instructions not to buy anything practical with it even though I need so many things. BUT I think I need these earrings the most. They are magical.
I live in Brooklyn but am flying to San Diego to visit my sister-in-law tomorrow. I want to get her a pair and two for myself. I am not sure which ones but will pick tomorrow 1/5 or the next day 1/6. I will probably have them shipped to her as my daughter and I are staying until 1/22.

Thank you for being awesome!

…This brought a huge smile to my face. I’ve never been thanked for being awesome. The fact that she thought my earrings were “magical,” and the best way to spend her $50 made me stand just a little bit taller. Thus far, my handmade items have travelled to California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Portland, sweet ol’ Virginia, Australia, Italy, and Norway. It’s such a cool feeling.

After receiving her earrings in the mail, the very kind woman that sent me the heart-warming Etsy message, posted a little surprise to my facebook page…

we just got your earrings in the mail and we LOVE them! so reasonably priced, great simple designs...I really have never seen anything like them. natural, artsy, great colors! thank you! we will be ordering more and spreading the word! we've even attached a (slightly cheesy but lovable) photo of my sister and I modeling our faves.

This past week, I surprised myself with my level of AMBITIOUS-ness. I revamped my Etsy shop and Facebook page, organized my billions of product photos, made a bunch of new advertisements, and designed my very first sponsor ad, which is now displayed on Oh So Lovely Vintage, one of my favorite blogs. I keep visiting the page just to see my humble little ad that I made all by myself. I’ve already gotten some traffic to my Etsy shop because of it. I’ve been hard at work this month getting ready for a hopefully lucrative and fun-filled summer. I’ve decided to fulfill a life-long dream and become a part-time peddler. My goal is to travel around Virginia and surrounding states to various craft shows and music festivals. I am preparing myself now, trying to get a little more AMBITIOUS every day. Starting my own business has proven to be a highly empowering and positive experience and I know I have so much to learn. Over the past few months, I’ve met a lot of creative and inspiring people that played major roles in the evolution of my jewelry and my business. They gave me great advice, which I immediately implemented. I know that small businesses should be ever-changing, and at this point in my life, I’m ready to change.

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I’ve always been attracted to bright colors and lots of them. Don’t get me wrong, I do love earthy simplicity, but when it comes to grabbing the attention of potential customers at craft shows, it literally pays to have a unique and colorful presentation. I suppose it all depends on what  is being sold, as well as the target audience, but for my stuff in particular, it makes perfect sense. When creating the following displays, I was inspired by the aesthetically pleasing appearance and texture of seed beads. First of all, they serve well in anchoring rings in a fixed position for optimum visibility. Then the tiny specks of different colors blending into one perfect “super color,”  invokes that inevitable child-like excitement, much like that feeling of walking into a candy shop. This sets the mood for a “kid in a candy shop” type of shopping experience. Seed beads work in pretty much any horizontal fashion. I chose to use them in repurposed vintage muffin tins, which I purchased from a thrift store, as well as wooden miniature collection displays from the Dollar Tree that I laid flat. I decided not to paint the unfinished wood, to further accentuate the seed beads and the handmade treasures resting inside them…

Though this jewelry may not necessarily be your style, you have to admit there is just something about it that makes you want to stop and marvel at all the pretty colors. Right? These displays are cheap and easy. I found tons of quality seed beads at Hobby Lobby that I just dumped in a photo box, although it’s probably best to keep them in a more sealed container. I can just see it raining seed beads right now. Anyway, I love digging my hands into the box of beads each time I prepare my displays. Never underestimate the power of texture.

The next display is more of that simple look that I also love. I know not everything can be bright and colorful. I’m not trying to overstimulate. I found these cute unfinished wood serving trays in a pack of two, one slightly smaller than the other, at Michael’s for $3.99. I laid a plain piece of burlap inside them and lightly sprinkled some chunky gold and iridescent glitter on top. The photos don’t really do the glitter justice. It adds just the right amount of twinkling femininity to complement the jewelry…

Lastly, and perhaps most eye-catching of all, is my antique birdcage display. A very generous woman gave this awesome find to me. It is dainty and perfect for displaying my many fabric button earrings. I attach the earrings cards to the wire cage with cute little clothespins…

A friend of mine recently hosted a party at her house to help me in my craft selling venture. It was really cozy and fun! I didn’t get very good photos, but you’ll get a general idea…

a creative addiction.

November 15, 2011

My love of arts and crafts began when I was a kid, as is the case for many people. Give me construction paper, glitter, clay, paint, popsicle sticks, or even twigs and flowers, and I was a happy girl. When most of my peers lost interest in crafts, my need to create became even stronger. Collecting materials to create something new and pleasing to the eye has always brought me great happiness, and I hope it always will. Over the past year I’ve been slowly but surely developing a little business to sell handmade jewelry as I create far too many things to keep for myself. Originally, I chose Pink Moon as my business name, which also happens to be one of my favorite Nick Drake songs. Then I decided to translate the name into Spanish because it sounded more feminine and exotic. Luna Rosa! It just has a nice ring to it. At the moment, a majority of my jewelry is made with fabric buttons, but I recently began taking a metal jewelry class to expand my skills. I love it. My goal is to eventually offer mostly metal jewelry creations. No matter what materials I use, my underlying mission is to create wearable art that is unique, bohemian, playful, and appealing to women of all ages and styles. One of my favorite parts of having a jewelry business is taking creative photos of my friends and family wearing my finished products. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to know that I’ve made something wearable and flattering. I also love being able to provide my already beautiful friends and family with pretty photos of themselves. Who doesn’t have a secret desire to be a fashion model? The best part is that I do it all with the camera in my phone. I have a Samsung Galaxy and I use the Vignette application along with a free site called picnik to create some pretty nice photos. I would eventually like to invest in a quality digital camera, but for now, I’m pretty happy with my little Droid. Please check out my etsy shop. I’ve made a number of sales though I’m still trying to figure out the best ways to distinguish my jewelry from the rest of the talented etsy sellers. I did manage to sell earrings to women in Australia and Norway. It’s so exciting to know that people in other countries are wearing something that I made. I also created a facebook page, where I post all of my photos and provide updates about things that I’ve made, or places where I’ll be selling my jewelry. The holidays are rapidly approaching and I’m hoping some people out there would like to wear my creations. I make new things every day and I love to get feedback!