How CrownofStones got started
Introduce your Etsy shop and tell us your story. How did you begin and decide on what to sell on Etsy, and how do you create your products?
Hi everyone, my name is Debora. I’m a jewellery designer, and I’m the owner of the Etsy shop ‘CrownofStones’, where I sell beading patterns designed by me. I was born and raised in Sardinia, a beautiful island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and since my childhood, I’ve been surrounded by the beautiful natural environment and millenary traditions (which are jealously guarded here and are present in everyday life to be handed down through the generations). But being an islander, at a certain time, I felt the urge to see what there was overseas, and since my eighteenth birthday, I started travelling, mostly overseas to the USA and Canada. After two beautiful experiences of ‘cultural immersion’ in two host families, I decided I was ready to travel by myself following an ‘on the road style’, riding the Greyhound buses with an international pass that allowed me to go back and forth all around the States and part of Canada. I’ve collected so many great memories that will last forever in my heart.
I’ve always been involved in artistic disciplines, but music was my first love. I fell in love with the electric bass when I was in high school, and since then, the low notes have never left me because they deeply touch and move me. Music and low notes were a way to express my feelings when I was unable to do it, and I think that, at some point, my music and my beading linked together.
My adventure in the bead world started with wire! I was looking for a hobby and, at the same time, for some pretty earrings to wear, so I bought wires, pliers, and beads (especially stone beads and pressed Czech glass beads), and I began making simple wire-wrapped earrings and bracelets in such a compulsive way, having lots of fun and making tonnes of them. At a certain time, I needed some smaller beads to embellish my jewellery, and my attention was attracted by those little sparkling pretty seed beads, so I bought some bags of delicas, round beads, drops, two-hole beads (I guess there were only Superduos as a two-hole bead at the time), needles, and beading threads. I started learning basic techniques (peyote, herringbone, and raw) until I was able to make jewellery by myself and make my own designs.
I opened my shop back in 2010, but I was a buyer at first. When I was capable of creating my own jewellery, I began selling some of my finished items, but after a few sales, I ended up writing patterns, and they’ve been well received by customers. At the beginning, I didn’t have the proper equipment (such as a good camera), so my ‘patterns style’ developed with time, along with one of my other passions, photography.
In late 2014, I timidly approached the submission of some of my projects to Beadwork magazine, and my first publication on Beadwork dates back to October or November. It was the Wildflower Bouquet bracelet. The acceptance of the project was a real surprise, and being published in magazines was a completely new world for me; it is a rewarding experience in many ways and has also helped me open up to others, which is not easy for me.
Since then, over 120 of my designs have been published in major beading magazines and books, such as Bead and Button, Beadwork (where I got three covers with my ‘Star of Venus’ necklace, ‘Wish upon a Star’ bracelet, and ‘Colourful Diamond’ pendant), Bead and Jewellery magazine, Perlen Poesie, Beading Polska, DIY jewellery making, and Creative Beading books.
Now that I’m a member of the Beadsmith Inspiration Squad, I have the chance to work with products that have not been put on the market yet and test their potential or give suggestions about them or their use. This also allows me to find new constructive solutions. I’m also a part of the jury of the international ‘Battle of the Beadsmith’ competition, which has participants from all over the world.
What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?
My favourite items by far are my beaded ornaments. They are both critters and miniatures. I love making them; they’re cute, and they bring joy to me when I make them and to my customers. I think people like them because they’re fun to make and end up being really cute; they're perfect as a wonderful gift.
Getting sales on Etsy
How long did it take for you to earn your first sale and how do you currently attract customers to your Etsy shop?
I think it took months before I earned my first sale, and that was unexpected and exciting for me. Once my shop was more established, I started advertising on Facebook, posting on beading groups, and on my Facebook page. Actually, I haven't always been consistent in my publications, but lately I've kept to publish regularly. A part of my traffic comes from being found on Etsy, and many of my customers are repeat customers. I have also gained customers through beading magazines, as my designs have been published in most of them, and I’ve also been interviewed several times.
How do you manage your shop? Are you running solo or do you have any team members? What tools or services do you use to run your shop and how do you handle fulfillment?
It’s just me managing my shop. I design my projects, take pictures, draw graphic diagrams, write instructions, and deal with customers. I usually bead on the dining table in the centre of the living room, where I keep my tools (pliers, scissors, beading needles, pens, and notebooks), stringing materials, and desk lamps. I have a dedicated area near the corner of my table where I take step-by-step pictures of my projects (if I’m going to write instructions for that design). The sofa and laptop to draw graphic diagrams are behind me, so I can rest if I’m tired, and I can listen to music with my headphones directly from the laptop when I’m beading. My storage area is located on a small table near the window, and I also have a small glass showcase where I keep my beading magazines along with my photographic material (cameras, lenses, and so on).
The future of CrownofStones
What goals do you have for your shop in the future?
I would like to maintain my creativity and create more jewellery designs. I’m also working on improving my skills in drawing diagrams, which I like a lot. Since I love different art expressions, I always try to find some new creative solutions, and I’d like to open another Etsy shop in the future. Let’s see what happens!
Advice for new sellers
What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?
Selling on Etsy can be fun and frustrating at the same time because there is a lot of competition for all product categories, and it depends on personal expectations. I think it’s very important for an artist to have a recognisable style. My advice for those who want to sell on Etsy is to find their own expressive form, to be inspired (not copying others), but to maintain their own characteristics and not underestimate their own work. Plus, it needs to be patient and rely on the experience of other sellers.
It’s also important to take good pictures and videos of the products on sale, to take care of customers with special offers, to advertise on social media platforms, and, most of all, to work a lot with passion.