How stonewillowjewellery 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 Emily, and thanks for asking me about my shop, StoneWillowJewellery, on Etsy. My previous career, many moons ago, was nothing like the creative outlet and self-supporting job that I have now. For 10 years, I was a police officer, but I’ve always had a passion for the arts and always had some sort of crafting project in the works. It took me many long years to finally put all my eggs in one basket and take that leap of faith to follow my dreams and be who I truly am. Just last August of 2023, I left a different job to fully delve into the arts, and it’s been so rewarding to be able to do this.

Back in 2010, a friend initially introduced me to Etsy, which is when I first opened my shop. At that time, I had a few listings for earrings made with gemstones and sterling silver. They were made using the wrapping technique (more basic than what I create now). 

I tried making unique designs of timeless treasures, always of high quality, and something with a natural feel, as I’m an avid outdoor lover. Most of my jewellery is made with gemstones; I’m also a lover of Earth’s natural elements.

The encouragement I received from purchases and customer feedback is what kept me motivated. It was a slow start trying to learn SEO and listing tips in order for buyers to find me. It’s still a learning game, which I don’t think I’ve figured out fully yet. 

I’ve always tried to source my products locally if possible, but sometimes I do find those special gems and bits elsewhere. Most of my stones are purchased directly from small businesses that hand-cut and polish them. This way, I have the opportunity to hand-select the exact stones that I wish to design with. I’m a bit of a stone addict and have a growing collection with ideas pouring out of every ounce of me and not enough hands to work fast enough (you can’t rush this process). There are also a few local brick-and-mortar shops in my area where I purchase gems and hand-select what I’m searching for. 

My sterling silver is purchased from a Canadian refinery, where I can also send my silver scraps to be melted down and given credit for future metal purchases. If I can’t find what I’m looking for in Canada, my next stop is the USA, with many big suppliers that carry more unique cuts and shapes of supplies that I need.

Favorite items

What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?

My focus is on one-of-a kind silversmithed gemstone pieces. On each piece, I try to provide an emotion or a sense of experience attached to it. For instance, most of my necklace pendants are reversible. On the backside is a metal art scene. I like to create a little Rocky Mountain/ffoothills oasis, sometimes with trees, a river, and the sun setting behind the mountains. Each is unique and handmade with attention to detail.

Some of my other reverse sides include wrapping around silver feathers, ocean life, birds, simple hearts, and flowers. When I look at a gemstone with its shape, colouring, markings, and texture, it allows me to pull ideas about its energy and the feeling it gives off.

I also have several rings in my shop, ranging from simple minimalist settings to a more dramatic focus, although still nothing really large. My style is a bit more of a muted statement and natural beauty style.

I have just started to have enough stock to include these one-of-a kind pieces in my Etsy shop, and I hope to include more and build this niche as time moves on.

Selling one-of-a kind pieces is a bit of an uphill battle as online algorithms reward repeat purchases, which pair with mass-produced items where many of the same can be sold. 

Featured at this link is one of my petrified opalwood wrapped in a hug feather piece:

Petrified Opalwood Necklace, Feather Necklace, OOAK Silversmith Necklace, Reversible Necklace

My warm Amber ring with mountain band can be found here:

Amber Sterling Silver Ring, Mountain Ring band, Size 7 1/2, One of a Kind Ring

Some of my Rocky Mountain and Foothills scenes get fairly detailed and large. This piece is a bit more simple on petrified opalwood:

Petrified Opalwood Necklace, Mountain Necklace, OOAK Silversmith Necklace, Reversible Necklace

The rich forest green malachite ring has a bit more of a subtle statement and can be found here:

Malachite Sterling Silver Ring, Size 10, Handmade Gemstone Ring

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?

Oh gosh, that was so long ago now. I think it was fairly quick that I received my first sale, although sales were sporadic. I find that the more listings you have in your shop, the more sales you’ll receive. That reasoning sounds like common sense. The most important task, in my opinion, when trying to make sales is to have really great photos and different angles of your product. Seeing it on a model or in a lifestyle setting also helps the customer imagine the piece on themselves or in their environment.

I try to use appropriate and detailed tags and titles for my potential customers to find me and my designs. That, along with good photography, should finalize a purchase if that’s what they are looking for. 

I used to worry a lot about price points and my competitors' pricing. Now I price the piece fairly according to the materials used and my time to create it. I hope that people see the value in the “handmade by the human touch” product and that my developed skills are recognized. Because it’s a one-of-a-kind piece, it can’t be found elsewhere, and if you love it, knowing that it could get snagged by someone else and there won’t be another just like it creates a bit of desire.

Managing stonewillowjewellery

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?

Stone Willow is a one-woman business. I do everything from purchasing supplies to design and production, all the way to the wrapping and shipping of the product. All communications and photography are done by myself (although I’ve had professional help with some of my modelled photos).

If I have the opportunity to hire out some more complicated website work, I will take that task off my plate gladly. My website, is a word press site. It’s fairly easy to use and edit. Please don’t judge, as I haven’t had the time to update my website in over a couple years, but it is on my to-do list.

I use GoDaddy for hosting and support for both my website and email address, which is an independently owned email address:

Vista Print is used for the design of my business cards, jewellery tags, banners, and other products. It’s easy to use and fairly inexpensive, and I can play around at my own pace to design something that I can visualise.

Canva is a great outlet for creative social media posting. I can create posts and videos on the site. It’s free for the basic package, and you can upgrade to the pro features, which provide content planners and schedule posting. 

My social media promotion is through Instagram and Facebook (although there’s a story behind my current Facebook account). 

The StoneWillowJewellery Facebook page is currently live, but I’m not able to access it since someone hacked into my personal Facebook account, which was the overseer of my business account. I’m trying to recapture control, but in the meantime, visit me on Instagram.  This is where you’ll see what’s new.

Mailchimp is used for my newsletters. If you’d like to sign up for first notice of new collections and releases, discounts, and upcoming markets, a pop-up box will open when you scroll through my website,

Currently, I use Canada Post for all my shipping needs. Most of my product fits through what we call the “slot of doom” in Canada. Anything above 2” that doesn’t fit into the slot ships at a much higher rate.

I provide free shipping within Canada. 

Shipping to the USA is free with a purchase of over $35 or a flat rate of $5 for anything less.

I also provide shipping internationally for a flat rate of $10.

The future of stonewillowjewellery

What goals do you have for your shop in the future?

I have big goals and big dreams for my Etsy shop. I think there’s a lot of potential to reach many customers around the world who wouldn’t find your product otherwise. 

Now that I foresee more time for my silversmithing work in the future, I’ll have more time for more one-of-a kind listings.

I’d love to make collections of jewellery specific to themes or emotions and then release these collections with a specific drop date in my shop. I’ve started this process already, but it does take time to find your followers and create the hype.

I juggle sales at physical artisan collective shops and in-person markets, where I sell most of my work. That being said, one of my goals is to grow my business online through Etsy. 

I’m part of the Painted Moose Artist Collective in Bragg Creek, Alberta (a small hamlet west of Calgary). My jewellery will also be available at Village Arts, Invermere, BC, starting in mid-April. This is another not-for-profit artisan shop.

My goal is that no matter where you reside or how you like to shop, if you like what I design and create, I would like it to be accessible to you.

Advice for new sellers

What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?

My biggest advice to new sellers on Etsy is to find your own path. Don’t try to copy and compete with what is already out there. Find your niche and your path in life. I’m a true believer that if you’re true to yourself and passionate about something, it will attract success. If you’re passionate about something, there will be others out there who are also passionate about it.

Etsy is an online portal where customers can find unique handmade or vintage products.

See what’s missing and what you can provide that isn’t already out there.

Don’t forget to take and post only great eye-catching photos so they follow through with their hearts desire!