Friday, February 27, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - Magdalene Jewels

I'm so delighted to be able to interview one of my closest etsybloggers friends, Ms. MagdaleneJewels. I'm surprised to see that I've known Pam only half a year - it seems much longer. She isn't a newbie to etsy, though. Her shop's been open since August 2007. If your looking for crystal jewelry, you've come to the right place! Mag (as I've always called her) uses loads of bicones, which makes all her jewelry glimmer with beauty. Just take a look at this:

  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?
MagdaleneJewels




  • What types of products do you sell?
I primarily sell Jewelry in my shop; although during the winter months I have added a few knitted and crocheted items, such as scarfs and neck warmers. The jewelry in my shop consists of Necklaces, Bracelets, and Earrings – all of which I have designed and created myself. I primarily only use Swarovski Crystals for all my pieces. I recently added “personalized bracelets” to my shop, and so far I have done over 18 custom bracelets with the individuals’ names; and just received an order asking if I could make a “personalized” necklace to match one of the bracelets I had already made.

  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
Oh Wow, that’s a tough one. I actually have two, “The Rose” (named after my favorite song by Janis Joplin), I love the femininity of this piece; my other is “Imagine” (named for John Lennon, another favorite), and again, I love the elegance and simplicity of this piece [see my favorite pick below!]. At the last Christmas Fair I did, someone had wished to purchase it, but I talked them into buying another piece, since I really couldn’t part with the necklace. If you notice when looking at each piece in my shop, almost all are named after a favorite song or song title.


  • How did you find out about Etsy? Were you a buyer before a seller?
I learned about Etsy through a friend who I have known since our daughter’s were babies (28 years ago!). We started quilting back then, which I still do also. Her shop on Etsy is “Mademarion.” I signed up with Etsy about 1 ½ yrs. ago as a seller. Truthfully when I started making jewelry it was basically for myself and friends, never thinking it would one day become a business.

  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?
Besides Bloggers – which always keeps me busy with blogging Carnivals, etc – but since I love to write it is a great team to be involved with. I also belong to the Bbest (Boomers) Team, which was the first team I had signed up for through Alis Clair. I have made a lot of Bbest friends, since we can all relate to the same time in our lives.

I also recently joined Plugger’s United, which is involved with “Blockhead Radio” with Rod and Cassandra, my favorite “lil’ Witch.”

  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
I find my jewelry making to be more of a hobby then a job. If I looked at it as a job, I think I would lose the enjoyment of being creative. Having worked in the financial business (stock market) for many years, everything had to be done in a timely manner, esp. in the Stock Market where one second can make a difference of $1 or $1 million dollars, which was a lot of pressure. So I prefer to enjoy what I do, as I feel each piece of jewelry I make is an extension of inner self. Actually I have been on disability for 6 years, but as I say, I am the busiest unemployed person I know!
  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
I do a lot of craft shows, which of course are seasonal. Mainly during the Spring and early Summer; then comes the Christmas Fairs. I love doing the Christmas Fair in my Parish since I know all the children, and love when the little children (ages 5-6) come shopping with their $1 (thinking it is a million dollars) and say they would love to buy a certain necklace for their mommy for Christmas, of course, it is always the most expensive they choose. I ask them how much they have, and will pick out a pair of earrings and say oh, these are only $2, etc. The smiles on their little faces are worth everything!
  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?
I would have to say that my mediums have a great range – I started embroidering when I was young, that was the time when we would embroider everything we wore. From there I started crocheting, quilting, then I learned to knit; and only started making jewelry about 3 years ago. I can’t say which one of these crafts is my favorite; being one who never sits still, I am currently working on many different projects at once, knitting and crocheting and I am also working on a quilt. I am also just finishing up my quilting project which I started on Etsy about 1 year ago, called “Tragedy and Triumph”.

About 20 different people on Etsy, from Alaska to New Zealand, England, all across the US, volunteered to work on the project. Each of whom has contributed one square each of something that touched them either through tragically or triumphantly. Throughout the year I have been posting each square on my blog with a write up on each. I am in the final stages of assembling the quilts. Our goal is to hopefully auction off the quilts to raise money for Katrina or children of fallen soldiers.

  • Everyone knows images are important when selling on the internet. What's your procedure for taking photos of your products? Do you have any tips on taking better photographs?
Most important to any photo is your lighting. I am fortunate to get full sunlight everyday, but find the best outdoor lighting is about 2pm. I usually take about 10 different shots of each item. Once I upload them into my computer, and have narrowed down the few I have chosen, I then use two different programs to enhance each photo: Photo Gallery and Adobe Photoshop 7. Once that is done and my designs are perfectly cropped, I save them in my picture files until I moved them into my shop on Etsy.

  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?
I find being myself is my best asset, as I love meeting people and talking with new people. This has also enabled me to sell more in the way of custom orders, as I am more of a one-on-one person. I always feel that each piece of jewelry I create shows a bit of my personality. So the best advice I can give is “Be Yourself” and the rest will fall into place.

  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
I do have an account on Flickr where I put some pictures, but mainly one can learn more about myself, family, friends, and my life from my many articles on my blogs, of which I currently have two: http://www.MagdaleneJewelspjk.blogspot.com and http://www.MagdaleneJewelsblogs.blogspot.com

  • OK, my turn! What's the storybeader's favorite piece?


"Imagine." One of my favorite songs, too.

8 comments:

MagdaleneJewels said...

Deb - thank you for doing such a beautiful job editing and assembling my interview and pictures. Glad we both have the same favorite. I am almost in tears, reading the nice things you said in the beginning. Thanks for being a great friend!

Rose Works Jewelry said...

Great interview! I love Mags and her work :)

agoodwitchtoo said...

A pleasure to learn more about my favorite HippyChic! I love Mags and her work is stunning. Great interview!

ZudaGay said...

Great feature of a wonderful lady!! Pam makes such lovely jewelry and is such a sweet person!

thewildhare said...

This is a really great interview with a Very Talented craftswoman! I love the pieces you showcased here, as well as many in the shop. Though I have "talked" with Pam in the ETSY forums, I have learned more about her and her art today. Thanks for sharing!

BeadedTail said...

Wonderful interview! I enjoyed learning more about Pam and her work is so beautiful!

Carole said...

Great interview - very interesting questions and answers, I really enjoyed it and I'm not even an "crafty" person. :-D

uniquecommodities said...

Great interview with an amazing Etsy artisian

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