For today’s interview please welcome Lisa from Estancia Designs.
1. Firstly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you are based, for example in which country and part of that country?
My name is Lisa Twombly. I am married with two children, a 14 year old girl and an 18 year old boy who will be off to college this Fall. We live in the US, in upstate New York near the Finger Lakes. It is a beautiful area to live and raise children.
2. Please tell us a little about the nature of your craft/crafts and business.
Most of my designs are one-of-a kind but I’m starting to introduce limited edition items as well. I am finding that my audience is diverse in that many like the idea of having the only one, while others just want a piece no matter how many there may be floating around. Currently my favorite metal to work with is sterling silver, however I do use gold-filled wire and components as well. I’m also very much into semi-precious gemstones and freshwater pearls right now as I find them versatile, classy, and staples for any woman’s jewelry box.
3. What first interested you in your craft?
I get a lot of self-satisfaction from making things, pretty things. And I love jewelry. However, I tend to master a craft and then get bored with it and move on. That being said, it was a natural progression to creating jewelry. I have no fear of becoming bored with creating jewelry because of the many mediums available to work with and endless techniques to master, from wirewrapping a bead all the way down to the fine art of photographing a finished piece for publication. I can feed my desire to learn something new such as working with PMC (precious metal clay) to make components, master it and move on to something else, say making lampwork glass beads. I look forward to a long career making jewelry.
4. Did you have any formal training or have you learnt by yourself as you have gone along?
I am a hands-on learner and like to figure things out on my own, so for the most part I am self taught. I feel that discovering techniques and processes on your own puts less parameters on your creativity.
5. How did the idea for your business/website come about?
I started by making a few items and putting them on Ebay. They sold but I just knew that I would do better on my own. I knew I wanted a website but that I would have to come up with a whole concept complete with branding, etc. I knew I wanted a name for the business that was elegant and sophisticated like my jewelry designs. But I didnt want to use my name because its a pretty forgettable name. I am a bit of a wine enthusiast and the chardonnay I liked at the time was called Estancia. Roughly translated from Spanish it means stay, or to dwell, estate. I love all things Spanish and can somewhat speak the language, so I thought it was a great way to combine all of my loves, jewelry, wine, and spanish. That it could describe my jewelry as “estate” jewelry, timeless and classic, to be passed down. Then I just worked everything else in and around that. I think its still a work in progress but its come a long way from that first day.
6. How long now have you been established?
7. How do you find inspiration and where do you locate your materials? Inspiration comes from many places. Places Ive been, experiences I’ve had, pretty sunsets or sunrises, my kids, patterns in rugs, colors in fabric, fashion magazines and shows. I dont try to force creativity, I let it come to me. I may go into my studio and stand and look at all of my supplies and think … I got nothin … then I’ll walk away for a while, days even, and I will come back and look at exactly the same things and suddenly be flooded with ideas to the point where my head hurts.
8. Do you undertake your business/website on a full-time basis or are you also working whilst you get it up and running?
I am a full time mom first and foremost. That being said, I can honestly say that my business is my second full time endeavor. I work many, many hours a day, seven days a week. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
9. Tell us a little about your typical day and what is involved in running the business/website.
I am a fairly early riser. During the school year I am up with the kids around 6 a.m. and I start my day then by getting them up and started on their day and then by reading/answering my emails. Once they are off to school I settle in with my breakfast and do some research/reading on the internet. Once I clean up the breakfast mess and get dressed I get my orders prepped and ready for shipping. If I have any errands to run I usually head out then and do them and stop at the post office on the way home. I have lunch, then its creating time. The rest of the day and evening is usually spent creating, checking/answering more emails, updating my website, filling out show applications and getting disks with photos ready, maybe an appointment with a store owner interested in my work, or visiting one of the stores that carries my work and replenishing my inventory. Summer is a little more flexible but basically the same daily routine.
10. What advice would you give to others who are considering running a craft based business/website?
Jewelry is a hard business to build as I’m sure it is for most craft based businesses. For most of us you dont just make your first few items, put them out there or on the internet and the sales come flying in. Its a lot of hard work, but very rewarding when you see those sales start to come in and the happiness your pieces create in the people who purchase them. When I sell a piece I still get the exact same feeling I did when I sold my very first piece several years ago … elation, excitement, rush of adrenaline, and I hold my breath a little until I get the customers feedback, and then I let it out. Give world-class customer service to ensure repeat business. Utilize all the free advertising you can when youre starting out; dont put all your eggs in one basket; use your mouth … talk talk talk about your product where ever you go and whatever you do WEAR your product everywhere. Read fashion magazines and watch fashion shows, pay attention to the upcoming fashions and try to let them inspire your creations.
If designing and creating are your dream then don’t give up. Keep learning, about your craft, about how to promote your craft, and ALWAYS think outside the box. I feel limits and parameters are strictly for budgets, otherwise dont set parameters or limits on your creativity in designing, creating or promoting and you might be surprised at the end result.
11. How do you sell your wares – through craft fairs etc or through your own website and/or Etsy or other shops? Please let us have the links to these.
I sell at art festivals from May-September. Currently I have my work in two stores locally, Makiki Gift Shop in Rochester, NY and Skaneateles Artisans in Skaneateles, NY. I also sell on Etsy.com, www.etsy.com/shop/estanciadesigns, and my own website, www.estanciadesigns.com.
12. Finally, if people want to learn more about your business/website do you have a Facebook page or Twitter profile where they can learn more?
I constantly update my website, www.estanciadesigns.com with new products and new info, on a near daily basis. I have a Facebook Fan page, www.facebook.com/estanciadesigns. I also Twitter, username is estanciadesigns, however I don’t use it that much.
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