Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from home renovation to gluten-free goodies. Today on the blog, we will chatting with jewelry artisan, Lisa Hamilton. I am so excited to share the interview I had with Lisa not only because my daughter and I are huge fans of her wearable masterpieces. but also because she has the sweetest, most contagious spirit.
Update: Lisa Hamilton has rebranded her handmade jewelry business! She is now pebble and ore. To learn more about this change, click here to visit her “about” page. This click will take you directly to pebble and ore–which is not affiliated with Sweet Sorghum Living. However, Sweet Sorghum Living is a fangirl *wink*
- Please tell us about yourself and your business.
I have been married to a wonderful guy that I met at band camp 30 years ago- he was 19 and I was 15!! We will celebrate our 26th anniversary in November. Our three children are ages 25, 23 and 21; the two younger ones are still at home and in school. I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and surrounding suburbs, as was my husband. We have lived in our current home for twenty years.
I have gone from dabbling in various crafts since a young age, to finally finding my true love; I have been creating jewelry for about eight years now.
I work in a spare bedroom that I have transformed over time into a little workshop. I sell primarily on Etsy. I have a website, but have been lax as far as getting it up to speed. I have been “working” for myself for four years, just about one and a half of those years have been without another job. I am blessed to have a supportive hubby that loves that I am happy doing what I do- what a guy!
- What was the defining moment that said “Lisa, start your business.”?
Well, at my former office job, my coworkers and our patients were constantly commenting on my pieces or asking me to make something for them. I found out about Etsy on my birthday in 2008 and reserved my name a couple of days later. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was an exciting beginning.
- You create lovely handstamped, inspirational jewelry. Do you have a personal mantra or favorite quote or Scripture that keeps you inspired and moving forward?
I love any Scripture verse that speaks about love; I have also been inspired lately by Blessed Mother Teresa. I just love positive words like breathe, dream, etc. Sometimes I even remember to do these things!
- The Boho style bracelets were a new adventure for you. Do you have other new items and ideas in the works?
New ideas are constantly there; the big challenge is to have the time and willingness to possibly fail at a new idea. Right now, I want to create square rings and hammered bangles, and I am severely short on beaded necklaces, etc. The balance between filling orders and making new pieces is tough this time of year, but I try to do a new or different thing once per day.
- What is your most popular item?
It is about even between the guitar picks and the stamped rings. The guitar picks go like crazy for gifting holidays; I know my customers are happy to find something for their hard-to-shop-for guys. The rings are steady almost all the time; we females give ourselves a little gift for fun or give them to our besties, etc.
- When you are not making incredible jewelry, what do you like to do?
I love to decorate, but haven’t done a lot of it since the re-do of my workshop. My husband and I are very involved with our church and spend much time with our small community there; I do play guitar and sing for church also. I love music and am so blessed to be able to have it playing all day while I work. My oldest daughter just became engaged last week; I see a big project with her “all Etsy and handmade wedding” in my future! Not really a hobby, but I am grateful for a demanding little doggie that likes walks-she gets me up and out for fresh air and a good head-clearing!
- You are a huge supporter of handmade and Etsy shops.
*What advice can you give to those that are new to the Etsy world (whether buying or wanting to open a shop)?
When I started on Etsy, I had no idea what I was doing or how to get people to find me in such an enormous marketplace; I still have to work on that. A new seller needs to be mindful of these things:
- Have excellent pictures. You may need to re-take them a dozen times, just do it and you will see results! I blush when I think of the terrible photos I posted when I first started my shop. It is very hard to do, but the hard work will pay off in the long run!
- Have as many items in your shop as possible. When I go to a store, I would be disappointed if they had 5 things to choose from! Also, Google will find you more with more listings.
As far as being an Etsy shopper, know that most of the artisans take this very seriously- I have heard that Etsy isn’t for serious artisans, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It is such a wonderful venue for so many of us. How many people can really start a “store” on their own?
- Give the number one reason to buy handmade.
Buy handmade to support a person, not a company- it may be a single mom sewing at 12am after her child goes to bed, or an art major stuck in an office job. Either way, it is a way to have in your possession an item made with much love and care that you will be proud to own!
- I love the way you are so social media savvy. I hope to be as organized with it as you one day. How do you balance it all?
I actually don’t balance it at all and spend too much time “playing” on twitter, pinterest, etc. Can you blame me though? It’s a bunch of fun! I do use things to help me spread things out like Add This, Buffer, Hootsuite, and I use Seesmic on my phone. It is a danger to be “sucked in” with all of the social media and fun sites to check out handmade and other fun goodies.
- What is your ideal/dream vacation?
One day I will go to Italy; I have two reasons for this. I want to make a pilgrimage to see sites such as Loretto, Assisi, the Vatican, etc. I also want to do this with one of my dearest friends, more like a sister, http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaBelleMadeleine She is from Lecce, Italy and it would be so fun to see HER Italy!
Lisa, thank you so much for sharing a bit of your life and tips for all of us. You are truly an inspiration!
Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted with Lisa Hamilton about her handmade jewelry and tips for those that are new to Etsy. Now, I don’t know about y’all, but have this sudden urge to go shopping on Etsy for handmade jewelry *wink*