How long have you been crafting and what made you decide to sell?
I’ve been crafting for as long as I can remember. My first selling experience was when I was about 14. I would go with my parents to motor home rallies; and, at those rallies they’d have a swap meet. My parents published a magazine and always had a table at these swap meets. One time my mom suggested that I bring my earrings with and sell them at my parents table: so I did. My mom and I spent hours making earring cards out of index cards and pricing my earrings. I don’t remember how much I sold at those rallies, but I was hooked and did it a few more times.
As I was selling at the motor home rallies, I was also selling a few friendship bracelets at school. I loved making them, and the kids around me loved wearing them: so, I had a small market going there for about a year. Then I moved on to High School and grew out of the friendship bracelets.
During high school and College I didn’t sell much, if anything. I got too busy with school and teen social life. After College, I started playing online games and lost myself in those realms, where I also met my Husband. We got married and I moved to a small tropical Island with him called Kwajalein. We lived there for 4 years, where I didn’t do much jewelry; but, I had fallen in love with the pottery shop. I would go down there every week (sometimes daily) and make various items -- either ceramics or thrown on the wheel, ect. I didn’t sell any of the pottery, but it did often go to family as presents. At the end of our stay on Kwajalein, a friend of ours introduced me to chainmaille,and I had found my passion. I started working on Chainmaille, and I loved it immediately. I had planned on selling in the biannual craft fair on Kwaj, but we ended up moving before the next one. So, I took my chainmaille supplies with me to our next destination... Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, I explored chainmaille more in depth and became more familiar with the weaves. One day, I was sitting at work playing with a necklace I had made for myself when a co-worker asked where I had gotten it: I replied that I had made it. He then asked me if I could make him a hatband for his Indiana Jones Fedora. I decided to take on the challenge. I looked up some weaves I thought he might like and that could work well for a hat band, and then sent them to him. He picked a Helm chain weave, which I began working on. I was able to finish the project in about 3 weeks, as I was working 60 hours a week plus maintaining myself as a full-time college student. My friend ended up bringing me more business, as he ran the Base karaoke every Friday night, where he always wore his hat with the hatband. Everytime someone asked him about the hat band, he gave them my name and where I worked. I got even more requests for jewelry after that, and made a fair profit. I realized in Afghanistan that I had a talent that I could market, so I began researching online marketplaces where I could get started and decided on Etsy. I made my account and that’s about as far as it got because we moved again. So when we got to Kuwait, I decided to pick up where I'd left off in Afghanistan. I started taking pictures of everything I had already made and shipped them back to my parents in the United States so items could ship to customers from there. I officially opened up my Etsy shop April 2nd 2008. Business isn’t booming yet; but, I still have high hopes.
What inspires you to create?
Everything! I find inspiration from friends in little things they do. Inspiration comes from my enviorment and nature. One of my biggest inspirations for my chainmail, though, is books and movies coupled with my imagination.
How do you organize your time?
I wouldn’t call my time organized in the least bit. I try to find time each week to do some promoting and some creating; but some weeks, I end up being heavy on one side or the other. Then there is daily life chores I need to get done, as well.
How do you promote your work and where can we find it?
Well so far, I’m mostly promoting through my blog and using a little bit of StumbleUpon. I am an Indiepublic member. I sell on Etsy and Silkfair, and I just joined Flicker, where I am both posting pictures and descriptions of my jewelry. I’m currently working on getting my own website up and running though, so I won’t have to depend as much on other websites to sell my wares. In addition, I have my blog and Etsy Shop setup as part of my signature on emails and many of the forums that I visit. My mother and sister also have spots on their blogs where they link to my Etsy Shop.
What are your business plans for the remainder of 2008 and into 2009?
My First and most important goal for the remainder of the year is to get my website at http://www.skybyes.com/ up and fully operational. Right now, all that’s there is my Blog and a lot of potential.
After the website, I want to start a new to me line of hand flowers. I’ve always loved hand flowers. In my opinion, they are among the most beautiful and unique jewelry forms that I have ever seen. I also plan to move into Sterling Silver and more precious metals. My hope is that by Mid 2009, I can offer most of my designs completely in Sterling Silver or other precious metals.