I'm a twenty three year old african-american business woman! I've always been very interested in fashion and creating my own style, and I have a lot of ideas about changing the fashion industry to be more inclusive: to make things more affordable, more size friendly, and unique. I'm a plus sized woman myself, so I understand how difficult it can be to find affordable, chic clothing, especially in vintage shops, so, I do make finding plus sized vintage pieces as much as a priority as making high quality jewelry.
How long have you been crafting and what made you decide to sell?
I've been crafting pretty much all my life. My mom and aunt inspired me because they constantly made their own decorations for different holidays and it was something I got to do with them as a sort of girl's night thing. Around high school and college, I started out making my own clothes, trinket boxes and jewelry. I tried to sell some of my trinket boxes via livejournal, but nothing sold, so I was discouraged and quit. I discovered the handmade wares on etsy.com, just as a buyer for a while, and then after taking some time off from college and having some financial freedom, I decided to open my own shop. It took about two weeks for me to realize that I wanted to turn my crafty hobby into a real business and move into the brick and mortar world someday.
What inspires you to create?
I'm inspired by modern and vintage fashion, as well as what I want to wear. I see things in catalogs or on celebrities that I like and think to myself, "wow, I can make that", or "I can make something that looks just as good or better and make it available for other people for a low price".
How do you organize your time?
Since I just opened my store, I spend a lot of my time promoting. I would say that I spend six days a week doing something for my store. I'm either running around myspace, facebook, livejournal or the etsy forums trying to increase visibility of my store. I am slowly but surely creating new products and when I do create new pieces, I spend about two hours a day working on them.
How do you promote your work and where can we find it?
I promote my work via livejournal from my blog there: http://briannabelle.livejournal.com/ Also, from the myspace associated with my store: myspace.com/shopbriannabelle
What are your business plans for the remainder of 2008?
Before the year is up, I would like to increase my sales and have a steadily growing customer base. I'll be honest, I genuinely bust my butt in terms of promotion. I do everything I possibly can to get my name out there, and I do feel like all the hard work will pay off before 2009.