Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Featured Artist Denise McLachlan of Designs by Denise

Badge or Glasses Holder
Delicate Gold Bracelet
Dream Among the Stars Bracelet
Earrings in Pink, Sand, and Pearl
Open Heart Earrings

As you've probably noticed, the featured artist series has been on a bit of a hiatus recently. I'm happy to reintroduce it this week with an interview with EtsyNJ's own Denise McLachlan of Designs by Denise, http://www.demdesigns.etsy.com/. Denise offers a lovely selection of ethereal looking jewelry, which is, as her shop tagline says, perfect for all occasions. With Mother's Day on the horizon, why not drop by Denise's corner of Etsy?

1. The Tote Trove (TTT): According to your Etsy profile, you began making jewelry as a child. Back then, did you ever imagine that you’d end up turning your passion into a business?
Denise McLachlan (DM): Never. My parents always included crafts in our playtime activities, so it was just one of the things we did for fun.
2. TTT: Your Etsy profile also mentions that you later discovered polymer clay. How is using clay different from your other jewelry making methods? What is it about the clay that inspires/intrigues you the most?
DM: Now I use more metal and beads made from crystal or glass. Clay is a really different medium; it requires different tools and lends a very different look to the jewelry. When I was using clay I went for an antique look; now I think my jewelry has a very classic look. I liked using polymer clay because it was very free-form, allowing me to do a lot with it. I stopped using it because I moved from my house into a condo, and the other tenants complained about the odor. When you bake polymer clay, even with ventilation it releases a very strong odor.
3. TTT: What is your favorite item in your shop?
DM: My favorite item is my Dream Among the Stars bracelet. At least this week. Next week it could be the new necklace that I'm making. We'll have to see when it's finished.
4. TTT: What items, if any, would you like to add to your shop?
DM: I'm in the process of adding a new necklace line. I put the first one in my shop about 2 weeks ago, and it lasted just a day before it was sold. I'll have another one by the end of this weekend.
5. TTT: Describe your creative process. Do you follow a routine, create when inspiration strikes, or a little bit of both?
DM: It's probably a little of both. I always work when the inspiration strikes because that's when it's so easy to create. Then there are times when I know I need pieces for a craft show, so I start to work on something that is similar to a piece I've done before, which usually gets me into the zone, and the inspiration starts to flow.
6. TTT: What is the best thing about running your own business? The worst?
DM: The best thing about running my own business is that I have control over how my business is run and what I make/sell. I also enjoy making my jewelry and going to craft shows. I think the worst part is the actual marketing, getting out there and being the one to generate interest in the business.
7. TTT: How did you discover Etsy?
DM: I was watching "Martha Stewart Living," and she had an Etsy seller on who makes dolls. The woman was telling Martha how much she sold on Etsy and that she ended up quitting her day job just to make dolls. I immediately got on the computer and checked out Etsy, and the rest is history.
8. TTT: Do you sell your work in venues outside of Etsy (i.e, other sites, craft shows, etc)? If yes, then how does selling online differ from selling in person?
DM: Yes, I started selling at craft shows in November of 2009, so I'm still a new-be. I really like craft shows because you can talk to customers and they can touch the jewelry and try on the bracelets, which helps to sell them. You can have a conversation with the customer and answer any questions that she may have. Shoppers can also see the quality of your product in person, which gives them confidence to buy. I have done well at most of the craft shows where I've had a table. Etsy is a good online brochure for me, although in 2 years I've sold only 2 items.
9. TTT: Who is most (emotionally) supportive of your business?
DM: There are several people who are supportive of my business, including my brother and sister, my mom, and many of my friends. My friend/coworker Tim was my first Etsy customer; he bought a gift for his mother for Mother's Day.
10. TTT: Are there any new artistic/creative skills you’d like to learn?
DM: Yes, I would love to learn how to make jewelry with silver metal clay. It's on my to do list. I need a few more sales to be able to invest in all the new tools that I'll need, so I'm counting on my upcoming craft fairs to help me with that.
11. TTT: Tell us about life outside of Designs by Denise. You can gab about your hobbies, family, pets, or anything else that strikes your fancy!
DM: Right now, life outside of Designs by Denise is spent looking for a job that will pay my bills until I can start to generate enough sales to be able to support myself on my own. I also program web sites to generate income, which is fun. I moved back to New Jersey about 2 years ago after being away for 25 years, so I'm getting reacquainted with old friends and meeting new ones, spending time with family that I haven't been around much while away, and getting to know my new great nephew, William, who is going to be 2 soon. So I keep very busy.
12. TTT: What are your hopes for Designs by Denise in the future?
DM: My hope/goal for the future is that Designs By Denise will be a thriving company that can generate a salary for me and maybe a few employees too.
13. TTT: BONUS QUESTION. Just for fun, if you were stranded on a deserted island and had to eat the same thing every day, what would it be? You can pick a drink and a dessert, too. (I find that dreaming up a whole meal makes this game more entertaining!)
DM: If I had to eat the same thing every day on a deserted island, I would need a good supply of chocolate. But a woman cannot live on chocolate alone. So, I would also like pineapples, oranges, avocados, strawberries, cheese, Earl Grey tea, and soy milk. I know it's not a traditional meal, but I could live on fruit if I could have chocolate and a cup of tea to go with it.
Thanks for stopping by and getting to know Denise! Want more? Check out her Web site and blog:

1 comment:

designsbydenise said...

Tracy, thanks for featuring me on your blog.