Category Archives: small business

Promoting Etsy Artists-Part 4


Gorgeous beaded earrings

It’s almost spring and I am back again with a new blog! I have not blogged in a while due to health issues, (will detail in a separate blog) but I am back with the story of another wonderful Etsy artist!

I would like to introduce, Cindi from Lakota Charm! She is another disabled artist of Etsy with mad skills and a touching story. Her art is absolutely stunning and I am so happy to have found her! We have developed a great rapport and a budding friendship….you know what they say….birds of a feather DO flock together! I asked her a series of questions about herself, her artwork and her plans for the future. Without further ado…here is Cindi’s story in her own words.

I was in a very bad motorcycle accident in 2008. I have screws holding my shoulder together and I had to have a foot reattached that was ripped off in my accident. Since my accident, I have had numerous problems with my bones and joints. I now suffer from a degenerative bone and disc disease which is extremely painful. I have days where I am unable to walk or get out of bed on my own. Because of this, I am unable to work a regular job as I can not be on my feet for long periods of time and cannot be seated for long periods of time. It is because of this that I decided to start making jewelry as a way to have an income. It is something I enjoy very much.

I enjoy beading and seeing a design come to life. Someone who does Native beading knows the time you put into each piece. You have to love beading to do it because the money you may get from a pair of earrings is very little when you consider the time you put into each one. It truly is a labor of love.

Making and selling my jewelry has changed my life in many ways. It gives you such a sense of pride when someone buys a piece you made because they really love it. It gives someone like me who is fighting a debilitating disease, a sense of worth. When you cannot work and can no longer do some of the things you once did, you can easily fall into depression and you no longer feel like you have any self-worth. Being able to start my own business truly has saved me.

At this point in my work, I am selling my jewelry on Etsy. I have a Facebook page where I introduce many items, and I am in the process of setting up my website. I have also started doing art and craft sales. I hope within the next year to be able to expand and have my pieces for sale in different shops. I would love to be able to someday have my own shop to sell my pieces and to also sell other Native Artists items.

I am inspired by numerous Native artists. There are so many talented Native designers. It seems as though I find someone new all the time. Today I discovered Joy Lynn Parton from Pine Ridge Reservation. She has a store on Etsy called Rez Hoofz & Native Stylez. She has the most amazing painted boots and handbags. They are just beautiful. I encourage everyone to go take a peek.

When I started with Etsy I thought I was never going to sell anything. It took a couple of months to make a sale. But I kept adding items and one day I opened my mail to discover I had made a sale. Since then I have noticed an increase in traffic. More people add my store and my items to their favorites and I make a few sales. I think Etsy is a wonderful place to find beautiful handmade items and to connect with other people who also love making handmade items. I used to put items on Ebay but it has just gotten too pricey. I love Etsy and even with the start of my website and everything else I am planning, I do plan on staying with Etsy and adding more items all the time. I truly love it there.

I am getting married in 2012 and Lakota Charm would never be if it was not for the support of Joe…thank you!
I would also like to thank you, Deborah. I am very honored that you are writing about me. I truly thank you for supporting myself and other Native artists and other disabled individuals who have found a home on Etsy.

Well, there you have it, folks…another sweet, talented individual whom I am so happy to have found on Etsy! Thank you, Cindi for sharing your story with us. I know how hard it can be to talk about our disabilities. But I want others who suffer through disabilities to know that it is NOT the end of being a useful and relevant part of society. Etsy has given so many of us a place to do the things we love to do and help make ends meet as well.

Please visit Cindi’s Etsy shop at http://www.lakotacharm.etsy.com

Beautiful beaded necklace
Beautiful necklace and earring set
More gorgeous beaded earrings!
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Promoting Etsy Artists- Part 3


My Gorgeous Fox Bag

Once again, here I am promoting the wonderful artists of Etsy!  Since I have been a member of this community (February of this year), I have met so many talented and friendly people!  I am proud to be a member of this amazing community.

This blog, part 3 in my series, is dedicated to Debbie and John Rodgers of Sedona, Arizona.   Their shop name is Thunder Rose.   I have had a lot of communication with these fine folks and we have become friends.  They did some work for me, putting together a deerskin and fox bag.  I am unable to sew leather anymore, due to the RA in my hands.  I approached John and Debbie with my idea of how I wanted it to look and they dove right in and crafted me EXACTLY what I asked for.  I was so pleased!  They are both friendly, talented and very accommodating and I love working with them.

I talked to Debbie about their shop and here is what she had to say.

When and why did you first become interested in working with leather and beading?

“About 30 years ago I became interested in beading. I love color and especially rainbow and fire colors. So I began making earrings and barrettes and anything I could think of. Learning new stitches as I went along. Around the same time I started getting into leather work. The beads complimented the leather very well.  About 20 years ago this became my full-time business along with my husband John.”

Beautiful Baby Moccasins

What types of things do you like to make the most and why?

“I like to make functional items that people can use everyday. I love the feeling I get when I make something beautiful for someone and they feel very happy. Makes my heart feel good.”

Has your life changed significantly due to your love for what you do and why?

“Yes it has. Everyday I wake up and decide what I am going to make today. What colors of beadwork will I put on this handbag or pipe bag or whatever it is I am working on today. It is good to be your own boss. You do have to get up and get going in order for it to become a full-time business and you have to be flexible to what the day asks of you.”

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years and do you have any major plans?

“John and I live in the moment as much as possible. It’s hard to say what will be happening 10 years from now. We’ll probably be making handbags and doing beadwork.”

What has been your experience on Etsy?

“I really enjoy having a store on Etsy. I like the community feeling I have with other artists. It’s been a very good experience.”

Do you have any interesting stories stemming from your work?

“I have met people from all over the world. I have made so many different kinds of leather bags and beaded so many different kinds of designs.  That has been fun and enjoyable. John and I feel so grateful to all the wonderful people we have met along our journey.”

Beautiful leather bag with turtle beadwork

Please make sure to visit Debbie and John’s Etsy store at

http://www.thunderrose.etsy.com

Their blog at

www.thunderroseleather.blogspot.com

Beautiful leather bag

I urge everyone to go and take a tour through all the wonderful shops on Etsy.  One can spend hours there, just browsing and window shopping.   Ask me how I know!!!  🙂

http://www.etsy.com

Wolfmom

AmyE Photography…An Interview With a Young Entrepeneur


One of Amy's models wearing a pair of Wolf Mountain Jewelry Earrings.

With her new business barely off the ground, Amy Estes has already booked sessions for weddings, engagements, family pictures and more.  She has a keen eye and an imaginative mind, which makes her photography unique.  Amy truly seems to love taking photographs and I am constantly amazed at some of the shots she gets.

I asked Amy to talk to me about her love of photography and this is what she had to say.

When and why did you first become interested in photography?
“I can’t really remember.. it just happened.  I remember taking tons of photos of nature and then one day I decided that I just
LOVED it and wanted to try my hand at taking photos of people.  Then my parents bought me my first “real” camera for Christmas.
I had no idea where this venture would take me.”

What types of things do you like to photograph the most and why?

Here Comes The Bride

“I enjoy taking photos of everything, but mostly engagements and weddings.  I love being a part of someone’s special
memories… like their wedding day.  I have made some awesome new friends this way.”

Has your interest in photography changed your life at all and why?
“It has, very much so. Like I said before, I have made so many new friends throughout this journey.  One of my closest friends is a fellow photographer and I adore her! I seem to always have photography on my mind.  When I get a GOOD picture, it shows… I get so giddy and girly!  My clients laugh at me.”

What do you see yourself doing with your photography in the next 10 years?
“Oh goodness, I have many hopes and dreams.  I will just be happy if I can continue on this path that I’m on now…making new friends and capturing their memories.  I hope to one day have an office/studio of my own…perhaps on my own property.  I’d like a small cabin-like building on a nice piece of  land, with some animals and awesome backgrounds for shooting.”

Beautiful Child

I can really see that happening one day for Amy.  She is a very talented young woman who I am proud to call my niece.

Go check out Amy’s website at:

http://amyephotos.com/

A Lovely Couple