Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday Artisan: Gilliauna

Meet this week Saturday Artisan, Zoie of Gilliauna, a talented artist that doesn't live too far from me and what a small world that we yet met through Etsy.

She has so much advise to share and they're GREAT advise! Find ways to promote your products effectively without breaking the bank. I have been doing work and they're surely helping me.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?
I'm a self-taught jewelry designer in Vancouver, BC who works with a friend (Leal in Seattle, WA) to run a budding online business, Bits n Beads by Gilliauna

I create colorful, quality jewelry that's carefully designed to be affordable (and wearable!) for the everyday woman.

I use a variety of different types of beads and styles in my work in order to create a unique and colorful style and personality for each piece. I often use vintage beads in my work, as well, and feel that doing so often can lend a uniqueness to a piece that you can't otherwise find.

What is your favourite item in your shop?
My favorite changes daily. Sometimes hourly! At this exact moment, it's one of our newest pieces. A bracelet made of mother of pearl, coral and aventurine.

What is your best seller?
It's hard to say. I've sold a wide variety of different pieces since starting out on Etsy and there doesn't seem to be a trend there towards any one category. As far as individual pieces go, I'd have to say this one: Between online and offline, it's definitely resonated as a favorite for my customers.

How does your day go in general?
I get up in the morning and sit down at the computer to get my online time in. Usually about an hour or so where I work solely on the laptop without interruption. I'll then go take a shower, make breakfast, go for my morning walk, etc. If I have errands to run, I'll get those done too. In the afternoon, I sit down and create, take product pictures, work on getting things organized or some other task that's creative related but doesn't involve the computer. In the evening I package up orders then get on the computer to do more of the online tasks that keep things running smoothly.

Do you have a favourite Etsy seller?
I have lots and LOTS of favorite Etsy sellers. As for personality and a wonderful person -behind- the shops, tho, I'd have to go with Loren at FruitOfTheBloom, Jo Ann at Pottery123 and Lori at Dean Dyment Studios. Each of these women are wonderful, talented and supportive people that are friendly and have terrific personalities to boot. I'm honored (and it's a pleasure) to know each of them.

What inspires you?
I believe that the colors that surround us add an extra level of beauty and richness to each and every day of our lives. There are many times when color isn't just seen, it's experienced through more than one or even all of the senses and even the emotions.

Colors can lift you up, calm you down. Make you happy or sad. People often feel as if certain colors have a flavor, scent or "feel" to them.

It's color and the sensations and emotions that they create that are my inspiration in my work. I absolutely LOVE working with color and I love the idea that I can add extra color into the lives of those that wear the jewelry I've made. I feel that it's my way to reach out to others and make each of their days just a little brighter and a little more enjoyable.

What is your goal for 2010?
I'm working on building up a loyal, steady customer base. We (Leal and I) just started selling online in October of 2009, so we haven't even been up and running six months yet. Over the year, I'd like to develop a relationship and rapport with return customers as well as garner the interest of new ones. We're working on this by taking efforts to become more visible both on and off the handmade marketplace.

What is your favourite tool that you cannot live without?
I have a pair of old jewelry pliers that use to belong to my father. I swiped them out of his tool box a little over a decade ago. I love them. The quality and craftsmanship of these pliers is far better than those you can buy in today's market.

How do you promote your shop?
We do a little of everything. A little bit of (inexpensive) paid advertising. Plus a Facebook Fan Page plus Twitter. Plus free advertising wherever we can find it.

Any advice for a newbie running his or her on-line shop?
My best advice is that everyone gets frustrated and discouraged when you're setting up an online business. Don't let that feeling get in your way. Work -through it- and keep on plugging along at what you've set your end goals as. You'll get there, and in time that feeling will lift and you'll be better for having worked through it rather than letting it keep you down.

During this recession time, tell us one thing that you do to save money?
I shop around **a lot** for my supplies, searching for the best prices I can find. I also do a lot of shopping for supplies to recycle and re-purpose at places that give back to the community like the Salvation Army, GoodWill and local church-ran thrifts.

Anything else you would like to share? I absolutely adore working with a customer to create custom, personalized pieces especially for them or for their loved ones. Some of the pieces I'm most proud of were commissioned in this manner. I'm always happy to take inquiries and answer questions.

Any tutorial that you’d like to share, pretty please?
You can find the occasional tutorials on our Live Journal blog.

Be sure to stay tuned for tomorrow's giveaway sponsored by Gilliauna.


  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity Nat! It's truly a pleasure to be featured on your blog! *Smile*

  2. I think the jewelry in her shop is beautiful! There are so many pieces I loved. From this article, I learned that Zoie is inspired by the color around her and she tries to use the color in her work to inspire and elicit different feelings and!

  3. I love the way one can really see the colour influence coming through in her work. I simply love the Handmade Bracelet - Vivid Blue Fiber and Wood Bangle, the vibrant blue against the dark wood is so beautiful. x

  4. I love the fact that her collection of jewelry is a diverse one, and that it features unique pieces for different individuals. I really like her necklaces the best, especially the Golden Oaks and Green Leaves and the one with the Lampwork Spring Carnation pendant. c:

    vesipisaroita [at] gmail [dot] com

  5. Your work is just beautiful! I especially like the brightly colored thread wrapped pieces. They are very striking! I would love to see more of those!

  6. I love that she likes working with a customer to create custom, personalized pieces!

  7. I think that Zoie of Gilliauna is a very talented lady! Her works are beautiful!

    joanne.j at hotmail dot com

  8. That bracelet in the first photo is just gorgeous! I appreciate that you have some wooden pieces too like your pendants and bangle bracelets. Beads are very popular but I think we may see a trend towards these more "natural" elements in jewelry. Thanks for the opportunity to look at your shop!

  9. Thank you all so much for the wonderful comments! I take a great deal of pleasure in each of the pieces I've created and it's absolutely wonderful to hear how others feel about not just my jewelry but also my creative process. *Smiles*

  10. I was really touched by how you describe your use and opinion of color in your work. Such a beautiful sentiment!

  11. So cool that she's using her grandfather's pliers!

  12. I really love her use of color - and she says it all -
    Colors can lift you up, calm you down. Make you happy or sad. People often feel as if certain colors have a flavor, scent or "feel" to them. That's what she wants her jewelry to do - make you 'feel' color!

  13. Hearted her shop - my etsy name is HandmadeBySandi