Saturday, June 4, 2011
Saturday Artisan: Chelsea Rainbow
This week Saturday Artisan is Jacqueline of ChelseaRainbow. She makes jewelries and home decor accessories, fashionable and affordable.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?
My name is Jacqueline and I’m the owner of ChelseaRainbow. I live in New York City, one of the most vibrant urban cities of the world and also the capital of fashion. You may not be able to afford a designer dress, but you can always find my fashion forward jewelry to update your own looks and my elegant home decor accessories to enhance your home. I started my business in June of 2010.
At ChelseaRainbow, you will find a wonderful world of handcrafted semi-precious stone jewelry, precious metal jewelry, and beaded necklaces, beaded earrings, beaded bracelets created for day into evening wear. My home decor accessories are designed for elegant home occasions. Also check out my knitting and crochet items for you crafty types.
Which part of creation process that you like to do the most?
I love the designing phase the most. Sorting through my beads and sketching out ideas are two of the best parts of my creative process.
For us who love to travel, could you share a bit about your beautiful town/ city?
I live in Manhattan in New York City in a downtown neighborhood that is easily accessible to other neighborhoods both by walking and taking the subway or bus.
My neighborhood is near a couple of beautiful small parks and the Mayor has dedicated Broadway to pedestrian malls.
I am neer the Hudson River on the west side of town and if I look carefully I can see the river from the window of my sunny apartment.
Could you share on how your organize your products, we all can use a little tips here and there in this department?
I live and work in a very small studio apartment and have discovered a number of ways of organizing my work, storage and work area. I work on a TV table, which is just large enough for a bead organizer. I tend to sit on my couch with the table in front of me. When I’m done the table folds up leaving me with room to walk around. I have a second TV table that I use when I am taking pictures of my work. I use a 12” light box and two Ott Lites for my work area. Again, I can fold everything up when I am not working on photography.
I discovered a great storage unit for my finished work. I have three of them. They are hange units that hold about 80 piece each and are 14” x 34” x 2”. I hang them in my closet when not in use and they are totally out of the way. Each unit has clear pockets on it and you can see what each piece is that is tored on the hanging storage unit.
Finally, I have a wonderful storage piece that is on wheels and fits easily between my bed and the floor heater. It’s 11” wide, 24” deep and 36” high. I store my supplies, materials, and tools in this unit and it rolls out when I want to use it. It has 10 two-inch drawers to hold all my things.
What is your best seller?
I haven’t had a lot of sales as of yet, but so far the home décor is outselling my jewelry. One of the reasons for the name of my shop, ChelseaRainbow, was to be able to broaden my target market to include more than just jewelry and that seems to have been a good decision.
How does your day go in general?
I have a part-time day job which doesn’t take too much time from my day so I spend a lot of time working on my jewelry and home décor as well as promoting myself. I usually get up in the early morning and do my day job, which entails writing restaurant and store reviews and posting them on the internet in a number of venues. Then I will have breakfast. I go back to the computer to check my emails for information and sales. Then I have a standing date for coffee with a friend in my building. After that I work on some creative piece or sketch or do research for products on the internet. If I have finished work around, I may take pictures. It’s then time for lunch. After lunch I usually go to the gym and workout, then take a shower. At that point I’m back on the computer. I may write a blog post, check my email, see what’s interesting on a program I use called “Helping a Reporter Out” (HARO) to see if there is anything that will help me promote myself. Dinner is next and I might do a late night email check.
How do you balance your personal and work life?
I have a number of friends with whom I have lunch on occasion and I also have some email friend with whom I keep in touch as well. I have a boyfriend and we usually spend part of the weekend together. Because he works a couple of days a week, we are limited in how much we can get together, but we do varied activities from touring little-known neighborhoods of NY to going to the movies to eating out.
Because my day job is so flexible I have a lot of time to indulge myself in my friendships, shopping and exploring the city.
What inspires you?
I started ChelseaRainbow to have an outlet for my creativity and my aim is to provide hand-crafted products that are well-made, lasting, and distinctive for the casual craft lover as well as serious collectors.
I have always loved jewelry and I love the relationship that women have with their jewelry. It makes us feel beautiful, feminine, and powerful. It affects us in many ways, and even if a piece does not cost thousands of dollars, it is still precious to us
What is your goal for 2011? And are you on the right track?
My goal for 2011 is to increase my sales. I actually have two goals. I am also starting to do craft shows to have a larger venue to sell to. The craft show circuit supplements my goal of increasing my sales. I would say that I am on the right track at this point. I started Chelsea Rainbow in December of 2010 and I am starting to sell on line after five months. I also expect the craft fairs to be successful.
What is your favorite tool that you cannot live without?
Actually it’s my tool set for jewelry that is my necessity. I have a couple of chain nose pliers, a clipper, a set of round nose pliers and a reamer that are all important to creating my work.
How do you promote your shop?
I promote my show through my blog for one. I write regularly and seem to get a lot of comments so I feel that the blog is a worthwhile means of promotion. I also work with a lot of reporters on HAEO (see above) and have been published a number of times. One activity I’m always on the look out for is blog reviews and profiles and I also get put into treasuries on a regular basis.
I belong to a couple of fashion websites where I can promote my blog posts, write other blog posts and talk to other member of the websites. One is called the Fashion Industry Network and the other is called the Jewelry Industry Network. I have gotten a lot of publicity from these two website.
Any advice for others running their on-line shop?
I recommend having enough stock in your shop to give buyers the opportunity to make decisions. Divide your work up into shop sections so that people can find the item they are looking for.
Also, for newbies, patience is a big part of selling on Etsy. There are a lot of people buying and selling and it takes a while to build up your visibility and develop your target market.
Finally, make sure you are promoting your work a lot. Promote, promote, promote. This is a business (at least it is to me) and I want to make sure that people know I am around. Constantly evaluate your product line to make sure you are in the right target market and that it is clear to the buyer what you are selling.
Saving money is important; tell us one thing that you do to save money?
I comparison shop for supplies, making sure that I am getting the best deal for the items I am buying. I check prices, quantity pricing and shipping costs to make sure my costs are kept under control. I supplement my business from my monthly income so that I don’t have to buy anything on credit and thereby run up a bill of interest rates. If I do have to use a credit card, I make sure to pay off the balance at the end of each month.
Stay-tuned for tomorrow's giveaway!