Meet Sarah, our Saturday Artisan!
Sarah is the artist behind SarahCate Creations. She is an avid photographer and jewelry maker. Her photographs are outstanding and her jewelries are simply beautiful. I find her inspiring! She let go something she loved to do and was able to master another skill. Let's learn more about this strong-willed artist.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?I'm a 32 year old Uterine Cancer survivor (1 year of remission last month!). Before Cancer (and the neuropathy that disabled me after chemo) I was an avid and active nature, landscape and architectural photographer, but after having to put my camera on the shelf so to speak, I've taken up creating beaded jewelry. I started beading originally about 10 years ago when I got frustrated trying to find designs that suited me.
Now I almost never wear my own work, but I still enjoy creating varied designs and pride myself on having something for just about everyone!
My special pet project is creating jewelry featuring awareness ribbons in designs that are both eye-catching and unique.
What is the story behind your shop name?My photography business was always SarahCate Photography. The SarahCate is kind of a Texan thing, we love a double name down here! Since I've had to put my photography away for the time being, I needed to refocus my branding to cover a larger product base. SarahCate Creations seemed a natural switch that allowed a broader selection of items including my photographic art.
Who is your target market?My pieces typically sell best to the 20-40 female crowd, but there are grandmothers and even great grandmothers sporting SarahCate Creations, and my photographic prints appeal to just about everyone.
Which part of creation process that you enjoy the most?Even though I rarely wear jewelry myself, I get a really big thrill out of putting together a piece that is genuinely beautiful. Every once in a while I'll finish a piece and just... find myself really captivated by the play of colors and textures.
As a photographer, I always really enjoyed capturing something I had to chase. We had a blue-jay at the house that absolutely TAUNTED me... for years. Finally one unusually snowy morning, I was able to photograph him on a branch. It's still one of my favorite photos- and photo stories to tell too.
For us who love to travel, could you share a bit about your beautiful town/ city?I'm in Dallas, Texas. I've lived here since 2006 but I was born here and lived in Richardson until we moved in CA when I was 6 years old. There's a certain friendliness and welcoming attitude that's evident in this part of the state and with the mix of historic architecture and protected natural areas- it's a dream for a well-rounded photographer.
Could you share on how your organize your products, we all can use a little tips here and there in this department?I went through many MANY systems to try and organize both my loose materials and my finished pieces and finally found something that works for me! My loose beads are kept in craft-mate keepers, they lock and each opening can be accessed individually which is perfect for all my beads and things.
And for finished pieces, I actually use a Stanley tools holder! They have individual compartments that fit several necklaces each, and they stack and click together for easy hauling to events or sales or home-parties.
What is your best seller?Because I don't generally repeat designs- it's hard to really pick one. Natural stone pieces tend to get snatched up pretty quickly, but lately there's been a lot of requests for animal pendants- octopi and owls specifically!
How does your day go in general?We're night people around here so I usually get up pretty late and then start my work in the late afternoon or evening. Depending on how my hands feel I'll make anywhere from 1 piece to as many as 7 pieces or more. Sometimes I make color batches, bunches of pink pieces or red etc, or sometimes I get inspired by a certain subject and will churn out a bunch of different animal themed pendants. I generally bead till I'm too tired to keep beading!
Then I set up my little desktop photo space and photograph the days pieces and set about measuring, cataloging and listing them. I keep a catalogue through photoshop that can be easily updated, modified and printed to take with me to events.
How do you balance your personal and work life?Right now I mostly focus on listening to my body. The neuropathy I acquired during chemo in 2012 has stayed with me, and I have to really heed when my feet and hands are *done*.
Other than that, because of my post-cancer issues I remain otherwise unemployed and can pretty much divide up my time however I like within the limits of my pain threshold at least.
And because I did so much beading during chemo (great distraction from nauseous!) I have a stockpile of pieces ready to sell so if I do want or need to take time away from active work- there is still stock in my shop.
What inspires you?Color. Well, usually color. I tend to shop more by color than stone except in special cases.
Admittedly a lot of my work is in blue and green tones as those speak to me most, but I have been known to build a whole design out of a single random string of beads that I picked up just because I liked the color or play of colors within them.
What is your goal for 2014?I really want to bring in new customers. So far most of my sales have been to friends and/or family which is awesome. But I originally opened my shop up in the hopes it could help me start paying some of my medical bills since I've been unable to go back to working a regular job.
Other than that, it's just to continue creating beautiful designs for people to wear. I get a big kick out of hearing from customers how much they love their pieces and how often they wear them.
I would really like to see the awareness jewelry take off more. When I was first diagnosed I was so bummed to find that the color for Uterine Cancer was peach. There was almost NO jewelry in peach, and nothing that suited my personal style. Now I try to create batches of ribbon jewelry in a variety of colors and styles- because I want people to feel like awareness doesn't have to be so utilitarian.
Any advice for others running their on-line shop?Promote promote promote. That and linking to multiple social media sites is critical. The day I set up the instagram for my shop my hit count went from around 20 per day to as many as 600-700 per day. It's not always that high, but when I post in-process photos followed by finished piece photos on my instagram, my hit counts are always high in the shop.
Saving money is important; tell us one thing that you do to save money?I'm a terrible saver- that's the honest truth. But probably my biggest thing is clearance shopping. Unless I'm working on a really specific design or a commissioned piece- I almost ALWAYS look at the clearance rack FIRST. I've gotten some great bead strings there, and been able to build some really quality pieces from them.
Being a consistent clearance shopper (and watching for coupons) allows me to keep my prices down, even though I *could* reasonably charge more.
So where can we get in touch with Sarah?Shop
Stay-tuned for tomorrow's giveaway!