Thursday, October 21, 2010

Interview with LauraStaley

Meet Laura Staley:
Who are you?
I'm a wife and mom first; I home school, teach 3rd grade kids in our co-op, and in my spare time, I'm an artist. It took me 38 years to call myself that, while I acquired the other titles in the meantime. I studied graphic design at the University of South Carolina, and landed in the sign business, and, consequently, Florida, in 1990. (Photo courtesy of Christy Whitehead
What do you create?
I create handcrafted jewelry and accessories from semi precious stones, and other beautiful materials.

What was the main inspiration for your shop?
I like to make jewelry that will make people look and feel beautiful. Jewelry is an accessory, but also a fashion statement. It can "amp" up a look and personalize it for you.

How did you come about your store name?
I wanted to tell it like it is...and connect my name to it. Since my customers often end up as my friends, I wanted a personal touch. The Internet can be so cold; but jewelry is very particularly personal, and the decisions to purchase and wear it are very intimate.

What is the crafting utensil you cannot live without?
My Round Nose Pliers. I really really like my tools, being a little of a tom boy at heart, I was really pleased when I picked them up again.

What is your favorite material to work with?
WOW. There are so many. Wire, semiprecious stones, other pretty stuff. Wire is especially intriguing. You can do so much with it.

What do you enjoy most about making the things you make?
Imagining what they will look like on the person that decides to honor me by purchasing them. Really. Sounds corny, but I try to visualize the end result. I usually start with an end picture in my head, and then try to make the piece match that picture.

What is your life like outside of Etsy?
We have a blended family. I have three kids from a previous marriage, and my husband Donald has three from his previous marriage. We share one, a little guy who is a delight and is the sparkle in everyone's eye around here. My oldest is in college, and I continue to home school my 15 year old and 12 year old, and my youngest is ready to start reading. I'm continuing the journey from the very beginning, again!

What is your favorite feature on Etsy?
The street teams are great. I find so much encouragement in the experiences of fellow artisans. Of course, the search feature is really useful, too. And the Treasuries are awesome!

What do you enjoy "window shopping" on Etsy on your free time?
I like to look for supplies, and browse fellow jewelry artisans' shops, to see what they're doing. I have my own style, but it's nice to see what's going on. I feel totally outclassed by all the talent on Etsy. Rather than an "arts and crafts" website, it's like a museum of the world's finest artisans and talent. I'm not easily overwhelmed, but Etsy and it's variety always stuns me.

Do you have a tip for other Etsy sellers?
You have to talk yourself up. All the time. Talk to yourself, encourage yourself, stay true to your work, but also talk up your product to everyone you meet. Facebook has been amazing for me in getting my name out there, and traffic to my shop. Don't think you have to do everything, though, just do what you can. The more you do, the more you'll succeed. Also, it's risky, but offer custom work. That's what's gotten me through the lean quiet times in my shop. Click here
 to see the custom work I've done through Etsy...

Is there an online "tool" that you like to use?
Facebook, and my blog ( have both brought business in for me. I've become reacquainted with high school and childhood friends who I'd never have found without it. They knew me then, and now that I'm doing this...well, that's great, too. We make the personal connection, but they also know what I do....
What other interests do you have?
I love to read, and to cook. Most Sundays after church we have friends over or go to lunch with them. I love to have people over to the house to share a meal, whether they're my husband's friends, friends from church, kids' friends, etc. I'd like to develop some painting skills. I painted a mural in my house that's not too bad, but I'd like to learn watercolor, and other mediums. I'm fairly political, too; current events draw me like a moth to flame.

Where in Florida do you live?
 Jacksonville; I've been here for 20 years! It's a close second to my childhood home of Columbia, S.C. Anywhere I go, I love the people. It's always people for me. The beach is nice, and the parks. The St. John's River is a bonus, too. Just a gorgeous city...

Could you recommend a fun activity near your Fl home that other members might enjoy?
St. Augustine and the beaches are too nice to ignore! If you're spending time here, I recommend a beach condo in St. Augustine, and then you could take a week to explore the historical sites and flavors. Plus we could meet for lunch!!

What are some other sites to find out more about you and your art?
my Facebook Fan page

Is there a funny/touching/sad story behind any of your items?
My maternal grandfather was a jeweler, and he worked with semiprecious and precious stones. Every time I craft something I think about him. He might not have been crazy about beads, but he had an intense attention to detail and professionalism that I admired, and it remains an inspiration to me today. My father was in business for himself, and I feel a connection to him when I'm working with my craft. I understand his drive, and his commitment, more when I'm busy doing what I love, just like he did. They both put their hearts into their work, and I've learned from that.

Last year I responded to a custom request for a lady whose baby, yet unborn, had a fatal deformity that would limit her life to a span of minutes or hours when she was born. The request was to create something for the mom as a keepsake or a memento that she could have and hold. I made a pendant with a flower, and the little girl's name inscribed. It was a labor of love. Her daughter lived for 45 minutes in the arms of her parents. I have four healthy beautiful children, and her story really moved me. I could not nor would have considered payment for the pendant. The very next week I was able to make a pendant for a soldier serving in Afghanistan -- it had his bride's name on it, and his sister sent it to him as a gift. That was another one I could not resist. It had Pay-it-forward written all over it.

How has the experience of handcrafting things for people?
People are so interesting! I've had mostly a positive experience with my sales on Etsy, even the custom items. I normally work with my customers extensively before I get started on their order, and most of the time things turn out the way we both envisioned. I like interacting with my customers at shows, too, where I can see their reactions and get their feedback on things.

What animal would you like to be for one day and why?
I've always wanted to fly. Probably an Eagle or an Osprey.

What “super” power would you like to have and why?
I'd have to say "super fast powers" - my little guy thinks he has that I can clean my house lickety split and have more time for crafting.

Where would you go if you had a time machine and why?
I'd go back to the Sermon on the Mount, and be part of the crowd. Or the upper room, on Pentecost. Two pivotal moments in world and eternal history, and just to be OR, to a lesser extent, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed; or the Constitution was ratified by the 13th colony. The world changed those days, too.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
I went sky-diving three times, that was fun...

Tell more!~~
In 2003, I listed a personal profile on At the time, I thought I was out of my mind -- it was just as intense as the first time I jumped out of an airplane -- the result was the day I met my husband for lunch, my first date after my divorce. I was shaking in my shoes, and scared to death!! It turned out well, though ;)

If you were a dessert what would it be?
Mud Pie...Coffee Ice Cream, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Oreo Crust, whipped cream, cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top. YUMMY! It has everything... it's the total package!

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Etsy on Facebook

Are you on Facebook? Most likely, yes! But if you haven't set up a fan page yet, now is the time to do it! Particularly if you are using the 'My Etsy' application on your profile. As of November 3, Facebook will be removing application tabs from profiles and Etsy has already disabled this application for profiles. Fortunately, you will still be able to install it on your fan page. If you aren't familiar with the application, it is an Etsy storefront on Facebook that links to your shop. A forum that walks you through the setup is on Etsy, just follow the setup for a fan page, not a profile!
If you need to set up a fan page, keep in mind that when you publish it, you can't change the name, you would have to delete the page and start over. Another important note is that there is a scroll box that offers choices for your page category, otherwise the default is chosen, and again this cannot be changed! Once you have at least 25 fans, you can choose a username for your page to eliminate the long url address, making it easier for people to find you.
If you aren't actively marketing on Facebook, you should! Those of you who are, know by checking your reports on Google Analytics how much of your traffic is directed from Facebook. Our Seller Solutions page has links to excellent articles on optimizing your fan page to engage fans and for advertising on Facebook, which is very affordable. With so much competition to stand out on Etsy, Facebook provides an excellent way to target an audience for your specific product.

*Note:  Right after I posted this I found a great article on Handmade Spark: Using Facebook Insights to Target Your Customers!
Share your Facebook page and any suggestions you might have in the comments below!

Vote for your Favorites in the October Challenge

We're doing it a little differently this month - each voter will be able to vote for more than one - so if you like several, you can vote for them all! Voting ends October 31st at midnight! The winner gets their choice of a blog interview or an etsy mini for the month. Have fun!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy {belated} Birthday Gari Anne

We all hope that Gari Anne had a fabulous birthday yesterday.  Cheers to many many more!
Gari Anne's Etsy shop is Bead Lovers Korner where you will find an amazing selection of beads, clasps, and beaded jewelry.  Currently, she has an entire section devoted to Halloween!  

(the pictures are clickable... so please, feel free to go check them out)

Friday, October 8, 2010 is a pretty cool site, they offer Etsy sellers a simple way to view things like who hearts you and your shop statistics, we've seen these things right.
There is an Inventory helper, which is an Excel file download (csv format) of your current listings as it is returned by the Etsy API. You can open it in MS Excel or OpenOffice. It contains the columns Listing Id, State, Title, Creation Date, Number of Views, Price, Expiration Date, Quantity, Section Title, Sold?, Listing Fee, Selling Fee, Shipping Fee, and Date Sold. Use it to keep track of your inventory.

Also offers you a simple way to pull up an item in your shop (it carries over your listings for you) and with a simple click you can create a flyer to print and use. It also allows you to edit your listings description and cost for the flyer: very cool!! But even COOLER is the slide show widget - (*so exited*), they automatically pull up all of your Etsy listings and put it in a slide show, you need only copy and Post the html into your blog layout!! YOU HAVE GOT TO TRY IT!!! I did it in 2 minutes: REALLY!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Are You Thinking Pink?

October may boast the colors of Autumn leaves, but the hottest color of the month these days is Pink! Founded in 1985, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was established to promote the use of mammography for early detection, and after 25 years, has evolved into a partnership of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services. The 'Pink Ribbon' became a symbol of hope for the first time in 1991 when the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out Pink Ribbons to participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors. Then in 1993, Evelyn Lauder, Senior Corporate Vice President of the Estée Lauder Companies founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and established the Pink Ribbon as its symbol. Now it is recognized worldwide as an icon of strength, courage and survival!
'Think Pink' is a powerful catch phrase that has become the mantra of October, and the theme of many events, fundraisers, musicians, artisans, writers and celebrities.
One writer, inspired by her sister's fear and confusion when faced with her first visit to an oncologist, wrote a frank and straightforward book called 'The Little Pink Purse of Courage'. Patricia Edwards wanted to alleviate some of the stress and provide a bit of courage to women facing one of the most difficult times of their lives, and at the same time raise money for research and, ultimately, provide 'The Little Pink Purse of Courage' to women who may not have the financial means to afford it. You can give the gift of  'Courage' to someone you know by clicking on 'the pink purse'!
Florida has hundreds of events taking place all around the state this month, some of which you can find through links on our new 'Go Team FEST!' page. Other ways we as artisans show support are countless 'Think Pink' inspired creations on Etsy this month. Even our own members of EtsyFEST have shared a few in our curated treasuries. Please take the time this month to help promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month by attending an event, purchasing a fundraising gift or work of art or just showing love to someone you know who has survived!

'National Breast Cancer Awareness Month' by collagical

EtsyFEST Thinks Pink! Just a few pink treasures by our members...

Pink Ribbon Mosaic Pend...

Breast Cancer Awareness...

Bria a Breast Cancer Aw...

Generated using Treasury HTML code generator by Whale Shark Websites.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Congratulations to Audreygardenlady! She is the winner of the challenge with her Blue Belles Earrings! Audrey gets to choose her prize - either a FEST Blog interview, or her etsy mini posted on the blog for a month!

And now it's October - time for a New Challenge! This months' themes are Opal (October's Birthstone) or Symmetry/Asymmetry. Hmmm, a very interesting theme - can't wait to see the entries! Here's the link to post your entries: