Until September 2007, Jess of Epheriell didn't think of herself as a creative person. She was the scientist, the logical, rational person, and never felt fulfilled. A trip to Fiji with her husband and the gift of a book from a fellow traveler inspired her to knit, and that's where it all began. She discovered a love for creating, making and working with her hands. The empty part of her self was finally filled, and the rest, as they say, is history. Jess is now a full time, self proclaimed "crazy-devoted crafty businesswoman and handmade advocate!".
Read on to learn about how she grew her business, what advice she has for other artists and where she's headed next. You can also enter to win a gift certificate to her shop!
Where are you from originally and where do you currently call home?
I am from the gorgeously warm and sunny Australian city of Brisbane, in Queensland. Currently my husband Nick and I are staying with my folks in my childhood home, while we simultaneously plan a camper-van trip around Australia AND the new house we're building on acreage out here in the countryside north of Brisbane.
How long have you been selling on Etsy?
I've been selling my jewellery on Etsy since October 2008. I began - like many others - selling my work to just get rid of all this stuff I was making as a hobby! However, not too long after that I took a course in silversmithing, and it all got a bit more serious.
Do you sell on Etsy full time or do you have a day job?
My creative business is my full-time occupation at the moment (I have a few other projects on the go as well as my jewellery business - such as launching *bespoke* zine!). As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I are planning a trip around Australia in the campervan we fitted out ourselves. We were supposed to have left in February, but I've unfortunately had a sequence of dental problems that have held us up. However, the bright side of this is that I've been in the fortunate position to be able to devote myself to my business full-time for the last 6 months or so!
What, if any, formal training have you had in your craft?
I have taken an introductory silversmithing course. Other than that, I am totally self-taught. I would love to take some more courses in future - I would especially love to learn how to do lost-wax casting with silver.
What made you decide to open up shop on Etsy?
Well, I came across Etsy by accident, and fell in love with it instantly! It seemed pretty easy to set up shop there, so when it was a hobby, that's where I started. I now sell there, on my own website, and a number of other places!
Where did your shop name come from?
I came up with the word 'Epheriell' many years ago, and have used it online a lot. When I started my jewellery business and blog, it just seemed like the natural choice. It's a mash-up of the words 'ethereal' and 'ephemeral', with a bit of crazy spelling in there for good measure. On the downside, it's hard for people to spell - on the other hand, it's a totally unique business name, and I won't ever get confused with anyone else!
What inspires you?
I am constantly inspired by all the wonderful crafty friends I have made online. Their creativity, moxie, energy and perseverance are a constant inspiration! As for my work - I can't honestly say I know where I get my inspiration. I'll just have these moments when ideas come into my head, and I run with it!
What do you like least about your craft?
Oh, this is easy - FILING! And I don't mean the paper type :) A vast majority of my sterling designs involve very fiddly, time-consuming filing to smooth the ends of things... and that's the task I least look forward to.
Do you have any advice for other sellers on Etsy or those thinking about pursuing their craft?
Oh, yes! I've actually written an e-book called 'Etsy Success Stories' where I interviewed seven top sellers (such as Ling Glass, The All Natural Face and Larimeloom) all about their business strategies. They shared a raft of wonderful advice! I've also recently started a new blog called 'Crafting a Business' where I talk about the business and technology of running an online craft business - I've got lots of advice and ideas over there - and many more to come.
The most important advice I can give? Do something you love. Running a full-time craft business is a labor of love, and hard, long hours. If you don't love it, you will end up hating it. So pour your whole heart into making it a success!
Five Etsy Shops you love
Wow, I love SO many! But I'm going to pick 5 shops who are 1) fellow Aussies and 2) that I have bought from and loved their work (I also know all of these ladies through my Aussie Etsy Street Team DUST, and they are all amazing)!
Inner Earth Soaps - GORGEOUS handmade soaps, I absolutely adore them - handmade soaps are all I use - try her charcoal complexion soap, it's just divine for your face!
Paper by Forget-Me-Not - The sweetest eco-friendly stationery - I have lots of notecard sets from here.
Matou en Peluche - Art by Smantha Battersby - full of lovely elegant girls, and quirky fur and feathers! I have many prints from Sam.
Rainbow Revolution - Beautiful hand-dyed scarves and more, I own 2!
Joie de Tea - Heavenly handmade tea blends - my favourite is the vanilla black tea - yum!
Where is the coolest place you have ever been?
I think the most amazing place I've been is a spot in Tasmania. We were travelling in a campervan around Tassie a few years ago, and drove right out into the middle of the south-west wilderness. There is this lookout on the top of a hill - and it's a panoramic view. All around, for as far as the eye could see, were huge, glorious mountains, an enormous lake (more like a sea).. it was the most remote and beautiful place ever. I love Tasmania, I can't wait to go back for a longer visit!
What is your favorite leisure time activity?
Leisure, what's that? Seriously though, my favourite pastime always has, and always will be, curling up with a good, intelligent science fiction novel. Adore them!
Share some of your favorite music
Most of my fave music is by Australian artist. People like Sarah Blasko, the John Butler Trio, The Whitlams, Missy Higgins, and Josh Pyke.
If you could be a superhero, what would your power be?
Flight, hands down! I can't think of anything more wonderful than to be able to soar up amongst the clouds!
What would you like to learn?
I really want to learn French, and I actually started at the beginning of the year - but now I'm so busy with my business that I don't have the time! I'd like to carve out some time for this in the future.
What does the future hold for you and your shop?
I plan on growing my jewellery business - along with my other business pursuits - to the point where I never have to get a day job again! I'd love to get to the point where my business supports both me and my husband - that's the ultimate goal! And - of course - have a blast along the way.
Jess is offering one lucky winner a $40 Epheriell gift certificate!
HERE'S HOW TO ENTER:
Please leave a comment on this post with your favorite item from Epheriell along with what type of jewelry you wear most – earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc.
You may enter once per day with another item you love and YOU MUST INCLUDE your first name -AND- etsy username or email address with every entry. (If you are worried about email spam, you can spell out the 'at' and 'dot' rather than using the standard email format.)
Receive additional entries (one each) if you:
(You DO NOT need to leave separate comments for each additional entry, just mention which apply)
You have until Sunday, August 29 at 10 pm (est) to enter and I will announce the winner Monday morning. Good luck!