Monday, November 18, 2013

Spotlight: Bonita Bellita

Since a young age, Stephanie has been creating with her hands, taking joy in referencing this beautiful world we live in. Today she creates rhinestone jewelry and eclectic shabby chic home decor evoking old Hollywood glamour with a modern twist.

Read on to learn more about how Bonita Bellita came to be, what advice Stephanie has for other etsy sellers and what she has planned for the future. You can also enter to win as beautiful pair of earrings and magnet set!

Where are you from originally and where do you currently call home?
I'm from Southern California, born and raised. I've moved away from the desert I grew up in closer to the ocean I love. Home is technically Fullerton, CA for now.

How long have you been selling on Etsy?
I've been an Etsy seller since May of 2010. It's been a great three and a half years so far!

Do you sell on Etsy full time or do you have a day job?
Etsy is my full time job, although I'm a full time student as well. Originally I started on Etsy for fun, and it grew until one day I had to choice to do what I love or work for someone else. It wasn't a hard decision so I left my job and plunged into Etsy. I know have the luxury of working my schedule around my studies. I'm currently studying environmental studies and marine biology.

Have you had any formal training in the arts?
I have no formal training for the arts, everything I do right now is self taught. I took a few art classes, but it was more for me to use the studio time and do what I already knew how to do. I plan to take classes for metal casting and silversmithing in the future.

What made you decide to open up shop on Etsy?
A school friend of mine opened up a shop herself, mentioning how Etsy was geared toward handmade goodness. I loved that concept and remember how both of my grandmas worked beautiful magic with their hands. I wanted to be a part of that, so I switched in my usual art medium (paintbrushes and watercolor) and began to hand sew flowers from luxurious satins and silks. That overtime let into jewelry.

How did you come up with your shop name?
Bonita Bellita is a name made of generations filled with love. The first part, Bonita, means "beautiful" in Spanish, speaking to my Mexican-American heritage. Bellita is a nod to my daughter, Isabella, as I often call her "Bella" or Bellita" which also mean beautiful or small beauty. Lastly, the "b's" make me think of my mother Bea (pronounced Bee). As soon as the name Bonita Bellita came to mind, it was a perfect fit.

What inspires you?
Memories probably inspire me the most. Nostolgia of old Hollywood glamour often shops up in my crystal jewelry, granted with a modern take. Childhood treasures can be found in my Lost Things Magnet Collections with pretty buttons, clocks, flowers, bugs, and other little findings that young eyes see as valuable. Lockets and keys are usually in my jewelry as well, for all the secrets kept hidden. Ah, the whimsical romance of it all!

What do you like least about your craft?
 want to keep a lot of what I make. In fact, I pick every color or pattern or stone based on how much I love it. If I don't love something, I don't work with it. That means making a lot of pieces I love and having to say good-bye when someone orders it and I must ship it off.

Do you have any advice for other sellers on Etsy or those thinking about pursuing their craft?
I would tell them three key points:
1) Do not focus on instant success. If you are serious about wanting to make this work, it can take time. It's absolutely worth the wait.
2) Value yourself and your work. Be fair in your pricing and do not undersell your creations.
3) Have fun. This is the best place to be able to enjoy what you do.
Oh, and I have a number four…
4) Take good photos. You don't need to be a fantastic photographer, but have good natural lighting and try a few angles. Try to capture what makes your work so unique and share that.

Five Etsy Shops you love (I know its hard!):
Etsy shops other than Lillyella, you mean? Ooh, that's tough...
Caroline from has some of my favorite pearl rings in her shop. Absolutely swoonworthy twig rings too!
La Nae from makes the most scrumptious desserts, I order from her often and even met her once!
Amy Brown from paints faeries how I've always known them to be, loved her since before Etsy existed! and her beautiful hand painted ceramics with her darling pumpkins and birds... I own a few of those myself.

Five things you love
learning something new and incorporating it into everyday life
traveling (especially abroad)
chai tea
the color teal
the ocean, specifically my beloved Pacific

Five things you don't
the phrase YOLO
celebrity worship (Kardashi-who?)
hot weather (which to me is anything over 90 degrees, only acceptable on beach days)
football (don't throw things at me *hides*)
the overabundance of selfies in social media ... I know what you look like and yes, you were cute this morning, too
(yes, I added one) pollution. Not a fan.

Share some of your guilty pleasures
Dessert is a major guilty pleasure. Also a big fan of certain shows, namely Dr. Who, Firefly, Supernatural, and shows like that. Yes, I'm that girl. I also like pattern socks, currently I'm wearing fuschia pink with little white foxes.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, with whom would it be?
Jane Austen or Josephine March (Little Women by Louise May Alcott) - those women were strong and I love it!

What would you like to learn?
Everything, I never want to stop learning! If we are talking artistically, I'd love to start getting into silversmithing in the next year. If we are talking academically, I plan to be in school for environmental studies and marine biology for the next several years. I always hunger to learn.

What does the future hold for you and your shop?
That's a secret, even to me. I know that new metalworking skills will be something I learn but there is so much I want to accomplish above that. I think that my pretty little things will find their way into more galleries and shops in the area, definitely. The rest of the future, that's a journey I'm out to discover. As for me, I'm working in my own personal life to set out on an environmentally friendly way of life. That will be a lifelong journey and delight of mine.

One lucky winner will receive the Stephanie's sparkly crystal bee earrings and adorable magnet set shown above!

Please leave a comment on this post telling us what item from Bonita Bellita is your favorite and why you love it.

You have until Monday, November 25 to enter and I will announce the winner here later that day.

In the meantime you can find Bonita Bellita here:
Thanks for visiting and good luck!


Caroline Crockett said...

I own a number of Stephanie's pieces and I cherish them all! It's hard to narrow down a favorite, but I'm crushing hard on this pair at the moment:

Um, the pink! Stunning! Great interview!

Lix said...

I love pretty much her entire shop! But if I had to pick, I think I'd go with these earrings:

Or a similar pair in different colors, maybe. :D

Anonymous said...

I like the crystal bee earrings because I love bees. maitreyi1978 at yahoo etc...

Deb (Two Cheeky Monkeys) said...

Love this earring holder because it's a great idea and a gorgeous colour!

debyeo at hotmail dot com

Sandra Smith said...

I don't own a lot of jewelry, as I'm rather fussy about it. However, that being said, I literally stopped and had to do a double take on these earrings. They are absolutely breathtaking and I simply adore them.

They are so beautiful! And my favorite color as well!

jhitomi said...

I love the Amethyst Slice necklace, gold dipped. I love amethyst, and have never seen such an unusual piece, so organic and natural in its beauty. And it looks like it's dripping at the bottom which is so cool.

jhbalvn at gmail dot com

Madae said...

Such a pretty shop! It's added to my favorites on Etsy. So many gorgeous items to choose from, but I chose these earrings as my favorite. They are so colorful and fun!

Trish said...

I love the Mint Alabaster earrings! The colors are perfect and the earrings have a vintage and elegant look to them.

Chronology said...

Beautiful shop. If I had to pick one necklace, it would be the Blue Geode. Earrings, I love the Rainbow Jewels -- they'd go with everything!

Erika Sanday said...

I love the sunshine jewels in gold earrings. Amazing colors! I'm sure they're even more stunning in the light.

Thanks for the giveaway!

erika dot sanday at gmail dot com

Chronology said...

Yay! Thank you! :)