Saturday, July 30, 2011

Our ChYMieRa speaks!!

If you've been on our team forum (which you should be!) I'm sure you've met ChYMieRa, our team leader who has been creating our treasury challenges and generously donating some of her handmade jewelry pieces to the winners. I hope you've treated yourself to a visit to her shop! ChYMieRa is also the name of her own brand of handmade, one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry. Her pieces incorporate a wide range of techniques and materials, from vintage to found objects to gemstones and raw materials such as teeth and bone.

ChY has been such a team player, stepping in as a leader and working hard on team business, all the while managing her own very successful Etsy shop, a family with four boys (!), as well as another full-time job! She has that elusive mix of skills we all need - both a talented artist and tireless promoter. And ChY is *always* there to answer a question or lend a hand. I'm in awe of this lovely woman!!!

It's high time we got to know more about her and her secrets, don't you think??? Here we go...

Dru: tell us about yourself, the mysterious force of nature known as ChYMieRa!

ChY: ~ I have never considered myself to be mysterious. Weird is more like it, and passionate. Passionate about anything that I care about, but able to turn a blind eye on things that bother me, because really, life is just too short.

Whenever someone would look down upon or judge me, it makes me rise above & be better, better than me, better than them.

I am unselfish & very giving, and I love to prove a point.

My husband calls me righteous, he tells me I have a fire within me.

To me, its more like passion or compassion. I hate bullies and I stick up for the underdog- always.

And I'm not afraid to stand up for what is right, even if I stand alone.

I generally play well with others, and when I make a friend they will be a friend for life.

Dru: how did you get your start making jewelry?

ChY: ~ I started making jewelry a few years after I started making teeth [aside: this is ChY's day job!] -- making gold teeth or a gold ring is the exact same process. There were so many experiments, I was like a mad scientist! So, even though I had schooling for teeth making, I learned how to make jewelry & set stones all on my own.

I had been doing that for several years for family & friends. One day, my neighbor told me about Etsy, it was love at first click. I knew this could be a wonderful place for me to sell my "hobby".

My art inspirations:

~ In my younger years, I was drawn to horror, vampire and macabre flicks. They evoked in me & still do, some primal force.

It's that odd, dark energy that inspires me to create macabre & creepy items.

I am also a huge fan of nature. I could be driving down the road and see a gorgeous sunset behind a weeping willow tree and be inspired to make some jewelry representing that.

My life inspirations:

~ First and foremost, my children (4 boys) are my biggest inspirations.

I always wanted them to have the best, so that meant a lot of sacrificing & hard work for me. Whenever something gets me down, all I need to think about are my kids, and then it's all good.

They are my world.

I'm also inspired to be better when a curve ball gets thrown my way.

There is always a silver lining behind every black cloud!

Drops of Saturn and Honey

Dru: what's a typical day like for you? (and how does Etsy fit into your life?)

ChY: Anywhere between 8 and 11 a.m., I will get out of bed. My day will always start with a good cup of Joe. When I'm fully awake and dressed, I check my stocks. Then I check Etsy, then my email. I cut checking facebook out, too easy to get sucked in. If I made jewelry the night before, I try to take photos in the morning light.

If I have sold something on Etsy, I will print the order, package it, stick it in my handy dandy mailing bag ( One large sturdy brown paper bag with handles, courtesy of American Eagle) and put the bag at the 'bus stop' so I can grab it on the way out. The 'bus stop' is a bench I built several years ago. It's long, wide & opens for storage. This is where coats, purses, keys, backpacks, mail, you name it gets thrown on their way out or in. Then I head to work. That could be anywhere from a 2 to 10 hour day. During sports seasons, I have to leave work early. 4 boys? Yeah you know we play sports! Then night rolls around and I check emails, etsy, etc... , by 11 p.m. my husband is telling me to go get some rest. I end up getting to sleep around 2 or 3 a.m. because something inspired me to make a piece of jewelry.

Dru: do you have any goals in mind for your Etsy business, or the Folk Reveries team?

ChY: ~ I try not to set goals. I tend to roll with the punches and take whatever life hands out to me - good or bad. To be honest, I am quite surprised at how lucrative creativity can be. When I first opened my shop on Etsy, I would go "squeee!" if I had a sale a week. Those days are over. Without divulging any stats, let's just say, doing this well with my art, makes me keep wanting to do.

When and if I decide to retire from the teeth business, Etsy could definitely be an after retirement income. As far as the Folk Reveries team, like I said before, I am very giving and I enjoy being part of something. I think it is a fabulous team with many diverse talents. I would love someday to maybe see a Folk Reveries gathering. A collective, if you will where all the active team shops come together and offer a wide array of products. Not necessarily an actual brick & mortar, but somewhat a virtual one.

Bite the Bullet

Dru: Love that idea! What first attracted you to Folk Reveries?

ChY: ~ I had been invited to them team about a year ago, before the teams became self supportive & active. But during the transition from the Etsy admin control, I somehow got lost. It took me a few months to realize it , and when I did, I asked to come back aboard. What still attracts me to the team is the personalization between everyone. There is a good number of members, but as far as the continuously active member ie: those who post in the forums, promote or make treasuries, we began to recognize each other by name. Then from there we begin to know each others lives, what we did that day, what our kids did and so on. And I love that personal feel. I'm not a clingy person at all, it's just that when I really like or respect someone they truly will know it.

I Am Coming To You

Dru: what advice would you give to new artists and team members?

ChY: When I first started the ChYMieRa shop, it took a while for me to get some sales. It is very hard to sell handmade products when you are new and have little to no feedback, so I started with selling things that I knew would sell -- antiques.

It built up some good feedback for me. Once I started listing handmade jewelry, I still occasionally listed antiques to keep views coming to the shop.

I also promoted all my handmade things. Networked to friends, family and so on. I still have to promote, but on a different level. I now pay for advertising, because the shop revenue allows for it.

My best advice for any anyone wanting to be on a team is- as a team member, become involved. Lots of times I sell things to my team mates when I am having a sale, because they are really the first ones to know of it if you post it in the forums. Start a facebook page and list one or two items a day. Connect with other local artists or actual shops to see if they do consignment. But most of all, do not give up. Starting a business is so hard, and sometimes it seems like it will just never grow. Keep your chin up, promote & when and if you have a sale, send a card with a certain percent off for their next order. You will often have repeat customers when doing this.

Lucian's Castle

What a fierce and cheeky perspective she has, wouldn't you agree?! Please join me in thanking ChY for this interview, and everything she does for us!!


Anonymous said...

wonderful interview ... ChYMieRa has been my hero for a looong time ...

she isn't just a talented, successful artist ... she's a genuinely lovely human being ...

Renee Thompson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renee Thompson said...

Thanks ChYMieRa for all your help with the Fold Reveries Team! It is great to hear a bit more about you.

rainadelmagick said...

The Folk Reveries Team is whimsical and wonderful. It is fitting to find the ever generous nature of ChYMieRa revealed here. In case some folks didn't already know how creatively inspired she is to share her time, energy and experience with all who ask. I thought I know quite a bit about you ChYMieRa, but after reading this interview I can only say you are a wonder! I am blessed to know you. rainadelmagick

earthangelsarts said...

Wonderful work! And your so inspiring! I have two lovely kids but I know how hard it is to find the time to create. My best time is in the early hours of the morning when everyone else is asleep. The creativity/right side of the brain takes over and the muse screams to be listened to!