I’ve been admiring Beth’s work at Hint on Etsy for several months now. Her talent and good intentions seem to shine in each of her handmade charms. She writes an intriguing blog titled hint jewelry, where it becomes obvious that she takes great care and pride in everything she does. She generously shares her hand cast charm-making techniques, and she even discusses business strategy in articles like How to get over 1000 page views on a blog post. So, without further ado, enjoy the interview!
Please describe your “zone.” What does your office look and feel like? What’s your mood like when you’re producing your charms?
My workspace is functional and cozy all at the same time. I have a large picture window where I look out at the birds and a fireplace nearby to keep me warm. The kitchen is close so I can bounce back and forth between working on my computer, making jewelry, and grazing on food. I’m planning to hang more landscape paintings this winter to add more color to my walls.
My design process for making charms takes a couple of months. First I do research, make sketches, finish my design in Adobe Photoshop, have a rubber stamp mold made, and finally complete my master model in metal clay. The most important part is being in the right frame of mind to make my charm model out of Art Clay Silver. If I’m irritated, tired, or frazzled I don’t even attempt the process because it requires calm, focused energy. Usually I like playing CD’s when I make artwork, but I’ve found that music and pressing metal clay charms doesn’t work well together, so I’ve opted for a quiet and meditative space while working.
Let’s talk about writing. I really enjoyed poking through both your blogs, hint jewelry (I could explore the color and prose all day) and XOXO Dogs (where you discuss philanthropy and highlight the charitable causes that you give back to—lovely idea!). How much time and energy would you say you invest in writing every week?
For my blogs, I used to do all my writing on Mondays and set aside at least 5 hours for crafting my posts. This past year has been somewhat more spotty since I’ve been devoting most of my time to my writing my book Lemonade Mantras. My blog is the heart of Hint Jewelry, and I realize now it was an important business decision to invest so much energy for it attracted a group of like-minded people who are all interested in the same things, and who keep me motivated to make more art and explore new adventures. Some days when I don’t know what I’m doing or I forget my way, someone will connect with a blog post and send me some positive thoughts that keep on track. Writing a blog is something that has given back to me more than I could have ever imagined. I see my blog as the living room for my business — the place where I welcome people and invite them to share in the common beliefs that are the foundation of Hint Jewelry.
I’ve never heard a blog writer make blog writing sound so appealing! Do you have a launch date for your book, Lemonade Mantras?
Lemonade Mantras is the root of everything that I’ve been exploring in the last five years. It’s about using uncomfortable moments in your life where you feel hurt or angry and discovering the message that bridges the gap between what your mind is thinking and what your heart is truly wanting. It changes your relationship with yourself and in turn affects your relationships with other people in a positive way. Lemonade Mantras is a powerful tool for building awareness and a process that transforms lives. I’m looking forward to seeing where Lemonade Mantras leads after it’s published. My current launch date is set for January 1, 2012.
Where can we get a copy?
Look for information for where to purchase my e-book or hardcopy at www.bethhemmila.com in January 2012.
Is your creative business a full-time job for you?
I work full-time doing Hint Jewelry and found that it is the best medicine for staying in tune with myself. It gives me the freedom to explore creativity, connect with many different people, enjoy the beauty of outdoors, and do as much yoga as my body desires.
I went back to your first sale on Etsy, July 10, 2008. Do you remember what it felt like?
I’ll never forget!! That was the best feeling in the world and especially because it featured the Tree of Life. No one besides my friends and family had ever purchased my work, so when a woman from Spain wanted to wear Hint Jewelry’s Tree of Life, it was like falling in love for the first time with art all over again. Everything I was doing started to make sense and this lovely woman gave me the first brick in my foundation for exploring creativity with more confidence.
You’ve made more than 3,400 sales on Etsy. That’s amazing! Do you feel that the higher your sales, the more momentum your online shop has?
Wow, I hadn’t thought about the numbers too much lately and how that changes my business. My sales have felt fairly steady over the last two years, and I’m incredibly grateful to the many long-lasting relationships that Hint Jewelry has generated in my life. My sales seem to ebb and flow with my mood. If I am enthusiastic, and I have a lot of positive energy, people drop by my shop more often. On the other hand when I’m needing some rest and downtime, my sales seem to slow down.
That’s a great way to explain the ebb and flow of any shop! What has been your most profitable marketing strategy for Hint?
This holiday season I decided to test out Etsy’s Search Ads. So far this option has been working well for me because I’ve figured out which pieces are my best sellers and incorporated keywords that move my listings to the top of the search engine. I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in sales by following the statistics for these Search Ads.
Do you sell your charms anywhere else outside of Etsy?
Nope. I’ve found that the Etsy community connects with my work the best.
What piece of advice would you offer somebody who is just starting out on Etsy and waiting for their first sale?
Focus on creating relationships in communities that need or appreciate your work. These relationships can be cultivated through interest groups, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. The more you create authentic relationships surrounding your work, the faster your work will be found by the people who are looking for it.
What has been your proudest handmade moment?
When my necklace called Returning was purchased by a dear Etsy friend. This necklace came together without any real planning involved. I remember sitting in my dining room looking out at the yard and just putting all the pieces together in one fluid process. The message and story of the pigeons in my yard was so intricately woven into my heart, I wasn’t even thinking anyone would purchase this piece and then when it happened I was totally surprised.