As our first Featured Designer, Sophine Giam is the top choice because of the quality of her works and her range of experience in making and marketing macrame jewelry and fashion accessories. She is an astute businesswoman from Singapore, happily married with children. She began selling macrame jewelry in August 2009 after she left her job of 7 years. Now her Etsy shop sells macrame jewelry as well as crochet jewelry, pet jewelry, and hair accessories.
1. How did you get started with macrame? What led you to it?
I came across a book on macrame and this led me into the interest. This is how I get started.
2. How much time do you devote to your business?
I didn’t realize until I am asked this question. I actually spent 12 hours a day! I spent it on crafting, photo taking, writing up descriptions, packaging and networking.
3. Where do you get inspirations for new designs?
From books and magazine. I love buying and collecting macrame, jewelry making related books. I get my inspiration by browsing them very often as well as magazine for the latest fashion trends.
4. What advice would you offer someone starting out on Etsy?
If you are taking your hobby into making money, you might end up with creations that you don’t like but it sells. And this hobby may also turn into a burden instead of a skill to earn a living.
If you are retired and taking it as a leisure, you may find yourself helpful in the forum to share creation tips, making new friends.
In general it isn’t easy selling online. Not just by listing up your items and wait for sale to come, unless you are born lucky. There are lots of backend works to be done, like how to take great picture, giving good titles, good descriptions, types of packaging material etc. How much are you going to invest in these expanses.
This is what I have summed up from selling online and on Etsy:
40% promoting and networking
5. Besides making macrame, what else is involved in running a craft business?
- Sourcing for affordable and high-quality supplies
- Proper book-keeping, calculating of cost and selling prices
- Printing of name cards.
- Participate in craft shows
- Maintain a proper list of your clientele.
- Keep yourself upgrade all the time.
- Be nice to other crafter, the circle is small.
6. Have you noticed a fashion trend related to macrame recently? I’m seeing shoes, belts, dresses etc. on the runways and in major fashion collections this season!
I don’t really notice. But think macrame is a classic; there is always a group of macrame fascinator who has them from fashion, accessories to house ware.
7. What is the biggest challenge for you as an Etsy designer?
To get notice, to reach out to the niche group of people who likes my creations, and I am still trying hard.
8. Are there other places besides Etsy where you recommend for selling arts related items?
Not of I know of; I have tried a few sites and Etsy is still the best venue.
9. What other types of crafts do you enjoy?
Jewelry making, crocheting, sewing and paper craft.
10. Any secret online resources for great supplies?
There isn’t any secret when it can be found online : D There are some great supplies sellers at etsy itself, or www.rings-things.com and your local bead store.
11. How long did it take you to be a full time designer?
Not very long, I was selling part-time for 8 months and there was an opportunity for me to make it full time.
That’s it folks! It’s always nice to get to know someone who can be called an artist. Designing and making macrame jewelry can take time, but the quality of work could never be sacrificed. Sophine Giam is an admirable businesswoman and an amazing designer. Check out her Etsy shop for more of her macrame jewelry designs!