As many of you know, each month we feature an entrepreneur and interview them. We love to hear about how they run their business, how they got started, and what their future plans are. We always feel so inspired afterwards.
Today’s interview is with Victoriana Glen, and I think you are going to like it…
Tell us a little about you and what you do:
Hello, my name is Victoria and I’m a craftaholic. Honestly though, I love crafting, I love making jewelry and I love making things for people. If you are very close to me at all you have probably received absolutely random gifts throughout the year because my love language is gift giving!
I have a fabulously handsome and hard-working husband, a 6 year old daughter (stunning, if I may say so haha) and a very curious and sweet 5 year old little boy. We live in the Houston, Texas area (please no one say Yee-haw! or Hey Y’all! in your heads when you read that) and all enjoy the outdoors and fun projects!
As far as my jewelry is concerned I make hand-stamped customized jewelry. I do necklaces, key chains, bracelets, earrings and adjustable rings. I can stamp any word, name, date, quote, scripture, lyric, etc on to just about anything metal and we can turn it into a fun, customized piece for yourself or someone you’d like to give to.
I get lots of requests from moms for necklaces with their kid’s names on them or items for Grandparents with the grandchildren’s names on them. Lots of quote bracelets, especially around book-to-movie release dates (Think Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Divergent, etc). The possibilities are endless! I can take a sketch and turn it into something for you so you don’t necessarily have to choose something from a design already posted in my shop. You can send me a link to something that inspires you or something you like that you’d like me to recreate and/or modify to suit your personality better or we can just start from scratch with all that you know is that you want a key chain I work one-on-one with my customers and we create something awesome together!
When did you start your business?
I had some people asking me to make pieces for them in 2012 but didn’t really kick things off until summer of 2013 when I turned my old hair accessory Facebook page into my jewelry page instead and my audience grew significantly! So I guess I would technically consider 2013 to be my first year of business.
How did you get started?
I actually started making jewelry because I saw a piece online that I LOVED but thought the price was outrageous. (And looking back now, it really was!) and I thought, “I bet I could make that!” So I did a bunch of research and bought some beginner tools and was able to teach myself over the course of a couple months. I started posting things that I had made for myself and everyone was very supportive and encouraging so I bought more supplies and better tools and kept at it and kept going! It’s such a fun hobby for me and I LOVE to see (or read) the reactions when someone sees their custom piece for the first time! Ah, it just gets to me and I am so, so happy that I can create something for someone that means so much to them.
Walk us through a typical day for You:
I typically spend my early mornings answering emails, order questions and sending invoices. Once the kids are up we eat breakfast, do some schooling, take a break and have a snack then do some more schooling until lunch. After lunch it’s “quiet time”…better known as the time that “mommy has to go to work”. They get to go play upstairs with their toys while I crank out as many orders as I can in a couple hours. We break and have a snack and usually go for a walk down to the mailbox, come back and all do our daily chores so the house is kept up with and then I start making supper while they go play outside. Husband comes home, we eat, maybe go for a family bike ride, get them ready for bed, then he and I workout together, go to bed then start all over again. I have to try and keep that schedule as much as possible or my days get really crazy.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
Several places but I find that browsing Etsy gets my creative juices flowing. I see lots of pieces that I like and I use some of the base idea and then blend some of my own ideas into it to make something unique. Also, many people that order with me already have an idea of what they want. Either they found something online they would like for me to recreate/modify or they have drawn a sketch and from that I can create a custom item for them. Some of my customers have sketched up some really fun stuff and once they’ve given me the idea for their piece it’s fun to use those ideas to branch out and mix ideas from items I have already made and make more new designs.
Do you have a favorite item?
Honestly? This may sound morbid and I don’t mean it to at all, but I really find that when I do memorial pieces they mean so much to me. These people come to me so sad, so broken and ask me to make them something for them to remember their lost child or mother or husband and it breaks my heart. I feel so, so blessed that they could have gone to anyone, anywhere but they chose me. *I* get to make this piece for them that will help them remember and celebrate that person. *I* get to create this precious token for them to wear daily for a long, long time. I can whip up a necklace with a giraffe on it any day and that’s all fine and dandy but when someone comes to me with a story and an idea I am ALL over that. I know it will never get tossed in the back of the closet or given away as a re-gift. They want that piece. Some of them *need* that piece and I love being a part of that. And don’t get me started on their reactions when they see their proof photo. Ah.. I could just cry. And I have. And I love it.
What sets you apart?
I would say that I try to add as much personal touch and interaction as possible. I want to be there for the customer and I want to really understand what they want. That’s part of what’s been holding me back from a website. I feel like that cuts out the personal touch and I wonder if I could get as good of a gauge of what people want if I wasn’t messaging back and forth with them throughout the process? I send photos throughout, I give them more options if I have them, I hear their story or their motive behind a piece and it inspires me. I want them to feel like they are contacting the company and getting a human and not telephone prompts.. you know? I like dealing with companies where I feel like I am a real person and a real customer and not just another number in line. I hope that others feel the same and feel like they are getting that personal attention when they come to me.
Where can our readers find your shop and products?
Right now I just have my Facebook business page and then I also post pictures on Instagram but try to take all of my orders via Facebook so they are all in one spot. I plan to make a website as many people have asked if I have one. The best and easiest way is to go to my FB page, VictorianaGlen and sift through the photo albums. When you first click “photos” on the main page facebook just takes you to a bunch of random pictures.. I hate that. So you have to go to the top and click Albums and THEN you can easily see what I’ve got. I try to sort things as frequently as possible into their respective albums but sometimes I get behind so be sure to also check out the “Timeline Photos” album for items I’ve posted straight to the page but haven’t sorted yet. I’m always open to new ideas, designs or even if you just want to send me a sketch and see if I can turn it into a piece for you – I’m totally cool with that! I do it alllllllll the time! Just message me on Facebook and let me know what you’d like and as much detail as you can and I will ask any remaining questions I need to make it happen. Then we discuss pricing, send and pay invoices through Paypal and I get to work! Easy peasy
What advice would you offer newbies or those looking to start an Etsy shop?
I’ll answer the question towards newbies since Etsy wasn’t very nice to me when I first set up my shop and was difficult to deal with so I closed my shop and just started the FB page instead. My advice for those who are new to a hobby or idea they want to turn into a business is that I would say go with your gut. Don’t second guess your abilities or your talents. If you want to do it, DO IT! It might take a year or two years or 5 years to save up money for tools or materials or classes or whatever you need but if you love it and it makes you happy there’s no reason you shouldn’t go for it. I had to save up for my nicer tools and that’s okay! I had to ask random shop owners on Etsy questions and many times didn’t get any help or response at all, and that’s okay. Keep asking. Ask someone else. Get your friends and family to give you their honest opinion on your work. If people are willing to pay you for something you would do for free then you know you’re on the right path!
Isn’t she inspiring? I just loved the necklace I received from her, and you will be able to see a full product review on the blog next week. So be sure to check back then, and of course, later this month a giveaway!!