This weeks featured Etsy Mama is Sueanne, designer and owner of Sueanne Shirzay Jewelry and Art.
MF: Hi Sueanne, Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your shop!
SS: I’m 45,(thank you Creme de la Mer, and Mom) born in PA, raised in Indiana, and moved to NY when I transferred colleges. I have a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. I was a magazine art director until kid #3, who I call Mini Me, came along. I live in a lovely little beach town on Long Island NY called Lido Beach. Married for almost 18 years to a man who supports my creativity & have produced 3 kids, ages 8, 12, and 15. They are in 3 different schools this year, elementary, middle, and high, so my life is a 3 ring circus and I am very fortunate that I tend to thrive on chaos. (I just noticed I’ve just mentioned “3” 4 times in one paragraph!)
I only recently started to make jewelry when I took a class in my own art gallery (just a short but rewarding venture, wasn’t open too long due to the poor economy) less than a year ago and immediately got hooked. I’ve had 4 classes, the rest is self taught and gazing at the Sundance catalogs that arrive at my doorstep weekly.
I knew I was onto something when somebody bought a piece right off my neck when I was at the hair salon one day about 9 mos. ago. I opened my Etsy shop shortly after that. I offer colorful necklaces, bracelets and earrings using colorful semi-precious stones. I’m also a painter and show in galleries locally, but I don’t have very much art in my shop right now-I really need to get on that.
MF: What are the inspirations for your designs?
SS: I really love the feel of semi-precious stones on the skin and using juicy colors, color combinations, and wire wrapping. As I am a natural colorist I tend seek that element out first before anything else when I shop for stones, clothing, shoes, bags, art, you name it. I have several friends who I run things by on occasion. If they love it too, I know I have a keeper.
MF: In your opinion, what makes the items you sell..unique?
SS: They are unique because I basically just make what I would want to wear myself, and I tend not to wear overpowering jewelry. I think you should see the woman first, not the jewelry—the jewelry should just enhance the lovely features and coloring of the woman/outfit. You won’t see me creating any Wilma Flintstone type looks! I shop all over the world for my materials via the internet. I plan to take a metalsmithing class soon and create my own pendants as well.
MF: Which items have been your best sellers so far?
SS: Most of my sales have been offline, at the (2 for the moment) boutiques that carry the jewelry and at craft fairs. By far, the most colorful items in greens, blues, purples and lemons sell the best. Also my peace sign items have done well.
MF: Do you welcome custom orders in your shop?
SS: Absolutely. I like the challenge of creating just the perfect thing for somebody who has their own creativity!
MF: Do you have any advice for other moms/women interested in starting their own business?
SS: Do what you love and the money will come is something that has always worked for me in all phases of my career. Take it slowly and make out a plan, if not on paper then at least in your head. Be conservative with finances and avoid debt.
MF: Are you offering any “special edition” items for any upcoming holidays or seasons?
SS: No, but maybe I should….
MF: What are your “words to live by”? Any favorite quotes, poems, song lyrics, etc.?
SS: It’s cheaper than Therapy and a lot more fun! LOL – That works for a lot of things in my life, art, jewelry, running, yoga, etc.
MF: Do you have any other links besides your etsy shop that you would like to share with our readers?
SS: Yes, www.artistmothersgroup.com is a group of women locally I hang out with, draw with and show with in galleries my new standalone site, opening this week is www.sueanneshirzay.com. I will keep the etsy site though.