Hot Topics:

Inspired Creations

Jewelry designer blends inspiration, perspiration in 'best job' ever.

“Whisper a wish to a butterfly, and it will fly up to heaven and make it come true.” “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”

These are just two of the quotes and phrases that decorate the bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry featured in Lemonberry Studios on Etsy, a store that offers inspirational jewelry, jewelry totes and carrying cases.

Jan Crum opened the shop two years ago after selling high-end cosmetics on eBay. She found Etsy as she was researching different marketplaces—something she does regularly to see what options she has as a merchant.

She liked the look of Etsy and thought it was “a very easy place to set up shop,” she notes. Plus, the venue seemed more geared toward smaller sellers like her.

“My observation is that, these days, [eBay] seems very much geared toward the super-big players and not that friendly to smaller businesses like mine,” she explains. “There’s a huge amount of competition and high fees, and jewelry sells for very low prices there.”

“I have a social and behavioral health degree, so creating inspirational jewelry is the perfect melding of my education and skills”

A niche within a niche

Crum makes the jewelry she offers in her store. Her best friend, Barb Johnson, who joined Lemonberry a year ago, creates the totes and carrying cases.

Knowing that many merchants deal in bracelets and necklaces, Crum knew she needed to do something different.

“I had to find a niche within the jewelry-selling arena,” she explains. “I have a social and behavioral health degree, so creating inspirational jewelry is the perfect melding of my education and skills.”

The artisan, who began making jewelry in 2010, says she likes hearing how much her pieces mean to buyers. Some give them to people as gifts to celebrate special occasions, others to comfort those who are sick or going through difficult circumstances, and “need motivation and encouragement.”

The name Lemonberry goes along with the shop’s inspirational theme, providing an uplifting name that’s vague enough so it doesn’t tie Crum to one product line, should she decide to sell other items in the future. For a seller who’s constantly looking at trends and researching the market, that’s a good thing.

“A name like Jan’s Jewelry would simply be too limiting,” Crum adds.

Inspiring inspiration

Crum says making jewelry is “pretty organic.”

“It’s really my customers who are my inspiration,” she adds.

The seller begins creating a piece by choosing a style she likes that’s also popular. She then adds her own twist, and allows customers to participate in the design process if they want by telling her what quote, saying or date they want engraved on the piece.

“The end product is a piece of jewelry that is very unique, personal and meaningful,” she says. “I also have readymade bracelets available, where I use various popular quotes.”

Johnson, who works part time on Lemonberry, gets inspiration for her totes and carrying cases by thinking of the hobbies people enjoy, and finding patterns that complement those activities.

“Some themes that have become customer favorites include coffee lovers, shoe aficionados and even rodeos girls!” Crum tells us.

Crum, a full-time seller, says she always knew how rewarding it could be to own her own business, but she never thought it would happen with jewelry—or online, for that matter.

“I have dabbled in various online pursuits like freelance writing, affiliate marketing, blogging and selling on eBay, but the jewelry business is really the best fit for me,” she says.
“Online selling entails so much more than appears on the surface. It’s not simply taking photos, listing products and waiting for sales”

Attracting buyers

Crum notes that incorporating good search engine optimization techniques into her store has helped buyers find her products, while eye-catching photos attract shoppers to her pieces, but customer service is what keeps them coming back.

Surprisingly, though, when we asked Crum what her specialty was as a merchant, she didn’t say customer support. She said it was her researching skills.

“This skill helps me with many different aspects of my business,” she explains. “I study the market for trends, source unusual components, look endlessly for the lowest price for raw materials, keep up on current social networking venues and am always investigating various places to sell online.”

‘The best job’

It shouldn’t surprise anyone then that her advice to others who are thinking about starting their own online business is to learn everything they can about selling online before they start.

“That way your business will be built upon a solid foundation of research and education,” she explains. “Realize that online selling entails so much more than appears on the surface, and it’s not simply a matter of taking photos, listing products and waiting for sales. You must be comfortable with researching, sourcing, designing, photography, writing, social networking, customer service, accounting, inventory, bookkeeping and organization.

“I wish someone had told me that being serious about selling online meant that, if I was not careful, it would take over my life, that 60- to 80-hour work weeks are the norm, not the exception, and that part-time efforts do not reap full rewards,” she continues. “However, those rewards are most definitely worth it. Owning my online business is the best job I’ve ever had!”

Visit Lemonberry Studios.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of TheOnlineSeller.com. In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.



Newsletter Signup

Subscribe!