Welcome back! You've been missed! Once again I want to say thank you for the love and support. The comments, tweets, convos and emails have meant a lot. Thank you, thank you.
I feel so honored to have been able to interview this week's Hall of Famer. Mia is just about the sweetest gal you will meet. She runs a beautiful and successful Etsy shop, Mia Beads, filled with "freshly picked pretties." Her shop is brimming with colorful, unique pieces. Personally, I own a couple of Mia's designs and was blown away by not only the craftsmanship, but her outstanding customer service and packaging. All of this from her little attic studio!
Mia has a bit of experience under her belt, since she started creating jewelry at the age of five! She began making "real" jewelry in middle school and participated in craft shows, thanks to her creative mom and grandma, and supportive father.
I feel privileged to call her my friend and have enjoyed getting to know her better. I know you will too, so read on as Mia divulges a bit about herself (and offers one reader something lovely)...
What inspires you?
Color & nature mostly. I'm also inspired when I find a cool vintage bead or locket and I'll often build a piece around one component that I love.
Where do you call home? Are you from there originally?
I live in Western New York, where the weather is crazy and we have snow half of the year. I've driven down snow covered roads where the only thing guiding me was flares. As much as I'd love a sunny & warm climate to call home, I can't leave my family and friends!
Name something unique to where you live.
Share an interesting fact about yourself.
I get the hiccups every time I really, really laugh... and I can cross only one eye at a time.
What made you decide to open up shop?
My cousin told me about etsy and I immediately signed up after checking out the site. Two years later, while selling my jewelry locally, I finally started my etsy shop as a place to send local customers who found me at shows. I definitely wasn't expecting etsy to become my main venue, but I'm so happy it did!
Name your favorite thing about selling handmade.
I love when I get to know my customers and I think that people who buy handmade really appreciate that; I know my jewelry is going to a loving home.
Do you have a day job or sell on Etsy full-time?
I design and sell my jewelry full-time now, through etsy and my wholesale accounts. I do home parties on occasion, but mainly for friends and family. I also teach a workshop on jewelry design at the local bead shop on Thursday evenings... nice to get out of the house once in a while!
Give us a little glimpse into what a typical day in your life looks like.
I wake up and do all of the "computer stuff"; Answering emails, relisting sold items and thanking my customers, purchase supplies, type up invoices for wholesale clients & write out my orders to be shipped that day. Then I go up to my workspace to make & fill orders, print shipping labels & take everything to the post office. Once I'm done with these things I'll work on custom orders, making & listing new items, blogging, etc. When my boyfriend gets home from work, we'll make dinner and relax together. I try to stay off the computer and away from my work during this time, but I usually find something I need to do.
Share with us a favorite Etsy purchase or shop.
I love my "Live What You Love" Print from Hijirik and my Faux Bois Inspiration Board from Shabby Vintage Mom.
List a few of your most favorite pastimes.
I love cooking with my boyfriend, and spending time with him and our puppy! Concerts in the summer, dancing, hysterically funny movies, shopping for vintage goodies and doing crafty things with my mom and friends & just relaxing and having a good time with the people I love.
Read any good books lately?
I used to read constantly, but lately it's been strictly business! The last book I read was "Craft, Inc." which shares inspirational stories and interviews from successful indie entrepreneurs. It's a great book for people just starting or even thinking about selling their work, too.
If you had to describe yourself in a word, what would that word be?
Indecisive. I can't pick just one.
What is your most prized possession?
I'm pretty psyched about my autographed Bono shirt at the moment. I'm super excited to see U2 in Chicago and Toronto this fall.
What are three of your favorite foods?
Strawberry shortcake, yellow cake with chocolate frosting (both with vanilla ice cream) and chicken parmigiana.
What would you like to learn to do?
I would love to know more about graphic design. It's always been really interesting to me and sometimes I have something in my head, that I would like to turn into an image. Specifically for my blog and packaging, as well as designing things like stationary and labels. I love fonts and colors and making things pretty.
What are you listening to right now?
At this particular moment in time I can hear the tv in the background and the really annoying buzzing noise that my dryer makes, but I am listening to Modest Mouse.
Name one place you must visit in your lifetime and why.
I'd love to visit Europe; Italy, Ireland & the city of Paris. My parents backpacked through Europe when they were my age and they've always talked about it being such an amazing experience. I studied French when I was younger and although I don't remember everything, it's a beautiful, romantic language and I'd love a good excuse to practice!
Thank you to Mia for sharing with us! Please visit her blog for further inspiration, and her mom's shop that she helps out with, Paper Pumpkin, full of paper and fabric goods, and accessories.
Time for a Giveaway!!
One lucky winner will get their choice of any item from her shop valued at $18 or under. Awesome huh? There's so many great pieces to choose from - this may be hard! ;-)
What's your favorite piece from Mia's shop? To enter, please leave a comment on this post with your answer, name, and email address or Etsy username.
For extra entries you can:
Tweet this giveaway: 2 additional entries
Follow my blog and/or Mia's blog: 5 additional entries
Blog about this interview/contest: 7 additional entries
Purchase from Mia Beads: 10 additional entries
(Please include this info, if applicable, with your comment for additional entries. You do not need to leave separate comments for additional entries. Important: Don't forget to include your name and contact info!)
Contest ends Sunday, August 9th at 11:59 pm EST. Winner will be chosen by traditional drawing and will be announced Monday, August 10th.