"There are five important things for living a successful and fulfilling life: never stop dreaming, never stop believing, never give up, never stop trying, and never stop learning."
Our next conversation is with a small business owner who has finally decided that she is the happiest when following her passion with the full support of her beautiful family! Meet Claudia from DutchBeadedJewelry, who gets inspired by both nature and her two little daughters. Claudia has her biggest support and critic in them as they are always willing to model as well as tell her what they think of her jewelry!
Read on to know this cheery personality that even shows up in her colorful creations.
Your shop gives out such a bright and sunny vibe, Please do tell us what it is about and how you came up with it?
When I started my jewelry making business, I looked up to all the designers on Insta and Etsy. I never could believe I could be one of them. But then I just realized I have to give it a shot! I started my Dutch Beaded Jewelry IG page and after a few weeks, I opened my Etsy Shop. To be honest, it was quite some work to figure out how it all works.
How was your initial experience? I can see that you have come out successful.
I can remember when I reached 300 followers, I was so proud! And my first sales on Etsy, all overseas. I could not believe people buy my jewelry, I was so excited! It gave me faith and I finally truly believed in myself.
I started to attend fairs as well. It was a lot of work to prepare a good stand. But it is so much fun! Meanwhile, I felt adopted in the IG community with a lot of supporting designers! People are so nice. But, as I am a Dutchy, I later realized everyone tries to be friendly, even if your designs sometimes are not that inspiring. So always check your statistics and your bestsellers!
Also, tell us more about yourself. Any major change in your personality and life as you started selling?
I am a mother of 2 sweet girls. My husband is a Mate on the biggest crane vessel in the world. He is away every 5 weeks. That makes me an independent woman. It feels great to be successful, not only in my marriage and my part-time job but also in my passion, my jewelry. I am not even near perfection, let’s make that clear. Sometimes I am too busy, making jewelry next to your ‘normal life’ is time-consuming. But then again, you are worth it. That is what I realized in the past 1.5 years since I started my business. I am worth it to have this all to myself and be proud of it too.
I am sure you have supporters, but do you have a team, or is it a one-woman army.
My business is a one-man show. But when I go to markets my friends and even my husband and little girls (4 and 6) will be joining to help me and support me. They know a lot about gems too now.
So where do you find the inspiration for your creations and photographs?
My inspiration comes from almost everything. Nature, seasons and of course the internet. I think we all get inspiration from each other, without copying of course.
My photography skills have improved a lot. I started ‘just’ taking some pictures, but realized that was not good enough to get sales. I have a portable photo booth, but I prefer to photograph outside. Mostly in my garden, or near my house. I also photographed in the park and across my street. I use no filters! People should honestly see what they are getting. I only adjust the lightning a little sometimes. I try to keep it ‘simple’, no distraction.
Is there a quote or a saying that motivates you? Tell us about it too.
When I was younger (I am 40 now) I had a quote: "no stress, be sexy". But now I am a mom, it is getting inappropriate haha.
How do you connect with your followers?
I try to be connected with my fans/followers. Unfortunately, I cannot follow everyone back. That would be too much to keep up to. But it works 2-ways, I have to give something back too. I love to support other designers. And for my returning customers I try to arrange discounts. Although they realize that handmade jewelry is not for free. It takes a lot of work (and money) to purchase the right materials. I ship everything myself too, it just takes a lot of time.
When you start a jewelry business (or maybe any kind of business) Be true to yourself and treat people like you want to be treated. I love people being supportive of me, as much as I love to support other people too.
Your message to people then, who are thinking of going into jewelry creation and are meaning to sell it?
If you are thinking about making and selling jewelry, just go for it. If you have a low budget, start with some similar designs. I started to make everything at once, and I was not distinctive enough. If I would have to start over, I would keep it more simple If people see my pictures now, they can see it in my work. But it took me quite some time to get there.
You can follow and check on her beautiful jewelry pieces at www.instagram.com/dutchbeadedjewelry/