Good afternoon Team! We have interviewed our first TeamAZ member. I introduce to you, Cara. She owns the shop Stonesofhealing2
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Tell us about yourself.
I am a stay at home mama, a wife, a writer, and a true desert rat born and raised here in Tucson. And of course, a creator of jewelry! I have one little toddler man so far and we hope to have more. I love ice cream, yoga, sunshine, hiking, Mexican food, The Arts, traveling. My two favorite places in the world so far (other than my desert home) are Belize and Edinburgh, Scotland.
What do you sell here on Etsy?
I sell gorgeous, quality, affordable gemstone jewelry, primarily mama friendly jewelry like nursing necklaces.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Who knows! Likely right where we are, hopefully with another child as well.... but just yesterday my husband and I discussed moving to Maui! We've also considered Flagstaff. One thing I love about my business is that I can take it with me and do it anywhere!
What tips can you give us that you have learned?
About life? You cannot control the world, but you can control your reactions to it! ;) As far as Etsy... Follow your inner muse and create quality items that you love! Then take REALLY GOOD photos and spend as much time as necessary to edit them, and to write and edit your descriptions. A huge part of my learning curve for selling online has been photography, and I have read endless numbers of articles and practiced practiced practiced. I am still trying to improve my photos: they are your main selling point on the internet where a customer cannot smell or feel or try on your product. Also, list or renew at least one item per week! This ensures when someone searches for your product, your item won't be buried at the end of the search results.
Who has helped you with your journey?
My family loaned me money for my initial start up costs and for that I am forever grateful. My husband helps and supports me each and every day and I would never be able to take care of our son and run this business without his limitless support and love and understanding. I also have amazing friends that have helped spread the word about my business and have also actually physically helped me with large wholesale orders! I am so fortunate to have this fabulous support system.
What got you to start making your items?
I have always made jewelry and done beading as a hobby, since childhood. After my son was born, I was not working but we were having a hard time financially and we were trying to figure out how I could continue to stay at home with him. Incidentally I was also breastfeeding him and then discovered nursing necklaces. And within a couple weeks of discovering nursing necklaces, I discovered a family friend that had all of the gemstones and jewelry supplies for this business. She was not using them and was preparing to move out of the country and wanted to get rid of it all! It all fell into place when my son was about six months old, and the rest is history.
Tell us about your typical day when you are creating.
This makes it sound like I might have whole days set aside just to create jewelry - that would be amazing! :) Maybe once my son is in school! I do most of my creating on the fly, catch as catch can: during nap time, in the late afternoon after my husband gets home but before dinner, and on the weekends here and there. Beads are not very toddler friendly and aside from the need to keep my supplies out of my toddler's reach, I find it difficult to make a necklace when he is at my knees requesting "cracka mama, cracka" or "book, please, book, please!" So I mostly create while he is napping or when my husband is home to play with him, and I reserve the nights after he is in bed to actually fill all of my orders.
Bonus question: Tell us about giving back to your community.
I feel this is incredibly important. I love that I am on TeamAZ so that I can make efforts to support local Etsy shops. I like to shop local in general to support our economy here in Arizona. I also volunteer my time as a board member for Desert Dove Farm, a non-profit here in Tucson dedicated to providing equine therapy to youth and families. And when I can afford it, I donate a percentage of my sales to non-profits/charities. I have been very fortunate in life and I am a strong believer in karma!