I started blogging in July, when I started my Etsy shop. I made them to go together. My main purpose for my blog was to talk on and on about my shop. I tried it, and it didn’t work. No one was interested, not even me. So in the end I started blogging about my life, Etsy and craft, and I feel it’s a little more successful now ^^
As for my shop, I don’t really know why I started, in truth. I never made anything that was amazing and had my friends and family tell me I should sell it. I never opened my shop to make lots of money. I opened it because I loved Etsy, and had made many purchases. Originally I only made an account to buy with, so I was stuck with the name “blacklava”. I soon made a new account to sell and buy with instead (this was before you could change your name), and added new items slowly – to about the same degree I do now. Infrequently. Not because I don’t care, purely because I don’t want to use rubbish ideas. If I don’t like it, I won’t make it.
They’re not usually based on something that’s popular. I’m not always keen on trends, and the only time I’ll put something together under pressure is if something I love is currently trending and I don’t want to miss the boat. I always come in when it’s too late. I started to get into fashion a few years ago, and I never liked long gypsy skirts. Then when I decided I did, POOF, gone. Same with long-bodied tops. I have an awkward body shape, so long tops suit me better. Fortunately, they’ve become more common lately so I’ve been stocking up! But I’m rambling.
My jewellery is based on my own personal interests. I love space, so I made my celestial necklaces and rings. I love dinosaurs, so I made my dinosaur skull necklaces. And I love getting mail, so I made my envelope rings and necklaces. Most other items in my shop share a similar story.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far has been, with my blog, myself. I give up easily with things, so when I was starting to blog and I had no followers and no comments on any of my posts, it really felt like no one was listening. I worked through it, though, and now my blog has content, it looks alright (though I’m quite fickle when it comes to design – I designed it last month and I’m ready to change it again!), and it has a hundred followers. I still don’t get many comments and I think most of those followers were gained due to giveaways, but I feel like people listen now, and I’ve also started to blog for my own sake anyway. Now, if people are listening, great! If not, I’ll carry on anyway, and I’ll just have to come up with some better tutorials to get their attention.
As for my shop, my biggest challenge has actually been making ideas a reality. I get some nice ideas for jewellery from time to time which just end up being a lot more difficult to create than it seemed. I’ve been sitting on a few ideas for months because I’m trying to find a way around them, and it can be quite frustrating, especially when I’m not coming up with any other ideas.
The biggest motivater…motivator…the best thing that motivates me is natural sunlight, around this time of year. I’m a winter person – you can always add more layers to keep warm, but you can’t peel your skin off to keep cool – but the sunlight that pours into my bedroom/workplace around spring and summer makes me want to create – anything and everything. It’s a great feeling. And when the sunlight has gone (which is most of the time, in Bristol), then chocolate is a good enough substitute.
The best piece of advice I can offer isn’t something I was told by anyone, it was something I’d heard. I thought it was some philosophised saying from a hundred years ago, but when I searched it, it doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s: Happiness is a choice. I’d heard it plenty of times in my life, and always thought it was rubbish. But I like to think I’ve become more level-headed given what I have to deal with on a daily basis with my mother, so when I heard it last, a couple of weeks ago, it suddenly clicked. It really is that simple. It’s not a case of forcing yourself to be happy, either, it’s a case of letting yourself. If you’re agitated about something, you can just let it go. Anger isn’t as easy, especially if you’re proud/stubborn like I am, but you can let that go too. No, the happiness you’ll let yourself feel will be more like relaxation compared to the happiness you’d feel as a result of something (a big sale through Etsy, finding a £20 on the floor, being told “I love you” for the first time), but it will still be easier to smile. I’ve been trying to follow this advice lately, and I feel like I’ve been more relaxed.
The second best piece of advice came from my boyfriend: tie ribbon around the scissor handle. They always walked off! They don’t anymore 😀
Erm…I have no idea! I don’t really find inspiration, I just get a new idea every now and then. Maybe I’ll see something in a video game and make it, or perhaps I’ll see an unusual item used as crafting material (the best so far are book pages) and try it myself, or sometimes I’ll just see something that is amazing and makes me jealous so I’ll try something in the same vain – never the same thing, though. There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. I’d be pretty annoyed if I found someone posting a tutorial on how to make one of my best selling pieces, or found someone else making the same thing. My work is mostly unique (some pieces may crop up elsewhere, or are too simple for me to expect others to not come up with), so if someone copied me, I’d know it.
Chocolate. Always chocolate. I’m sure it’s extremely common, even cliché, but it’s true. And there is a darn good reason that it’s cliché. I’m always trying to lose weight, and while I feel I’ve gotten somewhere with it, I cannot cut chocolate out. Especially if it’s Galaxy.