Name: Tracy Owens Chasteen
Items you sell: One of a Kind Pottery Shard Jewelry & Whimisal Accessory Designs
What is your story, how’d you get started?
I have been doing crafts for as long as I can remember. It may have started in art class in elementary school, but I also remember spending a lot of time at home building with Tinker Toys, making homemade play dough, and even painting T-shirts with puffy paint. When I was in high school and college I was obsessed with art rubber stamps. I had thousands of them! I made cards, stationery, and even designed my own line of stamps to sell. When I moved to Austin, I never really unpacked the rubber stamps, but the amazing jewelry I’d see in all of the great indie boutiques caught my eye. I started buying beads, tools, and jewelry supplies was and my obsession with jewelry making blossomed.What’s your muse?
My muse depends on the day. Sometimes I’ll be reading a copy of InStyle magazine and I have to stop to make something that I think would be perfect with a suggested outfit. Sometimes I’ll see someone wearing an interesting color combination and I have to get to my work table to make something inspired by their creative fashion sense. And other times I am simply inspired by something I need…the perfect pair of black dangly earrings, a whimsical hair accessory for a night out, or a bold necklace that I know nobody else will have.
What are your favorite materials when creating?
I love working with pottery shards because each one is painted with a different design, giving me a lot of liberty in combining beads from the hundreds of strands of beads I’ve collected over the years. I have always loved bold and unique necklaces that make a statement, and these necklaces are definitely attention-grabbers. I love using beads of all types, but the varieties of stone beads are amazing right now and I’m also discovering the beauty of Czech and German glass beads—both new and vintage. The beads choices available are just phenomenal and its not hard to spend a lot of money on them!
What are your goals?
My goal this year is to continue selling on Etsy in the steady pace that I’ve accomplished in the past few months. I am very comfortable with the level I’m at after two years on Etsy, but I will always want to learn new techniques and incorporate them into my designs. I recently joined the Etsy Austin team and we have some great ideas for working together to promote our businesses, Etsy, and the DIY movement.
Any advice to share?
The two best pieces of advice I have to share would be to (1) take great photos (and this would apply to anything you plan to sell on the Internet) and—(2) if you are trying to sell your goods on Etsy—take the time to promote off-site. You really need to spread the word about what you do and the items you have to offer. Don’t be afraid of shameless self-promotion!
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