KDemARTe is an established artisan from Pennsylvania, USA. She makes stunning pewter and copper jewelry, featuring wonderful nature, animal, and ranch-life scenes.
KDemARTe tells us about quitting her day job, living the incredible ranch lifestyle, and the keys to her phenomenal success...
Describe yourself in 5 words.
Animal lover, outdoorsy, homebody, somewhat of a workaholic, a little antisocial
Do you have Alpacas or another kind of ranch/farm?
I do not have alpacas but I do have 2 horses. We live in a old farm house on 20 acres.
Tell us about your jewelry!
I make rustic hand cast pewter jewelry incorporating a lot of hand hammered texture. I wanted to try something new, so I started working with Art Clay Copper. It's similar to PMC. I like having another process of creating that I can do on days when I don't feel like casting. I invested in a small kiln and I enjoy working with the clay & the whole firing process. So now I have added copper jewelry to my shop too.
How did you get started?
I quit my “real” job in January of 2007 without much of a plan. I started my Etsy shop in September of 2007 after a friend showed me an article about the site in one of her knitting magazines (before that I had never heard of Etsy). I wouldn't recommend doing things in that order. But somehow everything worked out for me.
That's wonderful it worked out! How many sales do you have now?
My Etsy shop has 2,640 sales. I also do quite a bit of "off Etsy" whole sale work, with several companies that sell items for "horse people".
Tell us about your first sale!
My first Etsy sale was about 2 weeks after my shop opened. I remember being really excited about it and heading directly to the studio to make some more pieces.
How did you pick your shop name?
My shop name is KDemARTe. I picked it because my name is Karen DeMarte. I taught middle school art for 12 years before running away. My students used to capitalize the ART when they wrote my name on assignments. I always thought that was pretty neat.
What has contributed the most to your success on Etsy?
Making unique items and having great customer service have contributed the most to my success on Etsy.
What is the best advice you can give to new sellers?
Stay true to yourself (make things that you like), offer quality items at fair prices, and stay positive (even though that is hard sometimes).
What do you like the most about selling online?
The thing that I like most about selling online is definitely being able to work from home and having the ability to sell pieces to people all over the world.
What do you like the least?
The thing I like the least about selling online is keeping up with changes. I feel like I just get things figured out and then they change....but change is supposedly good....right?
Tell us about your product photography. What's your process like?
I take all my product photographs myself outdoors on slightly overcast days. I put my pieces on a granite rock right outside my back door and take pictures from various angles with my digital camera on macro setting.
After loading them into the computer I do some photo editing in iPhoto cropping the photos and adjusting the light & color.
Taking photos has been a learning experience for me, they didn't start out so great but have gotten much better and I think they could still use some improving.
Where is your favorite crafting spot?
My favorite crafting spot is my studio which used to be a sun porch. I can look out and see my horses in the pasture and being surrounded on 3 sides by windows makes for great light to work in. It's not a huge space but it's organized (or at least I try to keep it that way) and it's a comfortable place to work. When I'm in there working I'm always joined by my dog Kalli who is the best boss ever.
What do you do to relax?
To relax I enjoy trail riding, hanging out with family and friends, taking walks through the woods with my dog, and gardening.
Where would you like to be in 10 years?
In ten years hopefully I will still be running my business and enjoying what I'm doing.