MsAnomaly's interview with Pineapple Sugar:
1. When did you open your Etsy store and begin selling?
I opened my store in June 2008. I had been selling randomly to friends and acquaintances for a few years, but decided to take the Etsy (and online selling) plunge last summer.
2. How did you select your shop’s name?
I knew I wanted to convey a tropical, beachy feel with my shop name since my products are largely inspired by the sites and sounds of the beach. One day, Pineapple Sugar just hit me as the perfect name.
It’s also pretty cool because pineapples are traditionally a symbol of hospitality and were used in Colonial times as symbol to let guests know they were welcome. And we all know that sugar just makes everything a little sweeter. So, it just really sums up how I want buyers to feel in my shop and how I want them to view my products- as that little something extra that makes their outfit (and their day) a little brighter.
3. What do you create and sell in your Etsy shop?
Primarily jewelry. I focus on high-quality materials like gemstones, Czech glass, shells, wood, crystals and artisan lampwork. I love lampwork beads. I just can’t get enough of them! There are so many fabulous lampwork artists out there and I love showcasing their work in my designs. Someday, I’d like to learn how to lampwork myself, but for now I happily support these talented artisans.
Lately, I’ve been honing my photography and digital art skills and would really like to add more of those items to my shop. Of course, everything- jewelry, photography and art- must have some kind of beachy and/or tropical inspiration.
4. How did you become involved in your craft?
It seems like I always have been. As a kid, I was always doing something creative or artistic. I don’t even remember how old I was when I started peddling seed-beaded flower necklaces and bracelets, then I moved on to polymer clay jewelry. I sold that as well. I couldn’t have been older than 12, but my mom took a big display board that I had designed into her office and my jewelry sold like hotcakes to her co-workers. I was an entrepreneurial junior higher. I got out of the jewelry making habit for a while and found it again right after college. I stumbled across some beads and voila! I was hooked again.
I’ve always been into drawing and painting as well. Even as a child, I enjoyed fashion sketching and illustration, so it’s no surprise that I’m working toward a creative career in the fashion industry as well as designing jewelry.
5. Explain your favorite part of the creative process.
The concepting phase. I’m inspired by so many different things and I really enjoy concepting storyboards and sketching out my newest design ideas. I get struck by ideas constantly so I keep a notebook or sketchbook with me all the time so I can write down or sketch out an idea.
Right now, I’m in grad school for fashion merchandising and I’m really fine-tuning my collection creation and concepting skills. I’m having a blast creating my summer/resort ’09 jewelry collection.
6. Do you sell in another Etsy store or anywhere outside of Etsy? If so, where?
Yes, I do. I have an ArtFire shop for Pineapple Sugar and I also recently launched a second jewelry line called Jocelyn Grace. I sell that line on 1000 Markets. I am working on building websites for both of these lines so I can set up my own e-commerce.
7. So far, what project are you most proud of?
My Tropical Garden necklace- it combines gorgeous artisan lampwork beads with shells, Czech glass and Swarovski crystals with sterling silver chain and findings. It’s very big and bold, and perfect for spring. It was hard not to keep it for myself!
8. What advice can you give to someone who would like to learn your craft?
Never stop learning – both about business and marketing as well as new techniques for your craft. Keep up with current trends but stay true to your own style and interpret the trends for your unique line. You want people to be able to recognize your style immediately when they see a piece.
9. What motivated you to join the Etsy Beagle Street Team?
I have an adorable beagle named Lucy and a lab-mix named Stella. They are my furry children and definitely make my day brighter. Both of them were rescues- Stella from the humane league and Lucy from a family who could no longer care for her.
I am a big fan of Castaway Critters no-kill animal rescue in central PA. I recently launched my Puppy Love collection and twenty percent of the proceeds from each item that sells in that collection goes to Castaway Critters.
10. Any other places we might find you (Flickr, blog, MySpace, etc.)?
I am all over the web. Here are a few places you can find me:
Pineapple Sugar on MySpace
Pineapple Sugar on Facebook
Blooming Wildflowers Blog