Exceptional Entrepreneur Series: Young Artist Molds Clay into a Successful Business

Exceptional Entreprenur Series Graphic 08-26-2013

It’s been WAY too long since we’ve had a new installment of the Exceptional Entrepreneur Series– since last September, in fact!

But the wait’s been worth it.  I’m super excited about the entrepreneur featured in today’s post: Kristin Torres Gurule. I found out about her work when I was browsing one of my favorite local stores. She’s a great artist and excellent person. She’s here to share how she got started, what’s worked for her, and her advice to fellow artistic entrepreneurs.  Feel free to leave comments below to welcome her and ask her questions you may have about her business.

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The Boutique Bizarre Logo

I started working with polymer clay about 7 years ago. I saw a girl with [ear] gauges, and she told me she had made them herself. Anyone who has bought gauges knows they are extremely expensive, and most of the time you change sizes often. I bought some polymer clay to make gauges with and totally fell in love and have been pretty much addicted to it since I was 18 (I’m now 25).

I started selling my jewelry to local stores inThe Boutique Bizarre Product Collage Albuquerque, New Mexico, including Charlies 33′s and CD’s and  Free Radicals. As of this year, I am selling to Charlies 33s and CDs, Free Radicals, 66 Pin-Ups, Masks y Mas, Santisima, Liliana Boutique, and The Octopus and the Fox. I also sold to Stllo, but they have since closed.

I always do my own inventory, which I would suggest to any other artist who sells on consignment, no matter if the store wants to do their own. I have found the stores are actually very relieved and pleased to have me do my own inventory, and I get to keep a record of what sells for future use. I also participate in many arts and crafts shows, which has really helped me make a little more.

The Boutique Bizarre Support Local Art CollageThe thing that I feel changed this from a hobby to a business was establishing my Etsy account. I only did it about a year ago, but since then my sales have increased immensely. As a result, I have learned more about the business aspect of my shop. I had to create a business name and logo, which took me tons of thought.

I chose The Boutique Bizarre as a play on words from a boutique bazaar, as well as to show the unique and different things my store has to offer. I made sure to mark every single image on the Internet with my logo, so no one can steal it, and believe me, they will try.

Starting the Etsy inventory was very time consuming-The Boutique Bizarre Gift Box each item must have a description and 12 tags so your product can be found. I would suggest doing research, because these will make or break your store. I also had to buy jewelry boxes to ship the jewelry in so that my work looked professional and complete.

It has taken some time for my Etsy to gain momentum, but it will happen if you work on your pages and have lots for customers to see. I have about 220 listings. Go above and beyond, offer something that no one else has thought to provide, and make the packages special. Presentation is everything online.

The Boutique Bizarre Business CardThe advice I would have for people trying to start their own business is to first research online. If you plan to use Etsy, there are tons of articles on how to create your listings, creating good pictures, and other things customers want. You will also have to put in a lot of time. When I am not at school or having some “me” time, I am pretty much working on some aspect of the business. I would say I am working on it 50-60 hours a week. I love this so much that I do it all day everyday, and it never feels like work.

The Bizarre Boutique Horizontal Product Collage

I hope someday this will be a successful business that I can manage while teaching art at a school.

The Boutique Bizarre Collage

Find out more about my business, The Boutique Bizarre, when you visit me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Etsy, Pinterest, or contact me via email.

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Thanks to Kristin Torres Gurule for sharing her entrepreneurial journey with us. It sounds like she has a bright future ahead of her. Her jewelry speaks to people and is a great outlet for creative expression, both for the maker and wearer. Make sure to check out her various handmade wares for sale. You can purchase online, and she ships all over!

Thanks to you for reading our Exceptional Entrepreneur Series. Look for more featured business owners soon!

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Having a Pet Can Be Expensive– Here Are Some Cheats!

Brando Astoria Dogs Roxana Oliver #2

Guest blogger Roxana Oliver’s 2 dogs Brando and Astoria running on the beach

Hello, all! I’m very excited to announce that we have a guest blog post today from Roxana Oliver, pet-loving traveler, environmentalist, and occasional blogger from Sydney, Australia. She’s talking about one of my favorite topics– pets! Make sure to welcome her and thank her for this useful blog post by leaving comments below and sharing this post with others.
 

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You can always make the choice to not have a pet or to have one that is low maintenance. That is surely the cheapest way to deal with the whole pet situation.

However, I guess I’m just too weak when it comes to those puppy eyes and those kitty whiskers, so I’m a proud human and there is shared custody over me by Brando, Astoria (puppies), and Archibald the cat.

Having three pets means I really have to make sure I spend all my money carefully and that I make the most of my pet budget if I want to give them a nice home. This is how I get by, so perhaps it encourages somebody else to do the same and get more pets!

Vet Costs

First of all, if you are eager to adopt a pet, try your local shelter. Chances are they are already neutered and have received all the necessary vaccines. This is big load off your budget and something to take into consideration. However, if you are one of the sweet souls that adopts a stray animal, like I did with Archibald, make sure you do some thorough research with the local animal shelters, PETA, and comparable organizations, because they will give you helpful tips about cheap vaccines and similar services. I had some luck because I have three pets, so my vet always agrees to check up on my third pet for free.

Food

One of the best ways for me to get enough food for my pets is to buy it in bulk. I try to make a good mixture of high quality food and the one that is not so amazing and get discounts based on the quantity. After that, I mix the food and it lasts much longer than it does when I buy one and then another sort. With Astoria and Brando, I also save some bigger bones so that they clean up their teeth and bite and that they have balanced meals. Not to mention, Archibald just loves hunting, so at times he feeds himself. However, don’t count on that if you have a kitty. This is just Archie’s way of showing who the boss is.

Brando Astoria Dogs Roxana Oliver

Guest blogger Roxana Oliver’s 2 dogs Brando and Astoria sitting obediently

Grooming

Grooming is ridiculously expensive, so I simply do it myself. I should mention that I consider removing ticks and fleas as part of grooming. You can fight off ticks and fleas with DIY products as well. Grooming became quite a burden on my budget, so I invested in the irreplaceable FURminator which I bought at Stefmar, and it became an essential tool in my life. From that point on, all the trimming and grooming has become a part of our weekly routine, and I have saved tons. Having three pets means a lot of fur.

Bathing my pets and using a good, nice brush on them after every walk turns out to be a great preventative. Also, training them to use litter properly saves a lot of money on cleaning. The only thing that gets pricey is the food, and that can be planned out. Therefore, if you find it in your heart to adopt a pet, you will find a way to fit it into the budget.

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What is the most expensive part of owning a pet? How do you save money on pet care?  Comment below and share your best tips with us.

Also please share this useful blog post with other pet lovers. :)

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